Terry Riley – A Rainbow In Curved Air
Experimental composer Terry Riley may have got his start playing in piano bars, and writing pattern pieces for jazz ensembles, but his greatest impact was upon the world of electronic music. In particular, his third album: 1969's A Rainbow In Curved Air.
The 40+ minute record is an odyssey of improvised experimental sounds, prominently featuring jazz-inspired modal scales and cues from Indian classical music. (Riley had made frequent trips to India in his youth and fell in love with the country). Through the usage of then-revolutionary overdubbing and tape-looping techniques, Riley was also able to perform every instrument himself on the record, including electric organs, electric harpsichords, a soprano saxophone, and an Indian dumbec.
A Rainbow In Curved Air was a revelation to critics, who heaped praise upon Riley, who had, in essence, invented minimalism as a music genre. The record has been cited as a major influence on the likes of Phillip Glass, Brian Eno, Arthur Russell, Mike Oldfield, Giorgio Moroder, and numerous others, while the distinctly patterned organ lines of The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again" and "Baba O'Riley" were directly inspired by Riley's piece. The repetitious minimalism of Rainbow also was integral to the development of future genres, such as ambient, jazz fusion, new age, progressive rock, and future varieties of electronic music.
More than just a revolutionary record, Rainbow also represented one final burst of sunny, utopian energy, as the dark and dreary 1970s loomed overhead.
A Rainbow In Curved Air
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