Quality: 5 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 5 out of 5
I have to admit that this is probably my most listened to of Steve Reich's highly regarded body of minimalist works. While I'm often a sucker for lots of strange instrumentation, I feel like composers in this genre are often at their best when confined to a small selection of instruments. As the track titles explicitly tell you what you'll hear, this music fits that bill.
First off is "Six Marimbas." "Under My Thumb" is one of my favorite Stones songs, so it may be no surprise that I have an affinity for the marimba sound. The track has sort of a jungle-like, monkeys banging around sound. At first it may even seem like a new age song, but where that genre would start slathering on the cheeseball melodies, Reich plunges deeper into the jungle with the relentless marimba rhythms. I'm not quite as big a fan of the second track, but it is still top flight Reich work, with the mallet work once again taking center stage as the other instruments add a variety of color. As good as it is, this one more overtly recalls Reich's seminal Music For 18 Musicians (you should probably go here if you are new to Reich).
This is the kind of music that I can listen to all day. It is wonderful as background music, but really starts to shine brightly if you are willing to give your attention to the myriad of texture and tonal variety.