Steve Reich’s organic minimalist tour de force is a ground breaking record that would become an influence for much of the electronic records we hear today. Reich creates an underlying harmonic undertone with two rhythmically different time signatures occurring simultaneously. Though the movement from chord to chord is often just a re-voicing, inversion or relative minor/major of a previous chord, the instruments usually stay within the key signature of three shapes at all times. These limitations create a repetition of movement that play an important role in inducing an almost trance-like hypnotic state. All of this is achieved with the utilization of 18 syncopated instruments: a violin, cello, 2 clarinets doubling bass clarinet, 4 women’s voices, 4 pianos, 3 marimbas, 2 xylophones and a metallophone (a vibraphone with no motor). All of the instruments used in the recording are acoustic but even so, “Music for 18 Musicians”, is a must listen for music fans seeking a deeper understanding of the origins of the electronic genre.
– Michael Friedman
Recommended – Full listen
Tags: ECM / Essential Listening / Minimal / Modern Classical