Personnel: Steve Reich (piano, marimba); Jay Clayton (vocals, piano); Marion Beckenstein, Rebecca Armstrong (soprano); Elizabeth Lim, Shem Guibbory (violin); Ken Ishii, Jeanne LeBlanc (cello); Virgil Blackwell, Richard Cohen , Evan Ziporyn (clarinet, bass clarinet); James Preiss (piano, vibraphone); David Van Tieghem, Garry Kvistad (piano, marimba, xylophone); Larry Karush (piano, marimba); Phillip Bush (piano, maracas); Benjamin Kobler, Steve Chambers, Edmund Niemann, Nurit Tilles (piano); Timothy Ferchen, Bob Becker , Russ Hartenberger, Glen Velez (marimba, xylophone); Thad Wheeler, Gary Schall (marimba, maracas).
Liner Note Author: K. Robert Schwarz.
Recording information: Hit Factory, New York, NY (10/1996).
Ensemble: Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble.
Photographer: Betty Freeman.
Translator: Konstanze Streese.
After Reich's initial experiments with phase music, he moved on to exploring pulse -- music that had no relation to melody, but would repeat phrases of either one or several notes, increasing then decreasing in volume as long as the musician had the stamina. When repeated with several musicians playing around one key and starting them off at different times, the result was a piece that continuously evolved, sounding like a night drive through a neon city with bright sounds appearing on the horizon, coming closer, then disappearing behind. The original recording in 1978 on ECM records was a major step forward for Reich and legitimized his music beyond the experimentation of such works as "Violin Phase." Where the phase work felt insular and looped, Music for 18 Musicians stretches as far as the eye can see. The piece was rerecorded in the late '90s, but this original recording is worth checking out, even more now for the historical value. ~ Ted Mills
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