Music » Livewire

Rhys Chatham

With Clvlnd Gtr. Saturday, September 16, at the Beachland Tavern.


If you're at all hip to New York City's no-wave legacy of the '70s and '80s (or, at the very least, have read Please Kill Me), chances are good that the name Rhys Chatham rings a bell or two. Chances are also good that you're not entirely sure why, but let's be serious: That's nothing to be ashamed of. Like the similarly minimalistic composer Glenn Branca, Rhys Chatham lives in a place of vague recognition, a dark and dusty room chock-full of artists known by name rather than accomplishment. Great fodder for desperately cool bands to tack onto a list of influences, but that's pretty much where the lip-service ends.

And honestly, it's a shame; Chatham's dynamic compositions, some of which were intended to be played by 100 or more guitars, are raucous and rattling, bits of goosebump-inducing no-wave genius. Imagine Sonic Youth with a more tempered squall, or Philip Glass with a cutthroat edge, then crawl back into that dusty room of vague recognition and truly discover Rhys Chatham. Just be careful not to kick Psychic TV on your way out.

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