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    Rhys Chatham

    September 23rd, 2021

    Rhys Chatham - Die Donnergotter.

    Rhys Chatham is best-known as a composer of electric guitar symphonies. He started out in the early 1970s under the tutelage of minimal music founder La Monte Young, with whom he studied the radically altered tunings of just intonation. After woodshedding with Young-inspired pieces like the metallic wash of “Two Gongs” (1971), Chatham had an epiphany during a Ramones show in 1976: mix minimalism with punk rock! An idea of pure genius that was just waiting to happen resulted in Chatham’s first major work, “Guitar Trio” (1977). With the axes all tuned to E, the piece builds from a quiet single string strum and gradually coalesces into a shimmering bliss field of drone rock perfection completely unlike anything that existed before. This sperm-filled work inspired ensemble member Glenn Branca to sire a similar guitar orchestra of his very own, and Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth to alter their tunings. Indeed, Branca and Sonic Youth practically owe their entire careers to Rhys Chatham.

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