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Terry Riley

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Terry Riley Songs For The Ten Voices Of The Two Prophets album cover
3.20 | 6 ratings | 1 reviews | 33% 5 stars

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Live, released in 1983

Songs / Tracks Listing

Embroidery 22:09
Eastern Man 11:19
Chorale Of The Blessed Lady 11:23

Line-up / Musicians

Voice, Synthesizer [Prophet 5] - Terry Riley

Releases information

LP/Cassette: Kuckuck KUCK 067 (Germany)

Recorded in concert on May 10, 1982 at Amerika-Haus in Munich

Thanks to snobb for the addition
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TERRY RILEY Songs For The Ten Voices Of The Two Prophets ratings distribution

(6 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(33%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(17%)
Good, but non-essential (50%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

TERRY RILEY Songs For The Ten Voices Of The Two Prophets reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by patrickq
3 stars Songs for the Ten Voices of the Two Prophets was recorded 'live' in 1982, in Munich, but like Riley's other live albums of the time, it doesn't sound like it was performed for an audience. Rather, 'live' indicates a limitation Riley (and/or the sponsor or record company) placed on the performance, that it would not include overdubs.

The first side of the vinyl is occupied by the 22-minute 'Embroidery,' and the second is comprised of two eleven-minute pieces, 'Eastern Man' and 'Chorale of the Blessed Lady,' but the three pieces aren't especially contrasting; in effect, they constitute a single three-section work. Each piece is a recording of Riley's voice and two synthesizers. (I believe that one of the two is set up as a sequencer.) As was the case with parts of Riley's Descending Moonshine Dervishes, released in 1982, Songs for the Ten Voices of the Two Prophets uses what sound like Indian scales or tunings; Riley's vocal teacher was the Indian vocalist Pandit Pran Nath.

But unlikeDescending, much of Songs of the Ten Voices is vocal. I was surprised that a gifted composer such as Riley was also a decent singer. He'd actually sound even better if he wasn't singing in a style that requires notes to be held for so long; it seems that everyone's voice wavers off pitch if given enough of a chance. The lyrics are also better than I'd've guessed (at least those in English). Riley sticks to relatively straightforward observations (of a 'firefly of changing colors,' for example, he sings that it 'never had a chance to leave the ground like this before').

Riley has legitimate connections to a variety of artists on Prog Archives, from those who influenced him, like Miles Davis, to those with whom he collaborated, like John Cale, to those he influenced, like the Who - - among others. So it's great to see him listed here, even if albums like Songs for the Ten Voices of the Two Prophets and Persian Surgery Dervishes don't (yet) have any written reviews. Of course, another reason for the lack of reviews could also be that these albums are difficult to describe.

Songs for the Ten Voices of the Two Prophets is not an album that I'd put on at any party I've ever been to, nor would I crank it up while driving down the highway. But it's a fascinating album to study, and an easy album to appreciate. I'd suggest it to anyone interested in music as art, and to those interested in modern academic composition. It's not rock, but it's definitely progressive.

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