“Rhys Chatham is a guitarist-composer with an impeccable pedigree: He studied with electronic music pioneer Morton Subotnick and hipster minimalist La Monte Young, played in Tony Conrad’s Dream Syndicate (other notable alumnus: John Cale), founded the music program at the Kitchen, underwent a stylistic Damascus at an early Ramones show, and influenced Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine, and hordes of younger experimental rockers. His 1977 composition Guitar Trio remains a landmark for minimalism, guitar music, and genre-bending alike.
“A 1989 work for one hundred guitars, An Angel Moves Too Fast to See, eventually led to 2005’s four-hundred-guitar epic, A Crimson Grail, which premiered at the Basilique du Sacré Coeur in Paris. The latter was the work, revised and trimmed to a sensible two hundred guitars, that was to make its New York debut in August 2008 until a heavy rainstorm forced its last-minute cancellation. With long, shallow tents protecting the guitarists and their amps, Saturday’s performance was the rain check, so to speak, though the weather was remarkably beautiful…”
Rhys’s Pieces, Art Forum Diary