Stats for this track
In 2 Sets
- 12 Tracks, 55.59
Electric Counterpoint composed by Steve Reich (1987).
Recorded at ANU Big Band Room - 2007.06.18
Backing tracks recorded at the Australian National University, April-June 2007.
Program Notes from the performance:
Reich has written three ‘Counterpoint’ pieces, each of which are written for one instrument accompanied by pre-recorded tape of the same or very similar instruments. Reich creates structures of repetitions of patterns; one phrase enters and establishes itself, then another enters, but offset by 2 beats, and another, this time offset by 3 and a half beats from the original. In this way, Reich explores the relationships of the notes within the one pattern, not only rhythmically but also harmonically by adding patterns in the same rhythm but transposed in pitch.
This piece was originally written for guitar (with electric bass) and first recorded by Pat Metheny in 1987 with consultation from Reich, most performances use Metheny’s tape part or are by an ensemble. My version required no transcription since the guitar and bass parts fit within the concert marimba’s range. I recorded the tape part in sections over a period of about 5 weeks and was assisted in post-production and the live sound by Niven Stines.
The impression I want to convey with this piece is of an all encompassing beautiful sound, contrasted with incessant, confusing rhythm that assaults conventional musical sensibilities. The use of marimba is perfect in this context. The deep bass affects not just the ears but the whole body and the high register brings out the clean precise melodies.
This juxtaposition conveys the theme of the piece – counterpoint – but it is also expressed in other ways. The grandest is the relationship between the three sections, labelled fast, slow, and fast, one of the smallest is the ambiguity of the time signature towards the end of the work.