Within this silly little realm we call reality, Terry Riley is simply one of the most awesome musicians to ever play a note. Every time he touches an instrument or opens his mouth to sing, magic fills the air. Terry came to prominence in the 1960s as an early minimalist with his groundbreaking compostion, In C, and lesser-known but even greater works like Reed Streams, All Night Flight and Olson III. He has remained very active in the music scene throughout every decade since.
On Assassin Reverie, a CD released in 2005, Terry teams up with a sax outfit called the ARTE Quartet, and the results are somehow refined, riotous and raucous all at the same time. First up is a three-section, 20-minute piece called “Uncle Jard.” Part one opens the disc with a very pensive, meditative feeling, full of sax drones and the instantly recognizable presence of Terry, whose raga singing is as deep and resonant as his harpsichord playing. Part two veers in the opposite direction with an upbeat, honky-tonk feel that harks back to the early 1960s, when Terry played ragtime piano at a San Francisco saloon. Part three closes up “Uncle Jard” with a collection of sprightly, minimal sax riffs.
The title track is another sprawler that clocks in at 19 minutes. It starts out mellow with a lot of complex sax interplay that gradually rises into a keening climax, followed by an extended eight-minute noise breakdown full of screaming raspberry skronk, rhythmic echo pounding and sounds from the battlefield. After the violence subsides, a storm of skittering sax appears, then falls back into a mellow melody. I’ve never heard such chaotic music come from the mind of Terry Riley. Not surpsingly, it was composed in 2001, and was inspired by the events of September 11. Closing up the disc is “Tread on the Trail,” which hails from 1965, a year after the premiere of In C, and with its ever-looping, loping horns, it does indeed sound like a version of that piece for sax.
Label: New World Records Catalog Number: 80558-2 Format: CD Packaging: Jewel case Tracks: 5 Total Time: 48:17 Country: United States Released: 2005 More: The Cortical Foundation, Forced Exposure, Last.FM, Lovely Music, New Albion, Official, Other Minds, Wikipedia
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