Steve Reich - Music for 18 Musicians

by Adrian May
(Taipei, Taiwan)

This thing is so far outside of anybody's envelope, that it's practically impossible to like it first time.

If you approach it with a checklist of preconceived quality criteria, it'll score zero. Calling it "music" is a bit like calling Buddhism "religion": maybe it is, maybe it isn't, but it sure as hell isn't what people normally attach to that word. It talks in a language of its own invention.

At first, this language is just hitting you in the face and it all sounds the same, but when you stop expecting it to do what music is supposed to do, you start to hear the words. Then you realise that no two bars are the same. This album contains more information than the rest of my record collection put together. It's incredible that somebody could have written all that in just one lifetime. I first heard it literally 30 years ago, and I play it regularly, but I just listened to it tonight and heard stuff I can't believe I missed before.

It's like a fractal - the complexity just goes on and on. It's like watching waves on the sea get up and dance with each other, and then wash all over you. It's like a massage to an undiscovered part of your brain.

For a long time I thought it was electronic, but then I found out that it's mostly voices plus woodwind, various xylophone-type wotsits and that thing on a stick that sounds like a beanbag. What's more, they can do it all live.

Don't be surprised if it bores you first time round, but the closer you listen, the sooner you get into it.

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About The Writer

My name is Andrew Muller. I love creative art, music, television shows, movies, video games, and a good story.

If you had to find me somewhere, you would probably find me down at O'neils home cooking eating an organic sweet-potato bun breakfast sandwich with ham.

Among my friends, it's a "Muller Classic Move" to eat Mcdonald's at 2am because it's cheap and open 24/7. The joke here is that I'm an idiot. 

I play drums, guitar, piano, and I write & perform music for My Goal Is Telepathy. Take a listen to the latest sound here.