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Old 10.17.2006, 03:06 AM   #1
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August 11, 2006

For Immediate Release from Table of the Elements
Friday, August 11, 2006


WHAT DO YOU DO when you've already done it all?

Rhys Chatham is one of the most versatile and significant figures in all of modern music, and if you don't know the name, you've heard the reverberations of his influence. And it would seem that he's done it all.

A classically-trained prodigy, Chatham was protegee to the world-renowned pianist Glenn Gould, and a student under composers Morton Subotnick and La Monte Young. In 1971, at the age of 19, he founded the profoundly influential music program at The Kitchen in New York City, which launched the careers of a generation of avant luminaries, including Laurie Anderson and Brian Eno.

In 1975 Chatham had an epiphany at a concert by the Ramones. His mission: to alter the DNA of rock by splicing the overtone-drenched minimalism of John Cale and Tony Conrad with the elemental fury of punk. The amalgamation was inspired, and it energized the downtown New York scene throughout the late 1970s and early 1980s, making Chatham a founding father of the notorious No Wave movement. Chatham's influence spread even further as former students and ensemble members, including Glenn Branca and Sonic Youth, injected his raucous, ecstatic sound into the rock mainstream. In 1982, he even took to the road with Fab Five Freddy, marking hip-hop's first excursion into the heartland.

Throughout the 1980s, Chatham's ensemble continued to grow in size and scope until it became an enormous amplified orchestra. His 1989 masterpiece, _An Angel Moves Too Fast to See_, scored for 100 electric guitars, bass and drums, is one of the most extraordinary works in the minimalist canon and cemented Chatham’s reputation as a monolithic figure astride both rock and classical musics.

Since 1989, Chatham has received the patronage of Europe's most prominent institutions and municipalities, and his symphonies have been staged dozens of times around the globe. Most recently, the city of Paris commissioned from Chatham an epic piece for 400 guitars, which was presented at the largest church in France. Witnessed by tens of thousands of jubilant fans -- and glimpsed by hundreds of thousands more on television -- the event created a national sensation.

So, what do you do when you've already done it all? You get back to basics. You jam econo; you Get in the Van. You get down to . . . Essentials.

In September 2006, that's what Rhys Chatham will do. He's leaving his home in Paris and he's going to Georgia, USA, deep in the heart of the Dirty South. He's renting a van and hitting the road.

Rhys Chatham has started a heavy metal band.

Informed by decades of exploration in raw, electric minimalism and inspired by the slow-motion grinding of bands like Sleep, Sunn O))) and Earth, Chatham breaks down the conventions of the genre, reveals the fundamentals, then turns them inside-out. The name says it all: Rhys Chatham's Essentialist. Chatham's band-mates are a talented young group of New York musicians, including members of San Agustin and Jonathan Kane's February, and together they conjure a hallucinatory, mind-crushing form of metal unlike anything you've ever heard.

Rhys Chatham's Essentialist is a hypnotic, exhilarating and sometimes harrowing journey to the core of a brave new sound, one that is all about the essentials; one that IS essential.

Just like Rhys Chatham.


Sat September 2 - Atlanta GA - Eyedrum/Table of the Elements Festival**
Sun September 3 - Atlanta GA - Eyedrum/Table of the Elements Festival
Tues September 5 - Knoxville TN - The Bijou Theatre
Wed September 6 - Asheville NC - The Orange Peel
Thurs September 7 - Chapel Hill NC - Local 506
Fri September 8 - Philadelphia PA
Sat September 9 - Boston MA
Sun September 10 - New Haven CT - BAR
Mon September 11 - Brooklyn NY - Issue Project Room**
Tues September 12 - Purchase NY - South (Purchase University)
Wed September 13 - TBA
Thur September 14 - New York NY - Tonic
Fri September 15 - Buffalo NY - Soundlab
Sat September 16 - Cleveland OH - The Beachland Ballroom
Sun September 17 - Detroit MI - Bohemian National Home
Wed September 20 - Chicago, IL - The Empty Bottle/The AiMM Festival

**Appearing as Rhys Chatham's Guitar Army
* * * * *

There's a reason Rhys Chatham's name isn't as well known as some (say, Glenn Branca): while his influence has been extensive, his discography and live stateside performances haven't. However, Table of the Elements is setting out to change all of that in a big way in 2006.

