"An arbitrary succession of more or less irritating sounds"

Monday, 31 December 2007

Music for One Computer

I'd argue that Coldcut's awesome remix of Steve Reich's Music for 18 Musicians is as close as anyone's come to the fusion of Tony Allen & Reich that Eno once said inspired him to make music (apologies if I've cited that comment before...). It's a few years' old now, of course (remix released back in 1999, original from 1976), but still sounds fantastically, inspirationally modern to these ears.

That light, dry drum sound, the bass squelch & boom it offsets, the shimmering grace & build of Coldcut's pacing of the piece, the way its assuredness persuades you that glitchy electronica is Reich's rightful heir: eight years on, it seems more of a masterpiece than ever.

I considered also posting the original in its full 1-hour glory. But it's 80MB, so instead here's 12 great minutes from the world premiere of M18M (think Reich was giving this away during his recent 70th birthday celebrations).

Anyway, the Coldcut comes from an often excellent double CD of Reich remixes (originally one but expanded last year with four more mixes, including a 'Ruoho Ruotsi's Pulse Section Dub Remix' of M18M that I've not heard; buy here or here) by a bunch of interesting late 90s DJ/electronica types (Andrea Parker, DJ Spooky That Subliminal Kid, Howie B, Takemura, etc).

Here's Reich enthusing about the project (& showing real magnanimity over The Orb's thieving an uncleared Electric Counterpoint sample in Little Fluffy Clouds). Love his comment on his non-classical appreciators: "I think it's wonderful, and it's a kind of poetic justice", as well as the observation about 10/8 time...

& here he is on Coldcut's contribution, which is clearly one of the all-time peaks of their 20 years as sample meisters & taste creators (up there with Say Kids What Time Is It?, Beats & Pieces, the Journeys By DJ megamix & the Paid in Full remix):

bn: What did you think of Coldcut's take on "Music for 18 Musicians"?

SR: I was completely knocked out by it. Their own title -- and it's too bad we didn't use it -- was "Music for One Computer." It's very straightforward: "Here's 'Music for 18 Musicians' done our way."

Here's hoping 2008 brings more music as memorable as this...

Happy New Year from LMYE!

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