Rhys Chatham & Martin Wheeler

Rhys Chatham and Martin Wheeler have been collaborating since 1993 on a series of collective musical compositions with Rhys on electric and distorted trumpet and Martin responsible of all the midi-programming. The first result of this joint effort was the NEON CD release on the London based NTone records, which came out in the spring of 1996. Their collaboration finished in 1997 with the release of "Altese" on the Virgin compilatrion "Macro Dub Infection".

NEON appears in The Wire`s (Jan. 97 issue) "Records of the Year" list of must-listen records made during 1996!

You can order NEON from Rough Trade Mail Order
e-mail: shop@roughtrade.com
website: www.roughtrade.com

This page is still under construction. It will eventually have a joint statement on our music as well as information on our future projects. In the meantime, here is a statement from Martin and Rhys that came out in the January 1997 issue of the Wire Magazine:

Rhys Chatham & Martin Wheeler-

Musical Highlights of '96: Release of Rhys and Martin Wheeler's NTone CD; Rhys' 100 guitar performance in Glasgow for Mayfest; release of RC / MW Altesse (dub mix) of Macro Dub Infection 2 on Virgin; RC 100 guitar performance in Lisbon; Rhys' mastery of programming in Max and completion of his first interactive piece; looking forward to releasing a new Rhys and Martin CD and touring in the UK in the spring of 1997.

- after much consideration, if asked what really happened in 1996 of (musical) interest, we would say the following:

The splintering of popular electronic music into a multitude of cross-pollinating genres and sub-genres seems to be opening up a space with much less rigid rules in which there is perhaps more possibility for non-formulaic experimentation (within and around "popular music") than at any time since the 60's.


The continued acceleration of the new technologies impacting the production and distribution of sound recordings: Stuff like cheap CD burners, realtime audio on the Internet, digital radio, etc... are starting to fundamentally modify how music is going to be conceived, produced and distributed, e.g. where does broadcasting end and distribution begin when we get digital radio and digital recorders ? Who gets paid and how ?

More radically - when we have CD quality realtime audio Net servers and we can surf/zap thru 1000s of online recordings , do we have a super radio or a super record shop ? What place does (any) physical object (CD, tape, or even file on a hard drive) have any more? .....

It is becoming simple to produce a limited edition CD in which each individual CD is unique - different mix, different track selection or, more elaborately, different realization of a piece ... hence one way to the revalorisation of the (sellable) 'object' (the CD as unique Art object)

Rhys' terse pronouncement on the mutability of life (not included in the Wire Magazine statement and available eclusively on this webpage site): We've been rereading Jean-François Lyotard's IN THE POSTMODERN CONDITION, which has had quite an effect on the music we've been doing.

Lyotard says that there is not one form of discourse that stands above all others; there is not one form of knowledge that is privileged and serves as the ground for all others. To invoke absolute conditions of discourse, to institutionalize one specific way of thinking and talking is fascist, according to Lyotard, and creates the basis for a violent expulsion and destruction of the Other.

We have taken this to heart as it relates to music. While we have nothing against music that falls neatly into a specific category, we do not think that one category of music is privileged over another and we certainly don't start out our composing with the intention of our music falling into one style or another, but rather follow our noses and interests in such a way that the rules and conditions of the musical discourse between ourselves and our listeners are not established in advance, but rather emerge in the unfolding of the music itself, which is our explanation for why no two pieces that we make sound alike!

Contact us at: Rhys.Chatham@wanadoo.fr

If you are entering through an external hyperlink, click on Rhys Chatham Homepage for more info on Rhys.