Terry Riley - Descending Moonshine Dervishes / Songs For The Ten Voices
Of The Two Prophets (Beacon Sound)
It would be impossible to overstate Terry Riley's impact on experimental music. He is largely seen as the “father of minimalism,” and rightfully so, as his work predates almost any other widely distributed experimental music classified as such. Some of the other major contributors to “minimalism” reject the term, seeing their work based on heavy repetition and focus as a more maximalist approach than a minimal one. This kind of music was birthed out of 1960's New York and was at one time referred to as “The New York Hypnotic School”. Now, this is a term that I feel more accurately describes the music of Terry Riley, and certainly the music on Beacon Sound’s latest reissues of Descending Moonshine Dervishes and Songs For The Ten Voices Of The Two Prophets. Arguably, Riley's most famous works are In C and A Rainbow In Curved Air; the former showcasing a larger ensemble and the later demonstrating his modified organ playing and delay techniques.
Descending Moonshine Dervishes nicely recalls the work of A Rainbow In Curved Air but it's meditative properties stretch further into the cosmos than the layered approach of Rainbow. This record was recorded live in 1975 and from a technical standpoint, it's beyond impressive that what you are hearing comes from one man in real time. The result of the piece is a psychic spiral from the inside out. Songs For The Ten Voices Of The Two Prophets serves as a great counterpoint to Moonshine and can almost function as a comedown from the spiral spun out by Riley on the previous album. Again, it is recorded live but this time it's in 1982 and the tonal palette is now two Prophet Synthesizers and Riley's own vocals. Tranquility is what comes to mind immediately with his vocal / raga approach and synth recalling Eastern music that certainly influenced Riley since the beginning of his career. His trademark pulsating organ has been momentarily traded for floating synthetic melodies lending itself nicely to late night listening. I myself have ended the last few days with these two records and I strongly suggest you do the same. Both limited to 500 copies. (Adam)
Check out tracks here and here.