Thursday, 8 April 2010
Middlebrow? Meh. Granted, Music for 18 Musicians & In C are relatively accessible pieces - but they also remain thrilling, ground-breaking masterpieces, with the scale, richness & beauty to invite & reward new interpretation.
These ears enjoyed the celebrated Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble's M18M well enough. But it's a pretty respectful version that neither surpasses the definitive ECM recording nor steps up to Coldcut's brilliant (yes, really) 21st century reinvention. Judge for yourself...
Whereas NME's new-ish In C Remixed & forthcoming live In C (Ghostly) with Dennis DeSantis are clearly deeper, more challenging undertakings. What's come this way so far suggests they are genuine heirs to the classic Reich Remixed (& not just because DJ Spooky is on both...).
These remixes are less rooted in club textures & tropes, for sure, & feature an infinitely less cool line-up (as though that mattered...). But peaks like the bass clarinetist Michael Lowenstern's unexpectedly taut, somewhat 2-steppy Bints Mix display the same ability to reframe a landmark in systems/minimal music in a contemporary texture - &, obviously enough, to add something to how we understand each & the connections between them as a result.
Ditto that beguiling wood block in Jack Dangers' Reichian toned Semi-Detached, albeit that the piece loses its way in a bit of bland swamp half-way through. Zoe Keating's Zinc is more obviously 'classical', though its strings cascade & saw quite prettily.
The live version too has a notable boldness & poise - pulling off an adroit interplay of chunky throb & filigree (especially in the second stream below).
Oh, & Terry (who it's hard to imagine ever not "smiling, beaming and sometimes amazed", admittedly): rates them: "...some ‘alternate universe’ In Cs that got me smiling, beaming and sometimes amazed. A new revelational viewpoint on a piece that has been turned every way but loose over the past 45 years."
Nifty Tokafi interview/review (though see second LMYE piece below for a different Reich take on RR...).
Previous coverage (Reich) & here (Coldcut/Reich).
Bints Mix (Michael Lowenstern remix) • GVSU NME
Semi-Detached (Jack Dangers remix) • GVSU NME
Zinc (Zoe Keating remix) • GVSU NME
In C - GVSU NME Live at LPR pt.1
In C - GVSU NME Live at LPR pt.2
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