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kottke.org posts about Steve Reich

Steve Reich is calling

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 07, 2017

Oh, this is just a little brilliant. Steve Reich is a composer famous for his experimentation with musical looping and phasing. His 1967 piece Piano Phase featured a pair of pianists repetitively performing the same piece at two slightly different tempos, forming a continually evolving musical round. Seth Kranzler took this idea and made a Reich-like piece with two iPhones ringing at slightly different tempos. Here’s a video of the effect in action:

Man, this is nerdy on so many levels and I am here for it.

Update: Here’s a couple more tracks along the same lines: the drum fill from In the Air Tonight and the Amen break.

(via @frank_chimero)

We Work Remotely

The leisurely pace of light speed

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 25, 2017

In a 45-minute video called Riding Light, Alphonse Swinehart animates the journey outward from the Sun to Jupiter from the perspective of a photon of light. The video underscores just how slow light is in comparison to the vast distances it has to cover, even within our own solar system. Light takes 8.5 minutes to travel from the Sun to the Earth, almost 45 minutes to Jupiter, more than 4 years to the nearest star, 100,000 years to the center of our galaxy, 2.5 million years to the nearest large galaxy (Andromeda), and 32 billion years to reach the most remote galaxy ever observed.1 The music is by Steve Reich (Music for 18 Musicians), whose music can also seem sort of endless.

If you’re impatient, you can watch this 3-minute version, sped up by 15 times:

  1. This isn’t strictly true. As I understand it, a photon that just left the Sun will never reach that most remote galaxy.

Piano/Video Phase

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 22, 2014

In 1967, Steve Reich wrote a piece of music called Piano Phase. The piece is performed by two pianists playing the same piece of music at two slightly different speeds. As the piece progresses, the music moves in and out of phase with itself. Classical percussionist David Cossin performed with a duet of Piano with himself to produce a Piano/Video Phase:

Give it 30-90 seconds for the phase shifting to kick in. For those who aren’t so musically inclined, this pendulum phasing video provides a more visual representation of what’s going on:

(via @pieratt)

Update: See also this Piano Phase visualization from Alexander Chen, Rhythm Necklaces, and an animation of Reich’s Clapping Music. (thx, @anotherny, @RianVDM, and everyone who sent in Chen’s piece)

Update: And whoa, here’s Rob Kovacs playing Piano Phase on two pianos:

That seems….difficult.

David Bowie’s Love is Lost (Hello Steve Reich Mix by James Murphy)

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 21, 2013

James Murphy (LCD Soundsystem) remixed David Bowie’s Love is Lost in the style of minimal music composer Steve Reich. Here’s the video for it by Barnaby Roper:

The video is NSFW, although most of the NS-ness is of the watching scrambled Cinemax on your uncle’s cable in 1985 variety (aka datamoshing).

Clapping music

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 04, 2011

Angie Dickinson and Lee Marvin “perform” Steve Reich’s Clapping Music. This is mesmerizing.

(via @sippey)