Charlemagne Palestine & Rhys Chatham’s “First” sounds like the aural personification of a hummingbird’s heartbeat. It just sounds like your high blood pressure ramping up at the worst of times, such as the minutes before an interview for a promotion, the moment you start a race or when the river is about to be unleashed on to the table when you just shipped in all your chips on a terrible hand. You want the timbre of the piano’s notes to be soothing, but the way they’re played and arranged it just cannot be; it’s frankly kind of nerve wracking. Chatham’s trumpet lightly lends even more uncertainty to the affair, along with Palestine’s faint voice which could be considered a reduction of the shrillest of shrieks. As the title says, this is the first in a trilogy of Palestine & Chatham’s 166 minute sonic journey.  We’re bound to see the others released on wax in the future. Check out a preview of “First” by clicking through the Buy Now link below to see what you think of it. Cheers!

The Details

From their 3CD set, "First" released as limited vinyl LP.

This is the first recorded collaboration between Charlemagne Palestine and Rhys Chatham. And it's precious. After the musical meeting with Tony Conrad (SR204), and with Z'ev (SR340), this new Sub Rosa sessions creates a form of trilogy. 166 minutes with Charlemagne Palestine (piano Bösendorfer, orgue Yamaha and voice) and Rhys Chatham (trumpet, loop pedal, electric guitar)

Rhys Chatham began his musical career as a piano tuner for avant-garde pioneer La Monte Young as well as harpsichord tuner for Gustav Leonhardt, Rosalyn Tureck and Glenn Gould. He soon studied under electronic music pioneer Morton Subotnick and minimalist icon La Monte Young and was a member of Young's group, The Theater of Eternal Music, during the early seventies; Chatham also played with Tony Conrad in an early version of Conrad's group, The Dream Syndicate. In 1971, while still in his teens, Chatham became the first music director at the experimental art space The Kitchen in lower Manhattan. His early works, such as Two Gongs (1971) owed a significant debt to Young and other minimalists.

His concert productions included experimenters Maryanne Amacher, Robert Ashley, Philip Glass, Meredith Monk, Pauline Oliveros, Steve Reich, and early alternative rockers such as Fred Frith, Robert Fripp, Arto Lindsay, and John Lurie. He has worked closely with visual artist/musician Robert Longo, particularly in the 1980s, and on an experimental opera called XS: The Opera Opus (1984-6) with the visual artist Joseph Nechvatal.

By 1977, Chatham's music was heavily influenced by punk rock, having seen an early Ramones concert. He was particularly intrigued by and influential upon the group of artists music critics would label No Wave in 1978. Members of the New York City noise rock band Band of Susans began their careers in Chatham's ensembles; they later performed a cover of Chatham's "Guitar Trio" on their 1991 album, The Word And The Flesh. (This parallels the way that members of fellow NYC noise rockers Sonic Youth began their careers in Branca's ensembles; Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth did play with Chatham as well.) Chatham began playing trumpet in 1983, and his more recent works explore improvisatory trumpet solos; these are performed by Chatham himself, employing much of the same amplification and effects that he acquired with the guitar, over synthesized dance rhythms by the composer Martin Wheeler.

Price $16.19

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