Steve Reich Megathread

If you don’t know Steve Reich (pronounced reish, not rike), you should! He’s one of the founding fathers of minimalism. This is one of his stranger pieces I’ve seen, but I figured those who appreciate odd electronic music would love how primitive and visceral it is.

If you’re unfamiliar with Steve Reich, this is a great place to start below:

Made in 1965, this piece above uses a clip of a street preacher, isolating “It’s gonna rain!” and repeating it over and over again, eventually phasing into stereo with one going slower than the other, drifting apart into rhythmic phasing and semantic satiation.

This phasing would become Reich’s calling card, especially in later pieces like the notoriously simple yet nearly impossible to play Piano Phase piece.

If you look closely at these players, they are sweating BULLETS to try to stay together and play the piece correctly. You could learn how to play the basic line in maybe 10 minutes, even if you were new to piano. But imagine very, very smoothly playing this over and over again drifting apart ever so slightly from a partner.

Here’s a version of the same piece played on modular with an ER-101 guiding it.

I know that pieces like this must’ve been a huge influence on this great modern band Dawn of MIDI who, like Reich, try to replicate the sounds typically thought only possible with computer-aided composition.

Post your favorite Reich and Reich-inspired pieces below!


I love Steve Reich. I put together a track in Audulus a couple years ago inspired by some of his phase stuff. I believe it was performed in one take with a MIDI keyboard. Audulus 2, even. :slight_smile:


An oldie but goodie!

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One of my favorites:


Music for 18 Musicians is one of my all-time favorites. One of my most beloved vinyl records.

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I recently saw this two-part BBC documentary about Steve Reich (and the whole minimalist movement), it was pretty interesting:

While watching the documentary I realised how much influence it must’ve had on all the repetitive electronic genres that arose in later years. I’m a big fan of Detroit/Berlin techno and I like to think that the early pioneers of that genre (The Belleville Three, Jeff Mills, Robert Hood etc.) must’ve been influenced by it someway or another.

Last year Steve Reich performed at the Dekmantel Festival preshow and I still regret missing that: