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Baker's Dozen

Harmonic Worlds: Colin Newman's 13 Favourite Albums
Ben Graham , July 17th, 2018 10:09

The Immersion, Wire and Githead founder member chooses a list that goes from minimalism to maximalism, via Steve Reich, LFO and Todd Rundgren, and tells Ben Graham how Britpop was rubbish but The Beatles have never sounded better


Steve Reich - Music For 18 Musicians
I think this is Steve's masterpiece. On my first day on foundation in Winchester, the tutor played everybody 'Piano Phase' and it was the first time I'd heard music like that. It completely blew my mind. The repetition; the shifting; the way those two pianos phased in and out with each other; it's an extraordinary piece of work. And he resolved that through a number of pieces and he came up with Music For 18 Musicians, which was the first large scored piece he'd done. I went to India in the early 80s and I had a very small number of cassettes with me that I could listen to, and that was one of them. I remember sitting on a roof somewhere listening to that and looking up at the sky. It is a kind of cosmic record in a way. I don't know if you have to like Steve Reich to know what that is, in a way. If someone was coming to it and they didn't know that music I don't know what they'd make of it. If you're used to listening to tunes would you just wonder where the tune is? It's all about harmony and rhythm, but it's intensely beautiful.

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