about



chris rainier is a multi-instrumentalist, performer, composer/improviser and visual artist from melbourne, australia.

for over a decade he has focused on extending the sonic possibilities of the lap steel guitar - most recently the acoustic, hollow-neck weissenborn - beyond its historic use and context. drawing on traditional techniques and repertoires, he has explored new musical territories within an improvisational framework, embracing a disparate range of musical influences: 20th century classical, tape looping, just intonation, drone, exotica, futurist noise, balinese gamelan gong kebyar, hindustani slide guitar traditions, pre-war hawaiian steel guitar and the sounds of the bbc radiophonic workshop.

he has performed solo and in collaborative concerts at various festivals, art galleries and non-traditional performance spaces, often improvising live soundtracks to film. solo tours in europe, japan and the usa have seen him share the stage with masaki batoh, taku sugimoto, tetuzi akiyama, giovanni di domenico, diane cluck and yuri landman.

rainier's research into microtonal music and new instrument designs, influenced by the work of 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 his depression-era journal bitter music. he has presented lectures on partch's life, music and guitars at various universities and institutions around the world, including the universit√§t mozarteum salzburg, the harry partch archives at the university of illinois, the slade school of fine art in london, and the sydney conservatorium of music. currently he is also performing with dutch new music group scordatura, performing the early chamber music of partch, as well as assisting in creating replicas of some of the composer's unique musical instruments.

2017 will see the release of two new studio albums - one being a solo record showcasing not only further experiments on the weissenborn, but also avant-folk songs on various microtonal guitars, organ and including percussive elements inspired by the indonesian archipelago. the second release is a recording of music by the american composer harry partch [1901-1974], particularly his compositions for voice and microtonal acoustic guitars, dating back to the early 1940's.

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