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Baker's Dozen

In Place: Yann Tiersen's Favourite Albums
Fred Bowler , November 2nd, 2016 09:56

With his ninth album, EUSA, out now, the French composer and multi-instrumentalist takes Fred Jage-Bowler from the Velvets to Bill Callahan via NEU!, Vashti Bunyan and Joanna Newsom on a tour of his favourite records


Steve Reich – The Desert Music
I heard this without being informed about any minimalist theories, I just listened to it as electronic music and was completely blown away. Steve Reich's writing on music is also really interesting, but I wasn't aware of that at the time. Electronic music and minimalism, those are very different ways of approaching music. But it somehow produces similar outcomes. Playing with just a modular synthesiser can sound like a composition by Steve Reich. You just slowly change the oscillators and alter the frequency and put them out of phase or do whatever kind of electronic manipulation. I guess the difference is that someone like Steve Reich was consciously reacting against something, trying to invent something new. His essay, 'Music as a Gradual Process', is really good. I like how he writes about how all this works. In The Desert Music, the direction the composition will take is always clear from the very beginning; it's all very logical and coherent, and so is the development from one piece to the next.