Whitney Museum of American Art

Jason Gross

The sound of silence isn't just some Simon and Garfunkel oldie: It's also what some explorers use to create their work. Although it's tough enough to suss out quietude in a noisey city, a good stereo can illuminte the microscopic aural events of sound artist and DJ Ricjard Chartier. But can an ultraminimalist composer make a good DJ? One way is to lead two artistic lives, one seemingly at odds with the other.

By day, Chartier (who's won Austria's Prix Ars Electronica for his work) immerse himself in creating hushed stilness. Like the other artists on his LINE label (Bernhard Gunter, Steve Roden), Chartier makes music that's deceptively quiet, as heard on his most recent CD Of Surfaces. He works with barely perceptible frequencies and patterns while exploring what he describes as "the space between sounds." Silence becomes a compositional tool as the songs skirt the edges of hearing and perception. At his installation at the recent Whitney Biennial, visitors actually complained that their headphones were broken when they sat down to listen to Chartier's work. The hums and buzzing have gotten the composer labeled a "glitch" artist in a league with electronic heroes as such as Pan Sonic and Oval. He does make and appearance on Mille Plateaux's second Clicks and Cuts collection, and he use computer software, but his spirit is much closer to John Cage or Morton Feldman.

By night, Chartier works the turntables, and that's the side you 'll experience at this DJ gig. For a year now, he's spun grooves on Sundays for the FILLER night at the Blue Room in Washington, DC. Although '80s buffs might get their fill of electronic pop from this, you can expect all sorts of exotica to be thrown into an atmospheric-rhythmic mix, with some tunes getting layered over others-something he describes as "a loose soundtrack to an unmade film." Listen closely enough and you might hear Richard the DJ slip in something by Richard the minimalist. Headphones are not required this time.
Richard Chartier