- Audio CD (21 Aug. 2012)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Import
- ASIN: B0000024QA
- Other Editions: Audio CD | MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 23,464 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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Rainbow In Curved Air / Poppy Nogood
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Terry Riley: A Rainbow In Curved Air; Poppy Nogood and the Phantom Band
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Riley is one of the granddaddies of Minimalism. His early music, In C and the two works on this disc, brought to light the musical possibilities of rapid-fire notation and shifting sonic textures to a new form of music. Riley has done this primarily through electronic keyboards and computer technology. The composer plays all the instruments on this extraordinary disc: electric organ, electric harpsichord, "rocksichord," dumbec, tambourine, and soprano saxophone. The music is spooky and hypnotic and is an early masterpiece in the genre. It belongs in the collections of anyone interested in late 20th century American music. --Paul Cook
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'Rainbow in Curved Air' starts with a repetitive little Hammond organ riff (and that Hammond organ sound is so rich and glorious), slowly slipping into tape loops, but then a manic keyboard comes over the top, almost jamming over the insistent riff underneath. Slowly the layers build up, the complexity slipping in an almost Steve Reichian way. Listening to it on headphones - and, yes, you do listen to it: it's not ambient - it always feels to me like a direct brain massage, fingers gently kneading my grey stuff, and it's beautiful. Somehow, it's quite insistent, but only apparently repetitive - there is so much going on.
Then, 'Popply Nogood and the Phantom Band': pretty much in the same vein, but using tape loops far more obviously, as what sounds like soprano saxophones slip and slide over each other, with an underlying organ drone. Slowly, the drone builds as the saxophone loops suddenly jump in pitch, sounds like he just speeded up the tape loops (almost reminiscent of that notorious but classic NEU! album, where they just played the same track at different speeds, having run out of money to record anything else). Then the organ comes right to the front, and hits the floor in pitch, the saxs fading out, to come back in building up the loops again. Technically, it almost sounds like 'No Pussyfooting' only several years earlier.
If you listen out for it, you can hear parts of this album in the first series of The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - so it's not just influenced the music scene. Terry Riley was certainly an early proponent of minimalist or process music - another famous piece is 'In C', specifically designed/written for not very good musicians, a direct revolt against the obsessive complexity of Stockhausen et al.
Friend of mine told me that he saw Terry Riley in concert once; when he left the stage, he left the tape machines running, and Soft Machine came on, their set slowly emerging from Terry Riley's. Maybe apocryphal, but a nice touch.
I think maybe those tape loops are still running...
The morale of this small story is that the music is something that is not heard often, but that it for some shapes the future. It was the first electronic piece that I know that I have heard (excluding "popcorn") and it was a direct inspirator for listening in to some even more advanced pieces of music.
I call the music ambient - and that is true, as the music is flowing and intonating with a form but without a solid theme. "Rainbow" is not trance music, but more demanding.
I also call the music daring, referring to the point in time where it arrived. And then again - it was all so psykodelic then. Perhaps it was daring for us, not wanting to listen exclusively to Manfred Mann or Beatles. Well...
The music is classical electronica. It should be a must-listen.
My only regret in buying this CD, is that I should have bought the Rainbow in Curved Air Album many years before I did.
Turn off the lights. Light some incense. And then drift away on a time journey to back when this piece first was heard.