I have the utmost respect for Rhys Chatham, who has worked with everyone from Phillip Glass to Steve Reich and from Brian Eno to Glenn Branca. Yet, to be honest, I found myself being very disappointed in his set. The reason for this is mainly because he was performing as part of his heavy metal band, which featured himself on guitar with another guitarist and a drummer to create some minimalist metal that I unfortunately couldn’t relate to at all or connect with emotionally. The few times Rhys Chatham approached the microphone, he spoke with a gentle soft spoken demeanor that didn’t quite match the assaulting chords he strummed. It’s clear Rhys Chatham is an incredibly talented musician who has added a substantial amount of history to mysic with his contributions as a composer. I just hope next time he leaves the metal bit at home.
Jana Hunter from Texas came out and sang bluesy songs accompanied by her guitar. She sang with a much deeper voice than I expected and she seemed so pure to me in a way with such minimal guitar effects and just a small fender amp. The Empty Bottle felt much more intimate somehow with her on stage.
Tim Hecker from Vancouver, Canada plays electronic music that felt very tidal with Brian Eno-esque tones from his ambient era. To describe it, the music swarmed around the audience warmly but there was a presence lurking there amidst all of this that wasn’t as bright as it could have been. The full effect was dark at times but interesting with the unfortunate downfall that Hecker wasn’t very engaging to watch as he mainly just stood on a dark stage and pressed buttons on his PowerBook. It was definitely more of a set to close your eyes to and concentrate on listening and feeling.