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Terry Riley

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Terry Riley Persian Surgery Dervishes album cover
4.14 | 23 ratings | 1 reviews | 35% 5 stars

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Live, released in 1972

Songs / Tracks Listing

Disc 1 (42:45)
1. Performance One, Part 1 (20:45)
2. Performance One, Part 2 (22:00)

Disc 2 (47:45)
3. Performance Two, Part 1 (25:00)
4. Performance Two, Part 2 (22:45)

Total time 90:30

Line-up / Musicians

- Terry Riley / organ, tape, composer

Releases information

Recorded Live in Los Angeles on 18/04/1971 (disc 1)and in Paris on 24/05/1972 (disc 2)

2xLP Shanti ‎- 83.501/83.502 (1972, France)
2xLP Aguirre Records ‎- SSH04 (2017, Belgium) Remastered by Pieter De Wagter

2xCD Mantra ‎- 642077 (1992, France)

Thanks to snobb for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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TERRY RILEY Persian Surgery Dervishes ratings distribution

(23 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(35%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(57%)
Good, but non-essential (9%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

TERRY RILEY Persian Surgery Dervishes reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by patrickq
4 stars Persian Surgery Dervishes is comprised of four pieces ranging from twenty to twenty-five minutes each. The first two pieces were recorded in Los Angeles on April 18, 1971; the second two in Paris on May 24, 1972.

Part One of the LA performance features Riley performing a repetitive piece on organ, a composition that sounds to me like something Steve Reich would have written. The playing is a little rough early on - - not bad, but it takes away from the mechanical effect. Part Two is a different composition that uses a different organ preset - - and uses a much wider range of octaves - - but in many ways it's similar to the first piece. Both are arpeggiations, as I understand the term, with wide variations in note length and spacing. Part Two is quite a bit more varied, and in places sounds like a classical organ exercise.

For the Paris performance Riley appears to be using a modified or prepared organ, or perhaps its being played through some effect which compresses its dynamic range. In places he seems to be using a sequencer or a tape loop. Compositionally, the Paris pieces are superior to the Los Angeles pieces, but the sound quality is pretty bad. Actually, I was disappointed with the sound of the LA disk, and the Paris one is much worse. It's possible that it's my copy (apparently the 1993 New Tone reissue, downloaded from, but it sounds the same on a YouTube video I listened to. To be fair, both performances are engrossing, so the sound quality isn't as much of a distraction as it might otherwise be.

Both the composition and the performance evolve from good to fantastic over the ninety minutes of Persian Surgery Dervishes. I'd strongly recommend it to fans of Reich or of Klaus Schulze (although Persian Surgery Dervishes doesn't sound anything like Schulze), especially those with a bit of patience and a lot of tolerance for poor sonic reproduction.

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