Rhys Chatham: A Four Year Retrospective

1981, 62:13 min, color, sound

New York-born composer and musician Rhys Chatham was an influential figure in the downtown New York music scene of the late 1970s and early 1980s. A student of La Monte Young and Morton Subotnick and a classically trained musician, Chatham founded the experimental music program at the Kitchen in 1971, while he was still a teenager. Chatham was an art music composer who embraced the vocabulary of rock, merging punk and avant-garde sensibilities and moving between art music and rock contexts. The driving minimalism and sonic wash of his multiple electric guitar ensembles and extended-time, overtone-based compositions were highly influential. Chatham's ensembles during this period often included figures such as Glenn Branca and Thurston Moore.

Rhys Chatham: A Four Year Retrospective documents a series of performances by Chatham and his ensemble at The Kitchen in 1981. Performing with musicians that include Jules Baptiste and Ned Sublette, Chatham presents a series of compositions for guitars, electric bass and drums. This hour-long video document captures the propulsive energy and conceptual sophistication of Chatham's pioneering compositions.

Electric Guitar: Jules Baptiste, Craig Bromberg, Nina Canal, Rhys Chatham, Joe Dizney, Scott Johnson, Ned Sublette, Electric Bass: Michael Boone Brown. Drums: David Linton.

Courtesy of The Kitchen Archives.

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