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Berkeley University Museum - November 7, 1970
Steve Reich
Berkeley University Museum - November 7, 1970
Modern Silence
Catalogue Number
Release Date
April 2016

Modern Silence deliver a landmark release in the history of minimalism with a live performance documented from one of the genre’s key figures - Steve Reich. Recorded live at Berkeley University in the 1970s (home also to key minimalism figures Terry Riley and La Monte Young), this performance sees Reich deliver some of his now legendary compositions, such as the shifting tape-loop experimentation of ‘My Name Is’, whereby vocals are cut up, looped and played at different speeds to create constantly shifting combinations. Similar to his ‘It’s Gonna Rain’, it’s utterly disorientating and makes for an absorbing listening whilst doffing a cap to cut-up techniques championed by early Dadaists and later Brion Gysion and Burroughs. The two-part ‘Piano Phase’ demonstrates the effects of playing minimalistic notes on two separate pianos at slightly different speeds, so the two drift in an out of phase with each other. The effects are highly meditative, causing subtle rhythmic mutations throughout the piece, whilst ‘Phase Patterns’ explores a similar technique albeit with a grainer electric organ. Last but not least, ‘Four Organs’ explores the effects of sustained chords on multiple organs, set amongst a perpetual maraca, whereby the combination of interlocking chords on the separate instruments amalgamate to form a dense, textured tonal tapestry.

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  1. 1 Four Organs 2:00 Steve Reich
  2. 2 My Name Is 2:00 Steve Reich
  3. 3 Piano Phase (part 1) 2:00 Steve Reich
  4. 4 Piano Phase (part 2)   Steve Reich
  5. 5 Phase Patterns   Steve Reich

Steve Reich

Modern Silence

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