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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


Morton Subotnick – Silver Apples Of The Moon
One album I don't have any more because I wore it out. When it first came out, I read about it in The New York Times, so I went to the record store every week to check if it was there. When I listened to it I literally screamed. I played it for all my friends, and I hadn't heard anything like it before. In 1969 I was going to a conservatory, pre-university, on a special programme. Morton Subotnick had a class there. They bussed us to NYU, and Morton gave a lecture over three months, once a week there in his studio, with his modular synthesiser. Each week he would focus on something like frequency oscillation, another week it would be amplitude. I already knew at that point that I wanted to be a composer, so I got a hold of him and asked if I could study with him privately. He agreed and let me use his studio on weekends. He had a little closet that Maryanne Amacher was living in – she vacated the closet for the weekends when I would come in. Morton was the composer that was my role model and responsible for introducing me to Charlemagne and Serge Tcherepnin, inventor of the Serge synthesiser.