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Baker's Dozen

Music Of The Spheres: Rhys Chatham's Favourite Albums
Danny Riley , June 15th, 2016 10:37

The veteran avant-garde composer picks records by Morton Subotnick, Charlemagne Palestine and Maryanne Amacher and more to tell Danny Riley how his music, including new album Pythagorean Dream, has evolved


Robert Ashley – Perfect Lives
Robert was so hip and cool, and he became a role model for a lot of us. He was dean of music at Mills College, there was a graduate programme in electronic music and a lot of my friends studied with him. I followed his music and booked it at The Kitchen. Again he wasn't such a direct inspiration, it was more his lifestyle as a composer that was influential and inspiring to me. I looked at him and thought: "That's what a composer should be like." I'm thinking about how his music seeped into mine for the first time. I think of him as a big influence and I love his music but I don't think his influence is musical, and in that way he's much more like John Cage for me. His influence is more as a philosopher, in his approach to doing music. His students never write music like him! Lots of students write music like their teachers, but he encouraged their own voices. A lot of his classes focussed on how to make a living as a composer. He was a brilliant talker and his style was very different from Cage's, but both were equal in the talking department. Through his words and ideas he influenced a generation of composers, and that includes myself.