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  • Terry Riley: Music For The Gift; Bird of Paradise; Mescalin Mix
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Terry Riley: Music For The Gift; Bird of Paradise; Mescalin Mix


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Audio CD, October 16, 2007
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Product Details

  • Performer: George Solano, La Monte Young, Luis Fuentes, Chesney ("Chet") Baker, John Graham, et al.
  • Composer: Terry Riley
  • Audio CD (October 16, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Elision Fields
  • ASIN: B00004UD4Q
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #718,338 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. [Part 1]
2. [Part 2]
3. [Part 3]
4. [Part 4]
5. [Part 5]
6. [Part 1]
7. [Part 2]
8. [Part 3]
9. [Part 4]
10. [Part 5]
11. Mescalin Mix, tape collage
12. Concert, for 2 pianos & 5 tape recorders

Editorial Reviews

This is the kick-off CD in the Terry Riley Archive Series sponsored by the Cortical Foundation label under their new imprint, Organ of Corti. This CD brings together four important early tape works by Riley and reveals how deeply he influenced so much of the tape-delay, cut-and-splice method of music creation begun in the late '60s. "The Gift" is the work that opens the album, a jazz piece performed by Chet Baker with his quartet, and featuring tape manipulations by Riley using a delay mechanism through two looped tape recorders. All of it performed live for French radio. Over five sections the jazz quartet is eventually displaced and becomes part of a unit of sound that repeats itself, over and over again, whether it be the trumpet, a vocal, or the rhythm section, creating -- unintentionally, of course -- the precursor to the work that would become "In C," and create the entire minimalist movement. "Bird of Paradise" is an early example of "plunderphonics," with heavy R&B soul jams, pop tunes, classical music, and who knows what else cut and looped with noise and effects, making them nearly unrecognizable by playing with different speeds and sonorities. Riley made something truly original. When it can be found, the groove itself becomes infectious, but just as it does, it is transformed into something else. Steve Reich used this method later to great effect on "It's Gonna Rain" and other recordings from the period. "Mescalin Mix" was inspired in part by John Cage's "Fontana Mix," Riley's own experiments with mescaline, and his work with Richard Maxfield. It was created over two years (1960-1962), using tape loops that would extend out Riley's window into the yard to a wine bottle spindle. This very piece, which is the single strangest piece of "music" he ever created, was used by choreographer Ann Halprin's legendary work "The Three-Legged Stool," and was added onto later by collaborations from many other composers and artists including Morton Subotnick. Finally the seminal "Concert for Two Pianos and Five Tape Recorders" is here as it was recorded at its premier at Hertz Hall in Berkeley, CA, in 1960 with an outrageously funny play-by-play broadcast narrative. The narrator confesses he knows less than nothing about Riley or the composition. He explains that there is improvisation in the piece but has no idea how it works and explains how it might work and is then appalled at how weird it all is in sum. This is an amazing collection and a truly awesome way to start off an archive series by one of the world's most original and prolific voices. ~ Thom Jurek, All Music Guide

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Speedy VINE VOICE on February 16, 2006
Format: Audio CD
i've had the time to really dig into this cd and i am still amazed at these early experiments.Most of them are done from recordings made by a mid sixties Chet Baker (!) and his group. And Riley then starts messing around with these recordings sending Baker to a whole different plateau. There are other tracks which are equally interesting and more in the nature of later works. Overall, a one-of-a-kind experience.Recommended to searchers of original avant, recording experimentation and jazz.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ronald Gold on July 1, 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I bow to no one as a Terry Riley admirer, but I find it hard to cotton to these 1960's pre-minimalist experiments in tape manipulation. Frankly, with the exception of The Gift, a brilliant collaboration with jazz trumpeter Chet Baker, it's thumbs down from me for this disc. If you're a Riley fanatic like I am, you'll want all his recordings, but if you're just getting to know him, I wouldn't start here.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By MC on May 13, 2011
Format: Audio CD
"Mescalin Mix" (1960-1962) and "Bird of Paradise" (1965) are both tape collage/assemblage/manipulation pieces firmly rooted in the conceptual traditions of Musique Concrète but pushed in new directions due to conscious decisions on Riley's part. For "Mescalin Mix," rather than just simply assembling gathered sounds, Riley had a plan for the sounds he desired--whether it be a girl's laughter or a blues piano riff (which he would play himself). When it came time to cut tape though the lengths were estimated using crude measuring techniques which retained a sense of arbitrariness in the piece. Another noteworthy technique used was the hand-manipulation of tape speed which Riley found interesting when used on spoken words. "Bird of Paradise" differs in that it plays with some pre-existing recorded (commercial?--I couldn't make out any specifics) music which makes it seem more rhythmic (initially at least, compared to "Mescalin Mix") and immediately brings to mind contemporary sampling (plunderphonics, mashups...). In addition to the occasional audible splice, both pieces suffer from the to-be-expected degradation/noise that is customary to several generations of tape manipulations (cutting, copying, looping, etc.) on, Riley's admittedly, low-tech equipment. Riley credits these experimental textures, the inherent low-fi nature of the piece and his tactile approach to cutting and measuring in giving Mescalin Mix a more "folk art," even relaxing, dreamy quality rather than the sterile, mechanical studio work one might expect.

The highlight on this CD though is "Music for the Gift" (1963). It seems that a bit of luck, timing and serendipity made possible the collaboration between Riley, Chet Baker and a playwright named Ken Dewey.
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