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Minimal Mix

Steve Reich
Reich Remixed

Technically this release is actually various artists remixing the work of Steve Reich, but after listening to it several times over I realized that there isn't so much remixing going on as augmenting. While I'm not going to knock the different remixers that worked on the project (because I actually like the release quite a bit), I will say for that reason alone I chose to file this under Reichs name instead of as a various artist release. Because Reich helped to pave the way for electronic music, it's only really natural that his work would eventually get the remix treatment, and I think that while there are some nice bits, it could have even worked better had the originals been broken up even more.

That said, the nine tracks and well over and hour of music on this disc is still pretty interesting. There are some bigger names represented and even though sometimes the tracks aren't so much remixed as added-to, it's sometimes just that subtle touch that works quite well. One of such remixes is actually the very first one on the disc by the chop-n-paste duo Coldcut. While one might expect something rather frantic from them, their take on "Music For 18 Musicians" is actually one of the more elegant and simple ones on the release. Instead of adding much of anything that would detract from the beautifully layering of the original, they simply add a bit of electronic sounds and a smooth beat that helps things to flow even more smoothly. While I was admittingly expecting something different from it, it works quite well as it is.

The Howie B remix of "Eight Lines" is unfortunately one of those tracks that doesn't add a whole lot to the original other than some simple drum patterns and besides being overlong, it doesn't really do a whole lot else. It's not horrible by any means, but it just doesn't really go anywhere. The Andrea Parker take on "The Four Sections" is dark and grimy (sounding like an outtake from her Kiss My Arp release) while the Mantronix mix of "Drumming" turns it into an electro-infused scratch fest that's actually quite a lot of fun.

Probably the three standout tracks on the disc (besides the Coldcut) are also some of the longest. The almost 10-minute "Megamix" by Tranquility Bass actually takes different parts from lots of different Reich works (as the title suggests) and turns it into a beautiful electronic symphony of sorts while Nobukazu Takemura contributes a quiet, deconstructed version of "Proverb." DJ Spooky turns "City Life" into an even darker vision of the original by stuttering bits of the original and bouncing them around a claustrophobic space. As I said before, there are really no tracks that are stinkers, but some of them could have done with either a bit more foolery or a slight paring down. If you're a fan of Reich and don't mind hearing his work semi-reinterpreted, this is a good place to check and I know that it has accomplished it's task of also pulling me deeper into the sounds of Reich himself.

Rating: 6.75