Written in two days following an interminably long bus ride, Terry Riley's breakthrough work In C took the tape loops he and his contemporaries had been experimenting with and transposed their repetition to instruments played with fingers and breath. Tape loops had always had a relatively rough, human edge because they were snipped with razors rather than coded as 1s and 0s, and here the human players build from a simple pulse, cycling through 53 melodic motifs that interlock like cogs, producing a shimmer like the gongs of Balinese gamelan. From the head of In Csprings everything from the cycling roundabouts of Steve Reich and Philip Glass to post-rock like Tortoise.
By Justin Davidson on 05.20.14 in Features
The Bang On A Can co-founder talks about his new album, the challenges of his students' generation, and finding new ways of listening.
By John Schaefer on 04.29.14 in Reviews
Julia Wolfe's masterful meditation on the legend of John Henry was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2010, and it's not hard to see why. Written for the Bang On A Can All-Stars (Wolfe is a co-founder of Bang On A Can)...
By Jayson Greene on 03.30.14 in Features
The Wilco drummer talks about making the leap to composition.
By Kevin Whitehead on 09.13.12 in Six Degrees
It used to be easier to pretend that an album was its own perfectly self-contained artifact. The great records certainly feel that way. But albums are more permeable than solid, their motivations, executions and inspirat...