Steve Reich

Reich: Remixed 2006

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Steve Reich's popularity among young fans of electronic dance music is well known and growing; one contributor to Amazon's U.K. site calls him "arguably the chief pioneer of remixing, sampling, and maybe electronic music in general." It was perhaps the triple confluence of electronic sound manipulation, sampling of ambient sounds, and engagement with musical sonorities from around the world that made him stand out above other minimalist composers in this regard. At any rate, this is not the first album of Reich remixes, but it's an interesting one in several respects. First and foremost is the fact of Reich's direct involvement; one of the tracks here, the remix of Music for 18 Musicians by Ruoho Ruotsi's Pulse Section, was chosen by the composer as the winner of a BBC-sponsored competition in which the original work was made available for free download. Second is the presence on the album of an un-remixed version of Come Out, allowing the listener to compare (unlike on the 1999 Reich Remixed CD) the experience of Reich's original music with remixes -- although a pairing of an original work with its remix would have been even better, and there was room on the album for one to be included. Finally there is the relatively circumspect quality of the three remixes included here as compared with those on the 1999 disc, which tended more toward the expression of the electronic personalities of the remixers and, in several cases, combined multiple Reich pieces into a new work -- something that didn't really fit the conception of his music. Here the remixes, while not hanging in the background, are more in the nature of an homage to the figure who is increasingly seen as having altered the direction of music in the twentieth century as few other individuals have.

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