Sunday, October 7, 2012

It is tempting to say that no greater proof of the exhaustion of the concept of the remix  could be found than the news that Nineties dude Beck has been working with Philip Glass on an album of remixes of the latter's work.

But hey, for all I know the versions (by the likes of Amon Tobin, Tyondai Braxton et al) are just brilliant. Maybe this record will defy the fate of all previous "Icon Gets Remixed by Admiring Descendants" albums that now clutter the bargain basements of M&VE and its equivalents worldwide.

Unmentioned in that piece is the fact that Glass himself did a club remix -- S'Express's "Hey Music Lover"-- back in 1989. "The Glass Cut" came about because a friend of Mark Moore's--journalist Louise Gray--had become friends with Glass. Gray was one of the original Shoom acieeed crew but also a long time fan of Minimalism and that whole New Music / New York downtown zone, and she spotted the affinities (repetition, trance, euphony, pulses, etc) between Glass/Reich/et al and house music very early.

A historical bridge between the two realms -- downtown minimalism and downtown postdisco-protohouse -- occurred earlier in the form of Arthur Russell. Who does crop up in the article as having effectively remixed a piece by Glass to the point where it became a new composition:

Glass: "I was doing a theater piece for the Mabou Mines, it was some Beckett piece, and I wrote him a cello piece, and he liked the work and was playing it. And I came back about three months later, and I heard it and I said, “Arthur, that’s beautiful, but what happened to the piece?” And he said, “No, no, that is what you wrote,” and I said, “Arthur, it’s no longer what I wrote, it’s your piece now.” And he thought I was being upset, he apologized and I said, “No, no, no, I think we should put you down as the composer.” He had reached the point of transformation. The incremental changes had turned it into this other thing. I love the fact that he did that."

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