RHYS CHATHAM - "A CRIMSON GRAIL (FOR 400 ELECTRIC GUITARS)"
OK, let's start off with just the facts. This is a live album, clocking in at under an hour, documenting highlights of a 12-hour performance of 400 electric guitars directed by the composer Rhys Chatham. Interested? You should be.
This is not a colossal sonic bombast, this is the sound of 400 guitars shimmering an incandescent symphony of sighs and shadows. The acoustics of the basilica of Sacré-Coeur in Paris really lend themselves to such subtle, delicate music. If you want crude comparisons, then the best I could do would be to suggest the guitar sound of post-rock at it’s most beautiful meeting modern composition.
I had heard bad things about the sound quality of this album. Some people had complained bitterly about hearing other sounds such as microphone bumps or clips but I found only a very vibrant live recording that captured the sound and atmosphere of what must have been quite an extraordinary event.