Terry Riley’s pioneering work of minimalism “In C” (1964) is a truly elegant and unique composition. Comprising 53 brief musical “cells” lasting anywhere from a half a beat to 32 beats, “In C” can be played by any number of musicians, on any instruments of their choosing. The piece shifts from cell to cell by unspoken collective will, becoming a hypnotic ritual of musical community. “In C” can last anywhere twenty minutes to several hours and beyond. At various moments, “In C” sounds like a cascade of laughing birds, a mountain lake humming to itself, or mating season in a herd of wild pianos. At all points, it is beyond beautiful.
Ghostly International and Wordless Music present the Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble ’s exemplary performance of Terry Riley’s “In C”, recorded live at NYC’s Le Poisson Rouge on November 8th, 2009. The 16-person ensemble—including special guest NY electronic producer/composer Dennis DeSantis on laptop and effects—plays “In C” in a trim 65 minutes, filling the room with pulses, note clusters, and undulating walls of sound. As DeSantis’ electronic noises dance around the periphery, Riley’s masterpiece has never sounded more otherworldly.
This is Ghostly’s first classical release, and the first in a new series of collaborative releases with Wordless Music, a NYC-based organization devoted to the idea that the worlds of classical and contemporary instrumental music share more in common than most might think, pairing artists from the classical and indie/electronic worlds for one-of-a-kind concerts. Past Wordless Music performers include Flying Lotus, Sigur Ros, Nosaj Thing, Four Tet, Beirut, Andrew Bird, and Explosions in the Sky.