Mp3 Blog #62: “A Crimson Grail”


Rhys Chatham:
”A Crimson Grail” Part 1 (2006)
For 400 Electric Guitars

Available on this album at emusic

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Sound is a physical phenomenon. It emanates from its source(s), travels through the air, bounces off of some objects, and resonates in others such as our bodies.

For all we may theorize about sound’s constructions, organizations, and its other abstract non-physical properties it is my belief that this physicality is the primary source of music’s power. The visual arts and letters can directly appeal to our strongest sense – sight – but the physicality of sound that literally touches and caresses our bodies and minds is what engenders music with its unique and undeniable emotive strength. This is why often I like to refer to music as the most sensual of all art forms.

Sound and music take on a different character when their physical presence is increased. When sound waves are allowed to really build up on themselves they take on a pure phenomenological force that is both enigmatic and impossible to deny.

In this poorly recorded piece for 400 electric guitars it is obvious that with enough physical presence electric guitars can cease to sound like electric guitars. The rhythmic accuracy fuses into what sounds like a bowed continuum. With this mass their harmonies no longer clang or merely even shimmer they can now truly ring, resonate, and caress.

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