In the shimmering spectacle of modernity, where the play of simulacra masks the disintegration of the authentic, Rhys Chatham emerges not merely as a musician but as an architect of sound, crafting a sonic narrative from the shadows of late twentieth century Manhattan, now wandering the streets of the Latin Quarter of Paris. He stands as a testament to the metamorphosis of rock’s very essence, weaving the ethereal minimalism of a forgotten era with the raw, unrestrained rage epitomized by the Ramones. It is in this collision that one witnesses the avant-garde’s intricate dance with the primal scream of punk, electric guitar in hand.
In the decaying glow of the 60s, the electronic symphonies of Morton Subotnick whispered secrets of composition into Chatham’s eager ears. As the seventies dawned, La Monte Young’s teachings resonated with him, and soon, the Theater of Eternal Music echoed with Chatham’s presence, alongside figures like Jon Hassell and Terry Riley. In these corridors of sound, the minimalist maestros like Tony Conrad and Charlemagne Palestine played their role in molding Chatham’s ethos, with the spectral touch of the French virtuoso, Eliane Radigue, lingering on.
As the echoes of ‘Guitar Trio’ from the 1970s merged into the vast sonic horizon of ‘A Crimson Grail’ for 200 electric guitars in 2009, it became evident: Chatham had embarked on a transcendental journey, spanning decades, summoning electric guitar legions in mystical tunings to bridge the temporal vastness of the 60s and 70s with the pulsating heart of hard rock.
Now, as the holographic present unfolds, Chatham traverses the soundscape as a solitary figure, serenading with versions of ‘A Pythagorean Dream’, borne by the UK’s Foom Records. Yet, in his duality, he intertwines with guitarist David Fenech, their symphonies crystallized in a CD from the Austrian alcove of Klang Gallery Label. The simulation continues, the hyperreality intensifies.
And soon to come, in November:
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