about

[Cafe OTO, London, 12.03.19. Photograph by Fabio Lugaro]


CHRIS RAINIER is a performer, composer/improviser and visual artist from Melbourne, Australia, now based in London.

Over the last decade he has focused on extending the sonic possibilities of the lap steel guitar - particularly the acoustic, hollow-neck Weissenborn - beyond its historical use and context. Using many of the instrument's traditional techniques and repertoires as a conceptual point of origin, he has explored new musical territories within an improvisational framework, embracing a disparate range of musical influences.

Chris has performed solo and in collaboration with other performers in a diverse range of concert venues, festivals, art galleries and non-traditional performance spaces, often improvising live soundtracks to film. Solo tours in Europe, Japan, the USA and Australia have seen him share the stage with Masaki Batoh [Ghost/The Silence], Taku Sugimoto, Tetuzi Akiyama, Giovanni di Domenico [Jim O'Rourke], Owen Gaertner [Horse Lords], Diane Cluck and Yuri Landman.


Rainier's research into microtonal music and new instrument designs - influenced by the work of the American composer Harry Partch - was the focus of his postgraduate studies at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Since 2013 he has presented performances of Partch's rarely heard works for voice and microtonal guitar, as well as readings and musical extracts from the composer's Depression-era journal Bitter Music. Chris has also delivered lecture-performances on Partch's life, music and guitars at various universities and institutions around the world, including the Harry Partch Archives [University of Illinois], the Slade School of Fine Art [London], the Guildhall School of Music and Drama [London] and the Kunitachi College Of Music [Tokyo].

In 2017 Chris joined Dutch new music ensemble Scordatura, who perform not only Partch's early chamber music, but also the music of various other composers with a focus on tuning. Together with the group he has collaborated with various craftspeople in the UK, Europe and Australia, creating replicas of some of Partch's unique musical instruments. Since 2018 Chris is pursuing doctoral studies at the University of Huddersfield, exploring notions of authenticity in Partch's music, its intersection with biography and its relationship to performance practice.


Chris' most recent release is the EP 'Yuma' [2020], a collection of improvisations and song fragments played on his replica of Partch's Adapted Guitar 1, guided by charts and diagrams of the composer's harmonic theories and structures. 2021 will see the release of his interpretations of Partch's early compositions for voice and microtonal acoustic guitars - mostly dating back to the 1940's - as well as a new album of original compositions for voice and Adapted Guitar 1.


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