In collaboration with P.S. 122 co-founder and performance artist Charles Dennis, Spaghetti Eastern Music today releases a solo electric guitar score for the dance piece “2 X 2 X 4.” Recorded live at Avant-Garde Arama Festival in Woodstock in July 2021, the three-track, 20-minute collection is available as a digital download exclusively on Spaghetti Eastern Music’s Bandcamp site, via Bad Egg Records 3100.
Premiering in 1989 to raves in media like The Village Voice, Charles Dennis’ “2 x 2 x 4” is an offbeat dance duet performed with fourteen wooden 2 x 4s, one whose mood is now heightened by Cataldi’s atmospheric, looped and layered guitar extrapolations captured on this live EP. Avant-Garde-Arama was originated in 1980 at the legendary East Village venue P.S. 122 (now called Performance Space 122) by Dennis, who also co-founded this vibrant cultural institution. This is the first time that the two-day festival of short works of dance, performance art, poetry and music has been produced outside of New York City.
Praised for his guitar innovations by the likes of The New York Times and Jazz Times, Cataldi’s three movement score was informed by his love of the pioneering ambient soundscapes of guitarist Robert Fripp and experience performing with avant-garde guitar orchestra composer Rhys Chatham. Cataldi performed with Chatham’s ensemble at Lincoln Center in 2010, at a concert captured on the album “A Crimson Grail: For 200 Guitars.”
Cataldi utilized multiple loop pedals, delays, fuzz tone, a string simulator, harmonizer, arpeggiator, an Ebow note sustainer and other effects to create the 20-minute score, which is divided into three selections on the EP titled: 2 x 2 x 4 Pt. 1 Of Sawdust & Seagulls (8:09); 2 x 2 x 4 Pt. 2 Pulse the Arpeggiator (4:37) and 2 x 2 x 4 Pt. 3 The Howl of Contemplation (6:24). The music moves from gentle chording and symphonic loops to a rhythmic pulse with dueling, echoed melodic fragments to a minimalist 4-chord organ pattern underpinning frenetic soloing and wailing wall of infinite sustained, harmonized note clusters at the culmination.
When I heard Sal play live, I knew he would be the perfect collaborator. I gave him a few notes about mood, pacing and rhythm and he took these ideas and ran with them – crafting three distinct movements that complemented the narrative flow. It was a unique musical soundscape, one that enhanced both my performance and the experience of Avant-Garde Arama’s live audience.Charles Dennis
Cataldi’s debut album under Spaghetti Eastern Music moniker, Sketches of Spam, is a 16-track, 69-minute, genre-surfing journey through contrasting moods, with instrumentals inspired by 70’s Miles, Krautrock, Ennio Morricone, Fripp & Eno and ECM’s icy guitar great Terje Rypdal giving way to bare-bones acoustic vocal tunes reflective of the influence of John Martyn and Nick Drake. In 2020, Cataldi followed this with a trio of critically-acclaimed atmospheric singles that have been heard around the globe, “Her Lemon Peel Raincoat – Because It’s Raining,” “Peace Within” and “And This is Their New Hoax,” a COVID-19 musical editorial featuring samples of President Trump’s most noted denials to Cataldi’s soundpainting guitars and synths. His latest release, 2021’s “Blues for A Lost Cosmonaut,” is a nine-minute plus maxi single, again in the ambient mode, one that informed the live tracks he performed to Dennis’ piece.
This collaboration with Charles was a pure joy. It was a chance to extend on what I have been working on with my recent Spaghetti Eastern Music releases – to be ambient and minimalist and wildly maximalist, at the same time. It was also a way to challenge myself to create a multi-layered soundpainting completely solo, in a live setting, without a net, re-dos, etc. I look forward to reprising this piece and others with Charles in further performances.Sal Cataldi
In 2020, Cataldi made news more beautiful sounds with “One Act Sonix,” the critically-buzzed about debut album from his spoken word/music side project, The Vapor Vespers, with noted Alaskan playwright/slam poet Mark Muro. The duo recently followed this up with two new singles, “Sex” and “You Changed.” Cataldi is also one half of the improvisational and ambient Hudson Valley-based guitar and efx duo, Guitars A Go Go, with Rick Warren. Their first single, a 12-minute improv opus called “The Volcano Lovers,” was a preview of the bold experimentation featured in their June 2020 CD debut, “Travel Advisory.”