Rhys Chatham

Biography

A key figure in the New York avant-garde scene of the 1970s and '80s, Rhys Chatham is best known for incorporating popular musical styles into his compositions. He began his association with the new music scene as a student of LaMonte Young and a singer in Young's Theatre of Eternal Music. Chatham began exploring alternate tuning schemes, a strategy plays a large role in his later compositions. Intrigued by the burgeoning rock scene, Chatham also explored the sonic potential of the electric guitar, an affair that would last into the late '80s. Guitar Trio (1977) is a classic of electric guitar experimentalism, and would forever inspire comparisons to Glenn Branca. Combining the driving rhythms and sonic bombast of rock 'n' roll with a post-minimalist fixation on overtones and generative development, the piece earned Chatham admiration from both the rock and avant-garde worlds. The 1990s found Chatham (now living in France) shifting his musical attention towards Europe's hot Techstep and Drum 'n' Bass scenes. As he did with rock ten years earlier, he dove head into the new genre, forging new musical relationships that would last through the decade.
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