Rhys Chatham CD review [Table of The Elements]

Music Reviews
Rhys Chatham CD review [Table of The Elements]
May 24, 2007, 09:05


RHYS CHATHAM An Angel Moves Too Fast To See CD

The full title of this piece by legendary minimalist composer Rhys Chatham is An Angel Moves To Fast To See—For 100 electric guitars, electric bass, and drums. The five-part piece moves like drone at the pace of rock and roll, with swirling guitars intersecting and weaving to create euphoric swathes of overtones that result in something unique to avant garde guitar music—total populism. In fact, the very term ‘minimalist' is a misnomer here, as most of An Angel Moves To Fast To See certainly makes the absolute most of all of it's 100 guitars. “Intro” (which is followed by the seven minute “Prelude”) centers around a herky jerky rhythm that wouldn't sound out of place on one of Goblin's Italian horror film soundtracks, while the somber “No Trees Left: Every Blade Of Grass Is Screaming,” the only track that doesn't scream, dramatically raises the tension before the climax of “Adagio,” which is the only part that belies the piece's birth in the 1980s. Glenn Branca and Sonic Youth's debt to the Chatham is well documented, but anyone interested in the righteous sounds coming from the Southern Lord camp these days would also be wise to discover this very heavy piece of music. [Table of The Elements]

-James Jackson Toth

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