Rhys Chatham

Outdoor Spell

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Avant-garde composer Rhys Chatham takes a highly percussive approach on the four tracks of his album Outdoor Spell, starting with the title track, which re-creates a sound similar to that of Tibetan monks throat singing. "Crossing the Sword Bridge of the Abyss," clocking in at 18 minutes, indeed has a marching sound (or a crunching sound set to a marching beat), and Chatham adds his own strained trumpet playing, as if leading the troops across the bridge. "Corn Maiden's Rite" does sound like some sort of primitive tribal rite. And "The Magician" spends its 12 minutes in a performance of musique concrète that resembles Frank Zappa trying to sound like Edgard Varèse. None of this seems very new in the world of experimental electronic music, but it is very much in a tradition stretching back to the middle of the 20th century.

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