TERRY RILEY: Dorian Reeds (for Brass) – Matt Starling, Flugelhorn & computers – DVD-A

TERRY RILEY: Dorian Reeds (for Brass) – Matt Starling, Flugelhorn & computers – DVD-Audio 96K/24-bit stereo (no #), 42:24 ***1/2:

This was a 1964 work by Terry Riley, quite different from his 1968 big hit of A Rainbow in Curved Air (Columbia), and clearly outdoing even the familiar repetition of Steve Reich in this work which at the time he did using a sax, mic and two tape recorders, with the tape strung out across the room to get a delay from one recorder to the other. Riley has been a genius at pulling together strands of Eastern music, the avant-garde and jazz.  He has been a leader in minimalism and this work most certainly is that. He likes to improvise thru a series of modal figures in various lengths, and this one uses the Dorian mode – hence its name.

The piece has been done before using a soprano sax, but Starling wanted to do it on Flugelhorn. Starling used the more modern and more easily-controlled computers to create his recording, which was realized as a studio project rather than a live performance as Riley usually did. He created many modules and ended up using the best 10% or so to piece together for this recording. The computers emulated the tape loop process which Riley had originally used.  The hi-res recording highlights the subtle changes in the sounds better than a standard CD would do, but it was still a bit too much minimalism for me. Starling not only played the Flugelhorn, but was also editor, arranger, recording engineer, mixer and mastering engineer for this recording.

—John Sunier

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