Performance: Guitar Trio with Rhys Chatham, Robert Longo, Ernie Brooks, Karen Haglof, Jason Bartell, Jonathan Kane, Jon Kessler, and Lee Ranaldo.
Thursday, December 7, 2017
Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Gallery, 5th Floor
Experience the works on view in Proof: Francisco Goya, Sergei Eisenstein, Robert Longo in a new way with this one-of-a-kind concert. Rhys Chatham, a composer and instrumentalist who “pioneered the fusion of avant-garde minimalism with the electric crunch of punk rock,” performs his influential 1977 composition Guitar Trio in the gallery as an intense and ephemeral soundtrack to Sergei Eisenstein’s silent films. Chatham is joined in the ensemble by Robert Longo and a group of local musicians including Ernie Brooks, Karen Haglof, Jason Bartell, Jonathan Kane, Jon Kessler, and Lee Ranaldo.
The MADEIRADIG Festival is a unique adventure in extraordinary music. Each December the Portuguese island – celebrated as a ‘paradise island’ and ‘floating garden’ – is transformed into a hotbed of digital art and culture.
This is an avant garde journey through the world of serious music. Program/Line-Up 2017:
Friday, 01.12.2017 | 21:30
• Carl Stone (US)
• The Necks (AU)
+ Aftershow with Frank D’Arpino (DE) | 00:00
Saturday, 02.12.2017 | 21:30
• Ectoplasm Girls (Sweden)
• NaN Collider + Miguel Pedro (Portugal)
+ Aftershow with Shins-K (JP) | 00:00
Sunday, 03.12.2017 | 21:30
• Greg Fox (US)
• Rhys Chatham (France/US)
+ Friends & Family Night | 00:00
Monday, 04.12.2017 | 21:30
• Maja S. K. Ratkje (Norway)
• Laraaji (US)
+ Aftershow with Daniel Meteo & Michael Rosen (DE) | 00:00
Rhys will be conducting a workshop explaining the special techniques and theory of his work, as well as instruction on how to play this seminal piece, Guitar Trio. The workshop will take place at Matdero Madrid, Centro de Creacion Contemporanea in Madrid, Spain on 25, 26 November 2017 and will culminate with a performance the day after the workshop.
Guitarists who play on a serious amateur level are welcome. The workshop is for amateurs who already know how to play guitar, and would like to learn the techniques used by Rhys Chatham.
Participants would need to attend the entire workshop on Day 1 in order to play in the performance on Day 2. Here is the content of the workshop:
60 min – Introduction
Composer will introduce himself and talk about his history, working tactics, compositions, collaborations etc. leading into the composition of Guitar Trio, how it was composed, the history of the piece, how it works
30 min – Gear
Composer will discuss with the participants what guitars work for G3 and why acoustics, hollow body guitars etc. do not work. Talk about pics and sizes/weight, talk about choosing an amp for this, etc.
30-60 min – Tuning
Composer will talk about how to tune, how to work with a tuner, etc. Talk about special tunings in general and the different styles you work with for different pieces and specifically the G3 tuning. Will talk about overtones, how this relates to this piece etc. etc.
– Break –
1.5-2 hours – Playing Guitar Trio
Composers will work with the guitarist on how to play Guitar Trio
30 min arrival / set up
2 hours – Playing / rehearsing G3 with live drummer and bassist
30 min – soundcheck
(Posted after the workshop, on 30 Nomber 2017)
Here is a nice video of the performances surrounding the workshop, including shots of the performance of guitar Trio at Matadero Madrid:
Here is a link to a fabulous review of the Pythagorean Dream concert at the Freakout Club in Bologna from last week. It was written by Massimiliano Speri and it’s quite amusing, in addition to accurately describing the ambience of the concert (in my view).
Ondarock / live report / Rhys Chatham
by Massimiliano Speri
How to categorize a historically liminal and artistically hybrid figure like Rhys Chatham? The last of the New York minimalists or the first of Noisers no wave? Perhaps, along with his friend and accomplice Glenn Branca, it is the conjunction ring between the two universes. But there is another thing: in his almost priestly vocation for deafening avant-garde sonic performances (his drone sonata for hundreds of guitar ensembles, immortalized in the monumental “A Crimson Grail”), the now-nationalized Parisian composer is in the end, yet another happy product of that all-American tendency for the conceptual-performative gesamtkunstwerk, a contemporary abstractism without frame or caption boundaries, although more suitable to favor mystical ascent than to sound art galleries.
After the pleasing opening for the solo guitar of Bolognese JH Guraj (delightful american primitivism lying and pastoral, perhaps closer to the disciple Jim O’Rourke than to the master John Fahey), Professor Chatham comes on stage in a Mass at Burroughs / Tom Waits, makes a quick set-up of the complex equipment on the table in front of him and, with scientific discovery, presents himself, his high credentials (throwing here and there the names of Charlemagne Palestine, Steve Reich and Tony Conrad as if they had collaborated it was the world’s most deserved thing) and the recipe that’s about to propose to us: it explains that his usual orchestral armies would be too complicated to take on tour, so he decided to submit himself by presenting himself with loops with a clever game of delays to replicate the stratified rationale of his most extreme experiments; it will be a single, long suite in several parts, and the raw material of each act will be provided by a trumpet, a flute and, of course, an electric guitar; It even tells us the duration of the performance: about 55 minutes. He speaks in a quiet voice and is marked by an adorable yankee partially frantic accent, is relaxed and playful with the public, resembles more a grandfather who wants to entertain his grandchildren than an intellectual intent on épater le bourgeois. After all, we are not talking about a nihilistic rocker but a serious composer, formed in a classical setting as a harpsichord accordion, and then converted to the trial at LaMonte Young, who in the avant-punk arena moved from free beater.
