Rhys Chatham is a composer, guitarist, trumpet player and flutist from Manhattan, currently living in Paris, who altered the DNA of rock and created a new type of urban music by fusing the overtone-drenched minimalism of the early 60s with the relentless, elemental fury of the Ramones — the textural intricacies of the avant-garde colliding with the visceral punch of electric guitar-slinging punk rock.
Tonights event will be a seated show, with some room reserved for standing at the back.
Starting with Guitar Trio in the 1970s and culminating with A Crimson Grail for 200 electric guitars in 2009, Chatham has been working for over 30 years to make use of armies of electric guitars in special tunings to merge the extended-time music of the sixties and seventies with serious hard rock.
Parallel with his rock-influenced pieces, Chatham has been working with various brass configurations since 1982, and recently has developed a completely new approach to collaborations, improvised and compositional pieces involving trumpet through performances and recordings that started in 2009. Chatham’s trumpet work deploys extended playing techniques inherited from the glory days the early New York minimalist and 70s loft jazz period. Starting in 2014, Rhys has been touring a solo program featuring an electric guitar in a Pythagorean tuning, Bb trumpet, and bass, alto and C flutes.
Rhys was introduced to electronic music and composition by Morton Subotnick in the late 60s, and in the early seventies he studied composition with La Monte Young and played in Tony Conrad’s early group. These composers are, along with Terry Riley, the founders of American minimalism and were a profound influence on Chatham’s work.
Chatham’s instrumentation ranges from the seminal composition composed in 1977 entitled Guitar Trio for 3 electric guitars, electric bass and drums, to the epoch evening-length work for 100 electric guitars, An Angel Moves Too Fast to See, composed in 1989… all the way to Chatham’s recent composition for 200 electric guitars, Crimson Grail, which was commissioned by the City of Paris for La Nuit Blanche Festival in 2005. A completely new version of the piece was commissioned by the Lincoln Center Outdoor Summer Festival in 2009. Watch a recent video of a 100-Guitar orchestra here
What does a composer do after mounting many performances with forces of 100-200 electric guitars? The composer gets back to basics, at least that’s what Rhys does! Chatham will be performing a solo program, an evening length work with the composer performing himself on electric guitar, trumpets and bass alto and C flutes.
We are excited that Cucina Povera will be performing this evening as well.
Listen to the new release HERE.
Zoom is a verité collection of situational recordings made by Cucina Povera - aka Finnish-born, Glasgow-based sound artist Maria Rossi - in intimate spaces full of acoustic or ideological intrigue, primarily using a capella voice. It is a document of different locations and moods that interested the recorder, a postcard look into the stream-of-consciousness processes of an artist developing her own language. Using little else other than a Tascam Zoom recorder and loop pedal these are highly personal recordings originally intended as notes for future compositions that ended up becoming the purest rendition of this first phase of Cucina Povera's music to date. Originally presented as WAV files named simply ZOOM---, these on-the-fly compositions are a perfect distillation of Rossi's practice. With no augmentation, not even a song-title, these bare, beautiful tracks become a materialist document of the wonder of the every-day. While Rossi's previous album, Hilja, was a sculpted whole that at times used post-production techniques and electronic instruments, Zoom presents acoustic sound as a source of joy and discovery largely without artifice. Rossi's voice is used a searchlight, shining into the crevices of a room's dark corners, or as on ZOOM0005, projected into a Coke bottle aperature, for an almost Shakuhachi texture. Voice dissapates into texture, with rhythms created by simple hissing sounds and the interweaving of loops. ZOOM0001 interlocks 4 different a capella melodies to create a chorus, an improvised solo hymn that seems to rise and rise. ZOOM0010 uses staccato vocal bursts, like Meridith Monk huffing out Steve Reich rhythms, while the soloing Rossi expertly ducks in and out of the frame. Like the most celestial moments of her debut Hilja it is a religious experience but rendered more powerful in its naked, secular form. Indeed, there are shades of Hilja in the sounds, with some strains resurfacing from that album, insinuating that Rossi's practise is a continuing form, a series of sentences in the artists' personal language that mutate over time, bending into new shapes. On Zoom, Rossi’s minimalism is fully stark, a process fully transparent and all the more celestially powerful because of it.