May 05, 2010

Works 1956 - 1995 - Steve Reich

Reich takes the infinite canons or rounds of the kindergarten - those never ending renditions of the likes of Three Blind Mice and Frère Jacques - and uses contrapuntal phasing to bring emotion to bear on the driving logic of the melody. The two early “shock” tape pieces here – It’s Gonna Rain and Come Out – offer nothing less than different ways of interpreting sound data. The boundaries between sounds shift and the listener is left to reorganise the psychoacoustic fragments. As one tape loop slips slightly behind another identical loop, spatial notions of forwards, backwards, up and down merge and reverse. On the other keyboard pieces, the form is still canonic and the fixed pulse more insistent.

Causes célèbres in their day, the works still have the power to disorientate and, in the right setting, surrender endless interpretations.

Oddi wrth y brawd
rain gonna come


David Elliott said...

Brother Walter! A groundbreaking piece of music. I had it on a Boots C60 (along with Come Out) before obtaining the "Early Works" compilation in the 80s.

But the two biggests epiphanies were seeing a BBC recording of Music for 18 Musicians at the Roundhouse in 1977; and the Steve Reich at 50 festival at London's Almeida Theatre which featured everything he'd ever composed over a week or so, including Pendulum Music (swinging a microphone over a loudspeaker for 10 mins) and Violin Phase (which instead of having 1 violinist playing against a tape, had at least 10 violinists playing live). Fabulous.

Y Brawd said...


Equally impressed by the fact you remember that it was a Boots sourced C60.

Diolch am eich comment.