Friday, December 10, 2010

Minimalism Part 3 of 4

Terry Riley is probably the third or fourth most influential composer in the minimalist music realm. Riley's influences come from Persian and Indian music with micro-tonal impressions. His recordings are not as easily accepted by the ear as the two more popular composers mentioned in the previous posts, but there is something there. Terry Riley has a good body of work, however he fewer recordings than Glass or Reich.

My favorite is a concert I recorded on WNYC about 30 years ago called Ten Voices of the Two Prophets, which I don't think was ever commercially released. Though the title sounded mystical, in actuality, Riley used two Prophet synthesizers, each with five voices. This to me was his finest work and takes me on a magic carpet ride every time I listen to it. I don't have the means to share that work on this blog, but here is a link so you can get a taste of what it is that Riley does.
Terry Riley, Persian Surgery Dervishes


Blogger darev2005 said...

I think the phrase "repetitive music godfather" summed up his work pretty well. Uncle T and I got into a discussion about minimalist composers last night and we came to the conclusion that the surviving beatniks gave up on bongos and Jack Kerouac and moved on to higher class instruments. Classical performance art. Too high brow to be really called avant-garde and way too structured to be Dada, but close to both in a weird way.

8:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ten Voices of the Two Prophets came out in the early '80s. Look for it on Amazon.

6:31 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Darev, I'm not sure I agree. There's a difference in beating a bongo to look cool and get laid and what happened with this evolution. The four minimalists are well studied in music and theory. When you read any of their writings on the music you quickly realize that they weren't just noodling around and that they have a deeper understanding of harmonics than most people with a PhD in music.

Anon I looked on Amazon and I saw there was a cassette that is no longer available and there is the precursor that appears on Descending Moonshine Dervishes album but not the tracks of which I was talking about. I did find a copy in England but I really don't know the source. I still have my cassette of the recording from the radio. I really need to convert it to MP3.

7:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


2:05 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Anon, though it says the title, this collection is only a lead in to the compositions that I'm talking about. I'd call Descending Moonshine Dervishes a collection that sets one up to hear the 10 voices pieces. 10 Voices is a live recording and DMD is a studio set.

5:22 AM  

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