Drastic Classical Music for Electric Instruments

Rhys Chatham: Drastic Classical Music for Electric Instruments at The Kitchen, April 17,1981 from The Kitchen on Vimeo.

Photo: © Paula Court

In Drastic Classical Music for Electric Instruments, Rhys Chatham performed 6 music compositions including Wild Roman (1980), The Out of Tune Guitar (1979), Guitar Trio (1977), Acoustic Terror (1980), Drastic Classical Music for Electric Instruments (1981) and 36 Short Stories (1981). Each composition employed varying numbers of guitars, bass, drums, and percussion. While the tempos alternated between 3/4 and 4/4 and occurred together at some points, the guitars were dissonantly tuned and additional audible overtones further enhanced the false impression of out-of-tune tuning. Originally composed in collaboration with Karole Armitage’s choreography and Charles Atlas’ stage design and light, Chatham explored the combination of his classical training background, experience in rock clubs, energy of New-York club scene between 1977-80, and knowledge of harpsichord tuning in Drastic Classical Music for Electric Instruments. Along with this piece, 36 Short Stories was also premiered at The Kitchen. Each musician wrote 36 stories and recited them silently within the space of 64 beats times eight, at 120 beats per minute. In addition to Rhys Chatham, Drastic Classical Music for Electric Instruments featured 9 musicians including Jules Baptiste, Craig Bromberg, Nina Canal, Joe Dizney, Scott Johnson, Robert Longo, Ned Sublette, Michael Brown, and David Linton.

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