For starters, in March 2006 the label brought Rhys to the US to perform his massed-guitar material for the first time in 20 years. Leading his Guitar Army, Rhys toured throughout the South, including shows in Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Louisiana and Texas (plus appearances at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh and the Wexner Center in Columbus, Ohio), before finishing up big, headlining the wildly success Table of the Elements showcase at Austin's annual South by Southwest festival. Rhys topped an unbelievable bill that included Tony Conrad, Arnold Dreyblatt & His Orchestra of Excited Strings, Zeena Parkins, Jonathan Kane's February, San Agustin, Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore and others -- and he brought down the house.

Then, just a few weeks ago, Table of the Elements (via its new Radium imprint label) released the bulk of Rhys's guitar-based material. DIE DONNERGOTTER (TOE-CD-801) contains Chatham's major pieces from the late 70s and early 80s, including the No Wave tumult of "Guitar Trio", and the ecstatic title track. Best of all, it's available as a lavishly packaged, limited-edition double LP (TOE-LP-801).

Also available is Chatham's masterpiece, AN ANGEL MOVES TOO FAST TO SEE (TOE-CD-802), scored for 100 electric guitars, electric bass and drums. It's one of the most extraordinary works in the minimalist canon, and demonstrates the majesty inherent in Chatham’s amplified imagination. Now widely available for the first time, this lavish CD presents this sonic revolution in all its glory, and cements Chatham’s reputation as a monolithic figure astride both rock and classical musics. It, too, is available on limited-edition vinyl (TOE-LP-802), so get yours while you can!

In July 2006, the luxuriously packaged 2xCD FIELD GUIDE TO TABLE OF THE ELEMENTS sampler comes out (TOE-CD-90). It features a previously unreleased track by Rhys, simply titled "100 Guitars." It's self-explanatory and thoroughly wonderful. The lavish release comes in a vertical book-style format, and contains a booklet with photographs and notes by maverick journalist Steve Dollar, a poster/discography, and rare and/or previously unreleased tracks by Tony Conrad, Zeena Parkins, Arnold Dreyblatt, San Agustin, Jonathan Kane and Leif Inge.

Next, in September 2006, the label is bring Rhys back to the states. He'll headline TABLE OF THE ELEMENTS FESTIVAL NO. 4 in Atlanta -- twice. On September 2, he'll perform some of his most vital 70s- and 80s-era material, with a band that will include Jonathan Kane (Swans, La Monte Young) and Ernie Brooks (Modern Lovers). Then on September 4, Rhys will close the festival with the world premiere of his new band, Rhys Chatham's Essentialist. Yes, it's Rhys's just-intonation, minimalist heavy-metal band.

Immediately after the festival, Rhys and Essentialist will tour for two weeks, including tentative shows in New York, New England, the South and the Midwest. The tour will culminate with an appearance at The Wire's annual festival at the Empty Bottle in Chicago on September 20, where it's rumored that Rhys will share a bill with the elusive Jandek. Then it's straight to the recording studio -- look for Essentialist's debut CD in early 2007.

Things don't stop there. In October 2006, Table of the Elements will release its third Chatham title of the year, 1971's TWO GONGS (TOE-CD-73). Pitchfork says that it "sounds not so much like an idealized Music of the Spheres as it is a 'Music of Two Enormous Fucking Ball Bearings the Size of Jupiter Grinding Together like Electric Teenagers'. Heavenly, yes, but with enough sharp metal shavings and distorted sparks as to spray in your eyes over its sixty minutes." Wow.

Finally, in December 2006, Table of the Elements will release A CRIMSON GRAIL, Rhys Chatham's 2005 orchestra for 400 guitars. It was commissioned by the city of Paris and presented at the largest church in France, the basillica of Sacre Coeur. Witnessed by tens of thousands of jubilant fans -- and glimpsed by hundreds of thousands more on television -- the event created a national sensation; the CD features lots of unpublished photographs and liner notes by maverick journalist Steve Dollar.

It's a big year for Rhys -- thanks for listening!
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