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Matter Waves (w​/​Kid Millions​/​Rhys Chatham​/​Bernard Gann)

by David First

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Gots 14:25
Dlym 16:34


The Story of Matter Waves by Kid Millions

I met David First in 2009, a few years after the 2004 archival release of First’s band The Notekillers collected recordings came out on Ecstatic Peace… Always intrigued by lost masterpieces, the instrumental music on there was so singular and strange and learning about the band’s struggles playing this crazy music as a band out of Philly was inspiring.

A few months later I bumped into a friend on the subway who mentioned that he was recording the new Notekillers album… I mentioned I was a fan, and David reached out to me. We started corresponding and I started to book them on some gigs. David is a really great person and we met up for lunch a few times and started talking about possibly doing something together.

About two years later, David sent me material that he’d been working on, based on the pulses that are created when certain microtones are played together. David wanted me to take a look at them and see if I could model them as rhythms on the drumset. We had a few rehearsals and performed an early version of this approach as a duo at Issue Project Room.

We had a few more rehearsals and added Bernard Gann on bass, a guitar student of David’s and also a member of the Brooklyn band Liturgy. The trio performed a couple of shows here and there - the only one I can remember was at the now defunct Bushwick space Big Snow Buffalo Lodge; a small homey spot that closed after one of the principals was shot in the stomach. I’m pretty sure there were only about 15 people in the audience.

In early 2012, I wanted to put together a series of concerts at my spiritual home, Secret Project Robot, during an exhibition with the San Francisco based artist Val Britton. It just so happened that Rhys Chatham was going to be in town rehearsing with Oneida for our Ecstatic Music Festival concert so I thought, “why not ask him to join Matter Waves?” Rhys has worked with microtones for decades and has extensive experience improvising. It proved to be a great fit.

We played on a bill with Black Pus - Brian Chippendale’s solo project - which was incredible and the house was packed. Our performance was monstrous and it also happened to be our last.

Neither David and I are sure why that’s the case. David went onto working deeply with his project The Western Enisphere, which is an exploration of this kind of material in a more concentrated form, and I went deeper into writing for my percussion group Man Forever.

Matter Waves exists as a wild tributary off both of our musical paths - something that was incredible and fascinating while it lasted and we were lucky to capture this show before it passed on.

released May 18, 2018

David First - guitar/midi-guitar controller/laptop electronics

Kid Millions - drums

Bernard Gann - bass

Rhys Chatham - violin/trumpet/pedals & loops


released November 18, 2020


all rights reserved



David First New York

David’s bands/projects include his psychedelic punk band, Notekillers, SWATi - a drone collaboration with acupuncturist Isobeau Trybula, The Western Enisphere - an audio/visual exploration of psycho-perception, and the AM Radio Band – a solo project for vintage signal generators, oscillators and transistor radios. He is also the proprietor of “Dave’s Waves" – a sonic restaurant A/V installation. ... more

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