Jogging to Steve Reich

December 15, 2009

See the gulls fight the wind. See their heads bob in and out of the water. See the smoke snaking and curling out of the rooftop of a remote building across the canal. The morning joggers. The sun sparkling across the rippled water. The quivering of the sparse leaves on the poplar trees, the cars rolling up the cobblestone streets, the denizens going about their business.
See the Monday morning unfold in front of you, willy nilly yet all perfectly in sync. Nothing appears out of time, off-kilter, or random. It all has a purpose, it is all linked, all orchestrated, synchronized, and arranged when awash in the vibrant sonic patina of Steve Reich‘s music. It’s overwhelming, too much too much…AAAHH!! No need for drugs.

Reich’s filmic music elicits the beauty from the banal by making it all seem so oddly, strangely, beautifully, rhythmically connected. I stared out upon the sun-drenched canal in the 19th in Paris this cold winter morning marveling at the majestic-mundane, making as if stretching post-jog but really just beholding creation tethered together by this beauteous music for six pianos. The phasing of the pianos is likely what tricks the mind into perceiving anything visually in motion to be not only in sync with the music, but occasionally even with the other mobile elements around it. I suppose one could ask a neuroscientist why this might be, but for me it is an indicator that Reich’s music contains within it incredible artistic and intellectual power. That it caused this ruffled morning jogger to have an enlightened, spiritual experience is proof enough.

Warning: long track ahead. I sometimes only listen in little snippets or else I go a little googly eyed.

Six Pianos – Steve Reich


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