Wednesday, December 06, 2006

New York Times Reviews Terry Riley Reissue

Last Sunday's New York Times featured a review of Terry Riley's recently reissued Poppy Nogood And The Phantom Band All Night Flight album.

Back From the Archives: A Minimalist Classic and Its Rock Child

Published: December 3, 2006

"Four years after writing “In C,” the composition that amounted to a minimalist manifesto, Terry Riley was playing marathon concerts by himself, using soprano saxophone and organ and tape-delay mechanisms. He recorded a number of them, and released them on LP. One, a show from March 1968 at the State University at Buffalo, billed as “Poppy Nogood and the Phantom Band: Purple Modal Fire Strobe Ecstasy,” became fairly well-known over time but dropped out of print. A new label, Elision Fields, has made it available again, the first of a projected series of discs from Mr. Riley’s archives. (The CD’s title is “Poppy Nogood and the Phantom Band: All Night Flight.”) Mr. Riley’s stamina was amazing. He improvised on saxophone and organ over cumulative tape loops, via one reel of tape and two tape recorders, one set for recording and one set for playback. The sound grows more massed, the pulses and drones bigger, more insistent and polyphonic; and though it is one unbroken piece of music, the CD track markers are set at opportune shifts of action. Here is a musician totally in charge of his material. Though he wasn’t a virtuosic saxophonist, Mr. Riley manipulated the horn cleanly within the parameters of his idea. The music is beautifully executed and, amazingly, never spreads itself too thin..."

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