Saturday, June 24, 2017

A Rainbow In Curved Airwaves

video
Welcome to the weekend and the latest birthday bash, this time concerning one of my favorite musicians of any stripe.
Last month I tributed the 100th b'day of Lou Harrison, one of the first Western musicians to merge cultural material from non-Western sources with the familiar. Today we continue that concept with another hybridizing heavyweight.
Today we're all about someone who's lived almost as long as that century of time, and who is as responsible as anyone for the integration of North Indian sounds and forms into the Western framework.
Since the early 1960s, he has been a stalwart pioneer, and is responsible for a host of innovations including the first repeating tape delay system, upon which all analog and digital delays are based.
His 1970s LPs, including several of my go-to records of all-time (Persian Surgery Dervishes and Descending Moonshine Dervishes), invented a whole style that became a defining aspect of all subsequent electronic music.
He is responsible for one of the most often-performed pieces of 20th Century Classical music (In C), and has collaborated with a diverse array of luminaries from John Cale to the Kronos Quartet and trumpet/world music visionary Don Cherry.
Arguably the inventor of and guiding force behind the style of Minimalism that's been such a cosmic influence on so much of all the music that's come since, he is indisputably one of the most important and emulated musos of the last half century.
Pete Townshend named one his most famous songs after him, and was operating under his influence primarily when he made the repetitively hypnotic synthesizer intros to several Who tunes. It's sort of impossible to quantify the fingerprints Terry Riley has placed upon the music and the culture of our age.
He turns 82 years young today. I was meaning to blog him on his 80th two years ago, but no matter because he's still going as strong as ever, seemingly immune to age now into his Eighties.
To commemorate the occasion, I have broken out a sort of unofficial, five-concert boxset I concocted in 2010, featuring some of the man's most sonorous and mesmerizing radio sessions. Several feature the aforementioned Don Cherry and one, recorded on TR's 50th birthday in San Francisco 32 years ago today, sees some of his most iconic compositions played by the Kronos Quartet.
Terry Riley
Radio Tapes Remastered
1970-1999

I.
Terry Riley/Don Cherry Quintet
Tambourinen
Copenhagen, Denmark
9.9.1970

01 Untitled I
02 Untitled II
03 Untitled III

Total time: 38:46

Terry Riley - soprano sax on I & III, organ on II, loops
Don Cherry - pocket trumpet, wood drum on II & III
Knud Bjørnøe - flute on I & II, drum on III
Jesper Zeuthen - soprano sax on I, tenor sax & tambourine on II, wooden flute on III
Poul Ehlers - bass on I & II, cello on III

unknown origin FM recording, remastered by EN in 2010

II.
Terry Riley
unknown venue
Köln, Germany
10.1.1974

01 A Rainbow In Curved Air

Total time: 1:03:27

Terry Riley - Yamaha YC-45D organ (modified), delay, loops
unknown origin FM recording, presumably from WDR, taken from the 1992 bootleg CD "Sky View"
remastered by EN in 2010

III.
Terry Riley/Don Cherry Quartet
Grosser Sendesaal des Westdeutschen Rundfunks
Köln, Germany
2.23.1975

01 Descending Moonshine Dervishes
02 Sunrise of the Planetary Dream Collector
03 Untitled

Total time: 40:08

Terry Riley - organ, loops
Don Cherry - trumpet, doussn'gouni
Stein Claeson - violin, electric bass
Bengt Berger - percussion

WDR FM recording of unknown origin, remastered by EN in 2010

IV.
Kronos Quartet + Terry Riley
Great American Music Hall
San Francisco, CA
6.24.1985

01 Sunrise of the Planetary Dream Collector
02 G Song
03 The Wheel/Mythic Birds Waltz
04 Cadenza On the Night Plain
05 Improvisation in just intonation for piano

Total time: 1:41:36
disc break can follow Track 03

David Harrington - violin
John Sherba - violin
Hank Dutt - viola
Joan Jeanrenaud - cello
Terry Riley - piano on Track 05

master soundboard capture remastered by EN, 2010

V.
Terry Riley
"The Dream"
world premiere
Palazzo delle Esposizioni
Rome, Italy
11.20.1999

01 The Dream

Total time: 45:04

Terry Riley - piano

master FM capture, remastered by EN in 2010

all shows zipped together
1.33 GB FLAC here
Outside of Don Cherry's mic trending a bit hot in the (OMG it's so beautiful) 1975 segment, these are all pristine captures that I worked on seven years ago to make the best they could be. The 1985 concert might be a pre-FM, as it's the only one of the set to go all the way up to 20,000 kHz in the spectral analysis, but regardless this is nearly five full hours of Terry Riley doing what he does best, in the company of several other heavyweights.
Anyway I hope this set brightens your weekend reverie, and as it does please give thanks for Terry Riley, born this day in 1935 and mesmerizing our world since 1963! Long may he loop.--J.