Classical Remix: Steve Reich
by Seth Colter Walls | August 22, 2014
Welcome to Rhapsody's Classical Remix Portal, which you can follow here. In every playlist, we present classical works in their original forms. Then, after each one is over, we give you an upstart musician's rethink.
It's not well known how, before he was a legendary composer in his own right, Steve Reich was the person who introduced the famous eighth-note piano pulse to Terry Riley's "In C" (a piece we looked at previously in the Classical Remix series). It wouldn't be the last time that Reich influenced modern classical music. Or remix culture, either! One of his earliest pieces -- "Come Out," with its phased manipulations of vocal utterance -- was in fact a remix-like piece on its own. Electronic artists such as Coldcut and Four Tet have seen fit to repurpose many of Reich's notable works in the decades since, works like Music for 18 Musicians, Piano Phase, Drumming, and the recent 2x5.
Reich himself isn't done putting his own remix-style spin on other music, either. In early 2013, he presented a new work called Radio Rewrite, which pivots off a couple of Radiohead themes. (He got the idea after the band's guitarist, Jonny Greenwood, started playing Reich's music in public.) But until that piece gets its own recording, you can keep yourself busy with the appended playlist, which gives you a slice of the original Reich in each case, and then one or two enjoyable remixes.