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Terry Riley - A Rainbow In Curved Air CD (album) cover


Terry Riley


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4.32 | 62 ratings

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Easy Money
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Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars It has been more than forty years since this record was released and modern electronic music still has not moved much further than the parameters laid down by this definitive album. Before there was Klause Schultze, Edgar Froese, Kraftwerk, Giorgio Moroder, Brian Eno, acid house and trance there was Terry Riley and his desire to perform classical Indian music on modern electronic instruments. Within the first few minutes of side one (A Rainbow in Curved Air) the future of electronic music is spelled out in pulsing modal eighth notes topped with squiggly sitar like sixteenth notes that will become the soundtrack for 70s German rock experimentalists and an entire rave generation in the 90s. On side two (Poppy Nogood and the Phantom Band) Riley brings us the sustained homogenous sounds that will become known, under the guiding hands of Brian Eno, as ambient music. Terry's hyper echoed saxophone lines that enter half way through this side add an electronic avant-jazz flavor that was well imitated by The Soft Machine on their IIIrd album.

Despite its popularity with the hippie generation, the music on this album has aged nicely. The Rainbow side is still one of the finest pieces of tonal electronic music I own, and the Poppy Nogood side is nice too, although the virtuoso saxophone excursions do get tiresome after a while. I prefer Riley's repetitive musical figures on the keyboard more than on the saxophone. Another nice thing about this album is the extensive use of reel to reel tape loop echoes, a beautiful sound in itself.

This is one of the most important albums in recent recorded music history. From Riley's Rainbow the baton will be passed to Miles Davis and his Get Up With It experiments, then to Brian Eno and finally Bill Laswell who will complete the picture by adding Jamaican dubbing techniques to every facet and genre of music possible. From these four human pillars will come post-rock, ambient rock, ambient techno, shoe-gaze, nu jazz, acid jazz, acid house, dub, drumnbass, trip- hop, trance and many more styles still to come.

Easy Money | 4/5 |


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