So, I made this piece called Two Gongs, which was a structured piece over — with certain prescribed things to do, and certain prescribed things to play over a period of 63 minutes. The first performer was Yoshi Wada, Yoshimasa Wada, who came out of Fluxus, a Japanese composer living in America, and myself.1 And the sound was so rich with overtones, and the critic Tom Johnson heard it, and posited it as a new kind of minimalism.2 It was very, very well received. For myself, looking with the advantage of 20-20 hindsight vision, of course, this piece is coming directly out of La Monte’s gong piece that he had done in 1963, but when I approached it, it was a new discovery for me, a new passion.
And so, my hope is that I approached it in a slightly different way than he did. I think when La Monte played it, he might have done it on a gong. We redid the performance. We did a recreation performance in the mid 80s, and La Monte came to the performance, and he heard it with a big smile, and he said “I know this music.” And then Peter Gordon was at the concert also, who had produced an electric guitar piece of mine called Drastic Classicism. After the concert, he said “Rhys, for the first time after hearing the two gong pieces, I understand Drastic Classicism. What you were trying to do was make this sound of two gongs with four electric guitars.” And he was absolutely right.