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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Definitive Recording of a Masterpiece
The early Pulse music of Steve Reich is a wonder for those who have not yet encountered it. Music for 18 Musicians is a seminal piece. It is ambitious, monumental in scale and perfectly realised. If you are new to the 'minimalist' music of the 70s, this work will astound you with its originality. It is not easy music, but its rewards are limitless. This kind of work,...
Published on 9 Nov 2002 by Jonathan Parsons

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars flawed delivery
I love this piece of music- indeed, I've been searching for it since watching it performed on the TV as a young child and remembering a few brief snatches of the melody. It's a long, complex, continuous piece, broken into 'tracks' in name only..... except this download decides the individual tracks actually exist, so puts an audible space and 'click' into the performance,...
Published on 29 Mar 2009 by Mr. Paul B. Dale


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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Definitive Recording of a Masterpiece, 9 Nov 2002
By 
This review is from: Reich: Music for 18 Musicians (Audio CD)
The early Pulse music of Steve Reich is a wonder for those who have not yet encountered it. Music for 18 Musicians is a seminal piece. It is ambitious, monumental in scale and perfectly realised. If you are new to the 'minimalist' music of the 70s, this work will astound you with its originality. It is not easy music, but its rewards are limitless. This kind of work, sometimes called repetitive or trance music, tends to provoke the extremes of appreciation - you either love it or you hate it - and it is not the kind of music you can just allow to wash over you. However, if you allow yourself to enter fully into the aesthetic, the experience it offers can approach the sublime. It develops a meditative quality, as your engagement with the flow of sound becomes total. This music can be as moving and profound as Beethoven, as long as you're in the right mood! This recording is by the original Steve Reich and Musicians ensemble and was recorded soon after the work's composition. As usual, the performance by the ensemble is flawless. The concentration and stamina required for such a piece is enormous, but on this recording Steve Reich and Musicians present a tempo and note perfect delivery. Since this recording of Music for 18 Musicians has been available on CD, it has been possible for the listener to enjoy the piece in its continuous entirety without the fading in and out of the vinyl original. Here it is played as the composer fully intended it to be, and it strongly evokes the spirit of the time in which it was composed. Steve Reich is a giant of modern composition and performance and this is a disc that cannot be absent from any decent collection of progressive music. It is also very entertaining to have a disc with only one track of nearly an hour's duration!
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A marvellous tour through a world of colour and rhythm., 2 Mar 2001
By A Customer
Steve Reich's "Music for 18 musicians" is often hailed as one his best peices of music. This album does justice to this title. Extending over one hour in duration, themes are built up in repetition incorporating subtle changes along the way. It gradually builds up into a peice with wonderfully intricate, yet simple rhythms that makes the whole work a dynamic and exciting experience. A variety of instruments are used in this peice - notably wind instruments, glockenspiels, marimbas and voices. With these sounds Reich constructs beautiful sweeping chords that carry the listener smoothly from one scene to another.
This recording was made over twenty years after its composition. As such this recording has the benefit of experience (also played by Steve Reich).
This is a wonderful, refreshing recording of one of the most thrilling peices of minimalist music you are likely to hear.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars one of my favorite modern classical albums, 16 Oct 2009
By 
Deven Gadula (san francisco, ca, united states) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Reich: Music for 18 Musicians (Audio CD)
This is not only my favorite music by Steve Reich but one of my favorite modern classical albums. Next to Songs From The Trilogy by Philip Glass, Farewell To Philosophy by Gavin Bryars, Symphony Of Sorrowfull Songs by Henryk Gorecki or Tabula Rasa by Arvo Part. Out of all these albums Music For 18 Musicians is of the highest energy and tempo. This music evolves and takes you in. It makes you feel like you are riding a fast and steady moving train through an amazing landscape you seem to be very familiar with after a while. It may feel a little monothonic but these are the rides which allow you to focus on your own real trip so you let the train just take you... I can listen to this music over and over all day; I really like repetitive elements. Good balanced life seems to me to be full of them. If we could just eliminate mistakes... Most of Steve Reich's music is very good and original. My next recommendation would be Different Trains, which is an even more modern approach.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime perfection, 5 Feb 2005
This is one of the most sublime pieces of music I have ever heard. In the month that I've had it I've listened to it many, many times, and very little else. Whether driving, working or just chilling out - it always gives you something that very few pieces do.
That said, it won't be to everyone's tastes. The singularly unique style will inevitably bemuse as many people as it delights. It is not a mainstream piece of music, and so much better for that. My feeling is that it will appeal most to people who relish the subtle complexity that comes out of the interplay of simple elements, perhaps in particular those who are more analytically minded.
When you first listen to it you might be forgiven for thinking that 'nothing much really happens', and yet if you give it the space it deserves you'll discover that it is packed from start to finish with rich, rewarding detail which continuously evolves, stimulates and surprises. In a sense the many instuments each play in isolation, repeating their own simple pattern with little concession to traditional harmony or ensemble, and yet it is the implied patterns and interplay that comes from combining these elements that creates the rich sonic and rhythmic interest.
The best real-life analogy I can think of is the effect you get when you listen to a peel of church bells. After a while, if you're like me anyway, you become hypnotised and your brain starts to pick out subtle patterns implied by the shifting notes and accents. If you like that, you'll love this music.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A composition that quietly refuses to be 'background music', 27 Aug 2001
This review is from: Reich: Music for 18 Musicians (Audio CD)
Although 'Music for Eighteen Musicians' is a work divided into an opening 'Pulse', ten middle 'Sections' and a closing 'Pulse', it is read by my CD player as one continuous track of about 1 hour in length. Which, indeed, it is.
The 'Pulse' contains the essence of the whole work, which is then elaborated on in the 'Sections' and the piece ends in much the same way as it began.
To label the work 'repetitive' would be an understatement, but also an unfair one. It is in it's repetition of themes and original musical ideas that this admittedly minimal work finds it's strengths.
The fact that the very modern sounding piece is played entirely acoustically, along with the almost unrecognisable (yet sublime) presence of four female voices both contribute greatly to a piece of music which should not be ignored.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The door to the last 30 years, 10 Mar 2008
By 
Ian Shine (England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Reich: Music for 18 Musicians (Audio CD)
When you hear this album, you cannot help but be taken in by its hypnotic building and sequencing of sounds upon and around one another. You also cannot help but notice how much an absolute myriad of artists that have emerged over the last 30 years are in debt to Reich.
From, as other reviews have stated, Eno to Aphex to almost any innovative electronic musician - parallels can be drawn to Reich. A lot of jazz fans will also find huge rewards here. The riffing on a theme that Reich works to perfection is the essence of jazz, be it more traditional work or more avant garde artists, such as Deathprod and Nils Petter Molvaer.
One point to note is that this album really opened up for me after I listened to it on headphones. I'd listened to it a few times through speakers and enjoyed it, but hearing it through headphones enables it to really take control of you for the hour or so of its running time, and its so much more rewarding as a result of this. You can hear so many more of the subtle tonal variations that are worked into the album. As a corollary, 18 Musicians definitely needs to be listened to as a whole. It's a modern symphony, and as such needs to be treated with the respect that is normally reserved for classical artists.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A modern masterpiece, 7 Jan 2008
This review is from: Reich: Music for 18 Musicians (Audio CD)
This was played to our class by our enlightened music master when I was a 14 year old schoolboy. I did not rediscover the work until I was in my 30s.

