Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Bang on a Can: Terry Riley: In C [Cantaloupe, 2001]
In the '60s I loved Riley's gamelan-like semipop breakthrough A Rainbow in Curved Air, dismissing this earlier composition as too tinkly. Since the trippy minimalist lets players determine their own volume and duration, maybe the vibraphone and marimba guys were on the wrong drugs. Thirty-five years later, overall register has dropped, the music signifying loud and electric with comparable instrumentation. The moment that gets me every time comes 15 minutes in, when the cello surges to the front with the force of a Jimmy Page solo--relative force, that is. A-