Quality: 4.5 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4.5 out of 5
Steve Reich is an acknowledged master of modern classical music and his music has no lack of class, but if repetition is not your thing, if repetition is not your thing, if repetition is not your thing, then he may not be your cup of tea. Or his magical music powers may lull you into a trance and convince you that you do love repetition, you do love repetition, you do love repetition. Don't knock it until you've tried it.
This isn't so much a fully conceived album as an anthology of works contemporary to its release. I suppose the main event is the titular suite performed by the renown Kronos Quartet. The varying string parts work quite well on their own in the Reich mold. It's a very different flavor than what they achieve when working with Philip Glass, but no less important. My favorite performance here, however, is the relentless "Electric Guitar Phase." The modus operandi of a phase is that several players of the same instrument repeat the same phrase over and over at slightly different speeds, so that the phase eventually disintigrates, oscillates, and recombines in a myriad of different ways (of course recording overdubs make this far easier). Here we get that for 15 minutes with an absurdly rockin' guitar. At least I see that as a good thing. Following that is the "Music For Large Ensemble,' which on this album by far most recalls Reich's seminal Music For 18 Musicians with its more fleshed out, orchestrated sound. Capping things off is the "Tokyo-Vermont Counterpoint;" basically the same idea as "Electric Guitar Phase" but with marimbas or something like that.
This is a fine release, and probably the best introduction to the sonic world of Reich other than the aforementioned Music For 18 Musicians. If you're a Reich fan already, this one is candy for your Halloween pumpkin, and if you're not familiar with Reich, your musical sensibility requires that you at least give him a try. Those of you that don't like Reich can go to hell (wait,no - that's way too harsh).
Steve Reich - 2001 - Triple Quartet