The intricate pattern of sounds Reich creates will repel some, but weave a sonic web around those who are prepared to listen and absorb. The subtle shifts in rhythmic and harmonic themes are fascinating, a bit like walking through a huge muted kaleidoscope of sound that changes in increments. I find it impossible not to sing or tap along, even hours after the CD is finished. It is never monotonous, just rewarding each time.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding -- the definitive five-star album, 10 April 2010
By 
Gavin Wilson - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Reich: Music for 18 Musicians (Audio CD)
There was something about the later phase of the 1970s that encouraged the creation of three progressive masterpieces consisting of at most two tracks: Tangerine Dream's RICOCHET, Steve Reich's MUSIC FOR 18 MUSICIANS, and Keith Jarrett's SURVIVORS SUITE. I own over 2,000 CDs, and I would unreservedly place all three of the albums in my Top 10.

I cannot add much to what other reviewers here have written about '18'. It is the most hypnotic piece of music I know. Despite its age, this is much the best recording. The audio separation of the instruments -- particularly the bass woodwind and the piano -- is distinctly superior to the Nonesuch version, for which I had such high hopes, only to be dashed by the slurry that emerged.

That ECM have produced it as a single track may infuriate MP3 rippers and home movie producers wishing to use an extract as a backing track for their video. And I have some sympathy for the view that listening to the whole lot in one sitting can prove wearing. You'll just have to work around this limitation. '18' is a brilliant album in so many contexts: listen to it in the car, or while you're working, or even to drive your parents away -- it's now 32 years since my Mum first complained about this repetitive music I was playing in my bedroom; and it still makes her mad!

You have to get this particular CD. No serious modern music collection can be without it.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genius, 19 Jan 2003
By 
Paolo (Bristol, UK) - See all my reviews
For the past few days, I have been playing '18' to my parents, trying to explain to them why it is not all the same. Needless to say, so-called 'minimalism' ( which Reich does not fit into anyway ) is a hard idea to teach a pair of completely non-musical middle-aged Led Zeppelin fans. But '18' is the perfect place to start, and this version - 11 minutes longer than the original but still performed by Reich and his ensemble - does it the credit it deserves.
The first section states the harmonies of the 11-chord theme which is used throughout the piece and treated in various different ways. From the very beginning you know that this is going to be a fantastic piece, because the harmonies themselves shimmer and float around you. They make you see sense in the passage from the booklet enclosed, that it evokes non-Western music, classical music and jazz without sounding like any of them.
There is so much contrast in '18' that I never tire of listening to it. There is always so much going on, and the texture is so varied that even my parents realised that it was more than a load of chords. It was a type of polyphony that has never been equalled - even by Reich himself.
This has to be the perfect introduction to Reich, being his best piece, and it is wonderful in any situation. Either background music, music to meditate to, or read to etc etc etc. But it is simply genius.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ahead of its time., 22 Dec 2001
This review is from: Reich: Music for 18 Musicians (Audio CD)
I have only recently discovered the work of Steve Reich and his importance in modern music cannot be underestimated.
This is one of the most accessible of his works and is hauntingly repetitive and very beautiful. Reich has preempted techno and ambient music and his influence on modern electronic music cannot be underestimated.
Buy this CD and allow its magic to overwhelm you.
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