Quality: 5 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 5 out of 5
In terms of electronic music, A Rainbow In Curved Air is part of the basic elemental code. In terms of classical music, it's a touchstone of the minimalist movement that Steve Reich and Philip Glass would devote their careers to. In terms of psychedelic music, this is a damn fine album to trance out to.
The two sides of this album will lull your brain into a perfect trance. This is music where stopping it before it reaches its completion will make you flinch a little bit - like you suddenly ran out of air. In fact, these repetitive, shifting parts truly are a sort of musical air. It will create a temporary and colorful headspace for the attentive listener.
Each album side consists of a single piece, and the construction of them is similar, with a few simple musical phrases repeating, interacting in different ways, and creating an awesome sonic tapestry. The first side, which gives the LP its title, uses several organs, tape loops, and clicking percussive sounds from early synths to produce a lulling tone. This is one of the first albums to create a serious sonic vocabulary that the electronic music genre would later adopt, in terms of both the krautrock pioneers of the 70's and the more modern dance floor tech heads. It's arguably the first serious electronic album and in stark contrast to the easy listening-infected novelty albums that appeared around this time.
The second side, titled "Poppy Nogood And The Phantom Band,' retains the organ as a backdrop, but adds horns to dance on top of that framework. Although similar in construction, it has a little more of a classically-based sound as opposed to the electronic pulse of side one.
If you've got the attention span for this sort of thing, you'll find this to be an album that is both highly influential and extremely listenable. This is pure trance music.
Terry Riley - 1967 - A Rainbow In Curved Air