Monday, December 11, 2006

Steve Reich on the South Bank Show

The South Bank Show last night was one of those glorious pieces of television that you will occasionally find amidst the usual mire of garbage. It was an hour of wonderful entertainment on the life and work of Steve Reich.

Reich is a minimalist American classical composer much admired by the likes of Eno and Michael Nyman. Now being a fan of Nyman's work I always meant to look into Reich, but like so many other things in this life of mine, just never seemed to find the time.
That was a mistake. Reich's simple repetitive work is just wonderful. Minimalist, using phase shifts, repetition and simple instrumentation, expressive, beautiful and unbelievable rewarding.
He can do something as simple as recording a gradual extension of a single chord from four organs and make an incredible composition from it.
Of course, he's hated amongst traditional classical fans. So he must be doing something right.

It appeals to me in the same way that Kraftwerk does. The ability to lose yourself in the music and to let the music flow over and through you.

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