Rhys Chatham—Pythagorean Dream

by Foom

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  • Record/Vinyl

    "Both pieces tremble with giddy energy, but also exude a calm atmosphere in their chiming overtones. In the end, flute and guitar fully unite: The former folds into the latter in a triumphant refrain that soars so high it sounds light-headed, as if Chatham is dizzied by his own playing" - Pitchfork (7.6/10)

    New Rhys Chatham LP, printed on matt paper with printed card innersleeve featuring extended composer's notes and download code. Cover Photo by Sander Meisner.

    Includes unlimited streaming of Rhys Chatham—Pythagorean Dream via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ships out within 1 day

     £12.99 GBP or more

     

  • Compact Disc (CD)

    "By layering loops of his own playing – on trumpet, guitar and flute – Chatham’s Pythagorean Dream delivers a pair of captivating, hypnotic performances"
    -The Guardian

    Comes in a digipak sleeve, with notes by Rhys Chatham, and artwork by Sander Meisner.

    Includes unlimited streaming of Rhys Chatham—Pythagorean Dream via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ships out within 1 day

     £8.99 GBP or more

     

  • Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

     £5 GBP  or more

     

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about

"Both pieces tremble with giddy energy, but also exude a calm atmosphere in their chiming overtones. In the end, flute and guitar fully unite: The former folds into the latter in a triumphant refrain that soars so high it sounds light-headed, as if Chatham is dizzied by his own playing"
- Pitchfork

"By layering loops of his own playing – on trumpet, guitar and flute – Chatham’s Pythagorean Dream delivers a pair of captivating, hypnotic performances"
-The Guardian

"By contrast (to his previous work with 100 guitars), “Pythogorean Dream” is almost shocking in its subtlety. The music has a distinctly New York feel to it. The dark, guitar-based resonance from the first part feels like the alleyways of downtown in the more foreboding ’70s and ’80s, while the serene second part evokes images of the well-groomed riverfront areas of lower Manhattan today. Chatham (although) deep into his career, has found interesting new ground in genres of instrumental music that deserve more attention."
-Wall Street Journal

"Hearing Chatham's solo music thorugh home speakers is deeply moving... The evolution of Chatham's music may move too fast to see, but one can still bear witness."
-The New York City Jazz Record

"So while Pythagorean Dream serves the practical end of giving Chatham something that he can tour from town to town without having to school a new set of musicians for each performance, it’s not a compromise or even a reduction. It’s just one more chance to let him show what’s inside a sound."
-Dusted

"A deftly constructed piece... A fingerpicking style inspired by John Fahey has been influential here. The higher notes rain down, anchored by a low, slow fundamental. The harmonics shift into place, and by the time a drone has smeared the sound into a mass, the work is done."
-The Wire (Issue #387, May 2016)

"The music is, on its own, fascinating... Pythagorean Dream, in its two-part construction, stands alone as a great composition and performance by Rhys Chatham, a reminder of his ability as a player in his own right and not only a composer or fisher of guitarists."
-Popmatters

“Rhys Chatham leaves an orchestra-sized audio footprint without any overdubbing or any other musician involved. Pythagorean Dream is an avant-garde minimalist’s dream come true.”
-Something Else

"Pythagorean Dream is a qualified success because it shows Chatham moving forward with his craft, if only by simply reaching back."
-Exclaim!

"Sounds like absolutely no one else...a welcome return that shows that Chatham is still tirelessly forging his own unique path (even if that path has detoured a bit to find some fresh ground to break)."
-Brainwashed

“Scrappy fingerstyle picking bathes the listener in a droning swarm of sound loaded with overtones." - Chicago Reader

"Chatham composed, performed, produced, engineered and mastered the sublimely gnarled guitarscapes found on Pythagorean Dream, a recording comprised of three marathon complexities he’s calling back to basics with a focus on the electric guitar with flute and trumpet thrown in” - Observer

"At about twenty minutes per part, you'll have time to meditate, fret, or mentally spelunk into Chatham's harmonically complex overtones."
- Village Voice

Press Release:

Rhys Chatham returns with his first new album in 3 years, the apocryphal and enchanting Pythagorean Dream. Primarily focused on the electric guitar (but also featuring flute and a bit of trumpet) the recording is named after the Pythagorean guitar tuning it employs. The new album is a truly singular endeavour; composed, performed, produced, engineered and mastered solely by Chatham.

Following his Guitar Trio Is My Life! and A Crimson Grail records—the latter: the extensive revisiting of his groundbreaking “Guitar Trio” (1977) which featured the entire guitar section of Sonic Youth, and members of Swans, Tortoise, Godspeed You Black Emperor!, Modern Lovers, A Silver Mt. Zion & Hüsker Dü; the former: his work for for 400 guitars which premiered in Paris in 2005 and was reworked for the Lincoln Center Out Of Doors Festival in New York City in 2009—Chatham felt a need to get back to basics, returning to that most intimate and direct way of experiencing music: the solo.

Going back to the model of composer as performer that was pioneered in the 1960s by artists such as Tony Conrad and Terry Riley, 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 (having studied under, and then worked with La Monte Young in the early 1970s) 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, which 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 is comprised of a brief trumpet intro, followed by a guitar piece which 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 which sparked his love of contemporary music; which he mastered in his adolescence prior to experiencing the early Ramones show at CBGB’s and which caused him to changed course and focus on the electric guitar. While composing this solo work, Chatham figured that the flute’s timbre would make a suitably interesting contrast to the guitar and trumpet, which led him to pick up the instrument again. Pythagorean Dream features Chatham on C, alto & bass flutes. The recording is brought to a close with a final guitar piece.

credits

released June 3, 2016

Composed, Performed, Produced, Engineered & Mastered by Rhys Chatham. © 2016.

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