Chatham, Rhys – “Harmonie Du Soir” – [Northern Spy Records]
2013 release from seminal No Wave string-thinker.
Like his contemporary Glenn Branca, Chatham was drawn
to the concert hall thrill and thrall of an orchestra
pit packed with electric guitarists. Minimalist music
for maximum force. We have many of his older releases.
He has evolved as a modern composer (trumpet apparently
was his primary calling card) but we find him here still
with that kind of post-rock, or punk-driven-drone vibe.
#1 The title piece launches with a minimal tick tock ear
sweep, one note electric pinging on a Dreyblatt-itude. Six
guitars, so his roots music doubling down on his early
Guitar Trio action. This song often feels like a post-rock
precision boogie suite but it finds its power 7:40 in with
definite No Wave homage crescendo chord strikes spaced out
then accelerating then bass beats alive and angling guitar
swipe-by’s create a nice Interference pattern.
#2 Almost feels like a bagpipe early, the alignment of player
(nearly 70 on this piece, an apparent soundtraco to a French
mountain town – Rhonabwy ) a dinosaur heavy stride follows for
nearly 12 minutes, then we encounter these arabesque woodwind
flourishes. They blow in with a hint of dilithium crystal method.
Add in minimalist call and response over orchestral drone, the
orchestra swells and rises while percussion marches back in. We
wind up in a shimmery pool of sustained sound. Helluva town.
#3 Bonus piece, a mere 10 minutes. Noisier and less stately than
the two vinyl cuts. Crushing blender of guitars like the original
version of “Drastic Classicism” updated with dizzy blurts of Chatham’s
trumpets sprinting through the center. Drummer Ryan Sawyer doesn’t
just keep time, he kicks it in the gut. Noise surf.
Hey he’s coming to town to cut it up with Bill Orcutt