It begins with an overlapping overhang of loud trumpet notes, which seem to flutter in the venue like stunned mosquitos, bouncing between the heads of the already hypnotized spectators. The sound is deliberately dirty and creates a frothy amalgam, which could recall the metaphysical layers of Jon Hassell if he did not evoke a whole urban neurosis in the lines. The second layer provides the Telecaster which, thanks to the open arrangement (“in D minor 7”, the Maestro specifies for us), creates that typical resonance, slightly dissonant, so dear to a lot of psychedelia as well as some work by colleague Terry Riley. After spreading the base of the cake with a velvety bunion garnished with scavenging arpeggios, gives the second pass with a sprinkling of more acute notes, a cobweb of small trills, and stretches the broth with liquid E-bow streaks. The resultant wall of sound is such an icastic and magmatic immobility to sink into trance, a hallucination to be taken religiously seriously. Then touches on the flute, the first instrument approached by young Rhys, here to create long, deep, pasty notes, as if a church organ was played in a rainforest. Depending on moods, this atmospheric ocean can communicate extreme relaxation or extreme tension, if not even the two things simultaneously. Finally, you return to a monotone lament in unison for guitar and voice, the ritual song with which a monk wakes up at dawn the rest of the monastery. The audience is enchanted, now completely taken by both the skill of the magician and the evocative power of the operator.
While the last notes suspended begin to blend with the intrusive delicacy with which they have taken hold of our heads and bodies, Rhys stands up and bows, jokingly excitedly for managing to play the piece within the predicted time duration (54 minutes and 33 seconds) which only went overtime by a few minutes. Then, like a pastor of the past, he sits on stage and invites those interested to reach him for a chat or an autograph: definitely not the typical serious image that tends to associate with an experimental composer …
Chatham’s avant-garde is icy and mystical, algebraic and elusive, rigorous and occult. And the key to decrypt it is perhaps in the title of his last work, “Pythagorean Dream,” from which the performance of the evening takes abundantly the moves: what expression can be more effective than that “pythagorean dream”, to describe this esoteric alchemy of technique and suggestion?
Leaving the Freakout, I start home through the steel and concrete roads of San Donato, Bologna’s most “industrial” neighborhood: perhaps, a scenario not so different from the New York lowlands where this metropolitan shaman began to theorize its fascinating pan-ethnic assault to contemporary music …
I will be playing with drummer Will Guthrie at the Soy Festival in Nantes on Saturday, 28 October 2017. Will has just acquired some very large gongs, so we hope to be trying those out along with my usual looping set up, with me on alto and C flutes, trumpet and electric guitar. And of course, Will is going to bring along his drum kit, so those will be in the mix as well.
This performance will be in the context of a five day festival the Soy Association is producing, and it looks like a good one! Will and I will hit on the Saturday at 3 pm.
SAMEDI 28 OCTOBRE
8€ / 11€
Centre Chorégraphique National de Nantes (CCNN)
23 rue noire, Nantes
A legend of the New York avant garde scene, Rhys Chatham’s influence cannot be understated.
With an extended body of work that touches on everything from minimalism and no wave to experimental and punk rock, he stands tall alongside his contemporaries Philip Glass and Steve Reich.
For this special one off show, Chatham will be celebrating the 40th anniversary of his timeless Guitar Trio composition. With a single, repeated chord, Chatham permanently altered the DNA of rock by splicing the gritty, overtone-drenched minimalism of John Cale and Tony Conrad with the elemental fury of the Ramones.
While Guitar Trio in the 70s was performed with 3 electric guitarists, one electric bass and drummer, today’s version uses six electric guitars (including Chatham), plus a drummer and bass player.
For this special occasion, Rhys has personally chosen a lineup of London-based friends and collaborators, some of whom he has been friends with since the inception of G3.
Rhys Chatham – guitar
Nik Colk Void – guitar
Thurston Moore – guitar
Ashley Paul – guitar
James Sedwards – guitar
David Toop – guitar
Charles Hayward – drums
Susan Stenger – bass
After the jazz Café engagement, Rhys Chatham will be playing an the following locations in September and October 2017:
Saturday – 30 September 2017 9:30 pm
Rhys Chatham Pythagorean Dream at Freakout Club
Via emilio zago 7/c, Bologna 40128 Italy
Rhys Chatham plays Pythagorean Dream at the Freakout Club.
Sunday – October 1st, 2017 – 8:30 pm
Rhys Chatham Pythagorean Dream at Santeria Social Club
via paladini 8, Milano, Italy
Rhys Chatham plays Pythagorean Dream at the Santeria Social Club.