This is a remix album, plain and simple. However, unlike most remix albums this documents the work of arguably the chief pioneer of remixing, sampling and maybe electronic music in general. Steve Reich started using techniques in the sixties that have become standard fare among many electronica producers today, and this is attributed through the remixes contained on this album. His minimalist beats and out-of-synch riffs have been lovingly and intelligently woven among more modern constructs to form a unique blend of sounds that spans musical generations. Standout tracks include the Ken Ishii remix of "Come Out" and the sub-bass tones of Freq-Nasty and BLIM's rework of "The Desert Music", not forgetting, of course, the awe-inspiring remix of "Proverb" courtesy of Nobakazu Takemura (no, I hadn't heard of him either, but the track in question did feature on a german car manufacturer advert not too long ago, so you should recognise it).
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I feel obliged to contradict the three 5-star reviews here at the time of posting this. This record highlights the gulf between artistic expression and entertainment. There is nothing of interest here if you're not an inveterate clubber. There is no invention. The Reichian source of the samples is irrelevant. To situate this a bit: I enjoy Thomas Koner and Alan Lamb and The Necks, for example; I don't enjoy this record.
I have become a bit of a fan of Steve Reich over the last few years. The apparent simplicity of the music can drive people crazy if they listen in the wrong mood, but it often has a transcendental beauty. A recent radio program commented that some of the most interesting 'Steve Reich' music is currently being released by other people who are reworking his back catalogue. This album is a great example. I had heard of some of the remixers - Takemura is an inspirational musician as well as remixer,(for those who haven't heard of him, try 'Scope', half of which is fantastic, powerful electronica, half just baffling). It was a great pleasure to find that the remixers have not only added a new layer of interest, but frequently made the music more accessible. Early Reich such as 'Its Gonna Rain' can be particularly hard going, but the Megamix makes an extraordinary combination of tracks, overlaying the utterly different, lyrical 'Electric Counterpoint' over the hard, repetitive samples of 'rain' and other tracks, to create something both new and more accessible (although not exactly 'easy listening') . In a more direct way, D Note's version of 'Piano Phase' adds a warmth and richness to an austere original. If you find, as I do, that Reich's music generates virtual music in your head rising over and above the minimal strata he lays down, then this CD allows you to share the inspirations he has generated in others. And if this makes you long for the purity of the originals, you can go back and listen with fresh ears. This CD may not appeal to those who have never heard of Reich and have yet to find a way into minimalism or electronica, but I found it a very enjoyable listen. A 'must-have' for any Steve Reich fan, and perhaps a good way to discover Reich from a contemporary perspective.
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