Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Steve Reich: Music for 18 Musicians [ECM, 1978]
In which pulsing modules of high-register acoustic sound--the ensemble comprises violin, cello, clarinet, piano, marimbas, xylophone, metallophone, and women's voices--evolve harmonically toward themselves. Very mathematical, yet also very, well, organic--the duration of particular note-pulses is determined by the natural breath rhythms of the musicians--this sounds great in the evening near the sea. I find it uplifting at best, calming at normal, and Muzaky at worst, but as a rock and roller I often get off on repetitions that drive other people crazy. Usually, I should add, these people tend to be nervous anyway. A-