Friday, April 05, 2002

Steve Reich: WORKS 1965 - 1995, Part V of V

Disc nine of the set contains excerpts from his theatre piece, The Cave which was for a mix of performers, prerecorded voices, and video clips. I really didn't care for the audio portions that I heard -- perhaps the boring sameness of some of the samples is helped by the visuals in the actual production.

Disc ten contained Proverb, Nagoya Marimbas, and City Life, the last one being his most recently recorded work in the set. Proverb was an interesting vocal work that didn't rely on electronic sampling, but I didn't enjoy it as much as The Desert Music. I found City Life to be an interesting piece in the same vein as Different Trains, although for some reason, this work didn't seem as weighty as the earlier one. When listening to the two back to back, I prefer the earlier work, and this one seems to be just more of the same. It's still got some good material in it though.

Overall, I enjoyed listening through this boxed set, although I would strongly recommend taking it in small doses. Reich's early experimental work is interesting because it shows timbral qualities you might not otherwise discover, and his later works are good because he developed his style, and didn't just rely on gimmicky devices to carry the music. If you are a casual listener interested in sampling his work, I'd bypass the boxed set and look for a CD containing some of the works I mentioned, notably Different Trains and The Desert Music.

The End

I watched the movie, Following, last night. It was the first movie made by the director of Memento and tells the story of a writer who picks people at random out of a crowd to follow. Chronology is mixed up and the whole affair is something of an intimate film noir. It's really well-done and almost like a Memento Lite -- with a tricky premise, but one that's not nearly as mindbending as the later movie. The film's in black and white, and just barely over an hour long, so check it out if you liked Memento.

As DVDs get more and more mainstream, more and more rental discs are getting smudged and scratched, simply because most people don't take the time to care for the discs if they don't own them. I've rented three movies in the last month alone with scratches deep enough to cause scene stuttering. Unless rental stores like Blockbuster come up with a way to mass-remove scratches, this year's DVDs will be pretty worthless in the future.

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