Boomkat Product Review:
The proclamation 'Guitar Trio Is My Life!" sounds like something Tom Cruise might announce whilst bouncing on Oprah's sofa, hardly befitting the kind of radical intensity Chatham has brought to the electric guitar in his large-form ensembles, or indeed within the context of smaller outfits, as explored on this essential insight into the career of one of noise rock's key players. Glancing across the line-up of artists who've queued up to appear on Chatham's work reads like a who's who of avant-garde guitar groups. On Chatham's works you'll find icons in their own right from bands like Sonic Youth, Swans, Modern Lovers, Husker Du, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Tortoise... the list goes on. The trio recordings collected here outline Chatham's balancing of post-punk aggression and instrumental dynamics with the practices of modern composition. Experimental music was ingrained deep within Chatham's mindset from the very beginnings of his musical career. Prior to taking up study under Tony Conrad and Morton Subotnick, Chatham actually tuned the pianos of La Monte Young - and even Glenn Gould. That's one heck of a way to make an entrance into the music industry. Witnessing punk shows in New York proved to be quite the epiphany for Chatham, and his subsequent work contributed to the genesis of no-wave. The 'Guitar Trio' of 1977 went on to become one of the most enduring works in the composer's catalogue, droning through a single chord, it's the ultimate statement in punk minimalism, stretching out those electrified strings towards a point that can't be too far from infinity (probably more like half an hour). This 3CD set assembles a huge cast, revising and paying homage to the original 'Guitar Trio' under the guidance of Chatham himself. It might sound like a step too far into the extremes of monotony, but far from it: the textures and multi-layered overtones from the various assembled performers ensures that this is music in a continual state of chaotic flux despite the overarching stasis of the piece's structural makeup. Highly Recommended.