PRICE: $23.50
Pythagorean Dream


LP version. Includes printed inner sleeves and download code. Rhys Chatham returns with his first solo album since 2013, the enchanting Pythagorean Dream. Having studied under Terry Riley and La Monte Young (with whom he later went on to work), Chatham fused the overtone-drenched minimalism of John Cale and Tony Conrad with the relentless, elemental fury of the Ramones. It was an inspired amalgamation -- the textural intricacies of the avant-garde colliding with the visceral punch of electric guitar-slinging punk rock -- and with it Chatham created a new type of urban music. Raucous and ecstatic, this sound energized the New York Downtown scene throughout the late 1970s and early 1980s, prefigured the no wave movement, and cast a huge influence over the subsequent work of Chatham's many protégés, including Glenn Branca and future members of Sonic Youth. Primarily focused on the electric guitar (but also featuring flute and a bit of trumpet) this recording is named after the Pythagorean guitar tuning it employs. The recording is a truly solo endeavor, composed, performed, produced, engineered, and mastered solely by Chatham. Chatham began to develop solos that he would play himself, choosing to incorporate the multi-second delay effect pioneered by Terry Riley with two Revox tape machines. Feeling that it tied in with his overall minimalist aesthetic and that the effect (which gives the impression that choirs and choirs of instruments are playing) was fitting as a succession to his 100-guitar idea, Chatham created and layered feedback loops of varying durations using Riley's method in order to create rich, overlapping layers that in practice transcend the limitations of their start and end points, blooming into free-flowing melodies in their own right. "Part One" of Pythagorean Dream opens with a brief trumpet intro, followed by a guitar piece that implements a finger-picking technique (Chatham has long been a fan of this style; John Fahey was one of his teenage musical heroes), before moving to an EBow section and concluding with the fast tremolo flat-picking technique used in the context of his 100-guitar pieces. "Part Two" is principally about Chatham's return to the flute, the instrument that sparked his love of contemporary music before he experienced an early Ramones show at CBGB and began focusing on the electric guitar. Pythagorean Dream features Chatham on C, alto, and bass flutes. The recording is brought to a close with a final guitar piece.