Happy birthday, Steve Reich

One of my favorite Minimalist composers, and a pioneer of audio sampling via his sixties work with tape loops, on such pieces as It’s Gonna Rain, and Come Out, Steve Reich is recognized as one of America’s most influential living composers. Here’s some of my faves and some of his most significant works.




Come Out was my first exposure to Reich’s work, the moment of which I still remember distinctly. From wiki: “The 13-minute Come Out (1966) uses similarly manipulated recordings of a single spoken line given by Daniel Hamm, one of the falsely accused Harlem Six, who was severely injured by police.[10] The survivor, who had been beaten, punctured a bruise on his own body to convince police about his beating. The spoken line includes the phrase “to let the bruise’s blood come out to show them.” Reich rerecorded the fragment “come out to show them” on two channels, which are initially played in unison. They quickly slip out of sync; gradually the discrepancy widens and becomes a reverberation. The two voices then split into four, looped continuously, then eight, and continues splitting until the actual words are unintelligible, leaving the listener with only the speech’s rhythmic and tonal patterns. In 1999, Rolling Stone magazine dubbed Reich “The Father of Sampling” and compared his work with the parallel evolution of hip-hop culture by DJs such as Kool Herc and Grandmaster Flash.”

Another clip of the rhythmically challenging, Clapping Music, featuring the same dancers as in the Come Out clip.




And finally, a documentary from The BBC’s, The South Bank Show

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