Terry Riley In C (2017)

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Terry Riley In C (2017)

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1.Raga Bihag Alap 	04:00
2.Cells 1 – 8	 08:49
3.Cells 9 – 11		03:45
4.Cells 12 – 13		03:01
5.Cells 14 - 16 		04:08
6.Cells 17 - 21 		07:56
7.Cells 22 – 27		 07:30
8.Cells 28 - 34 		11:49
9.Cells 35 - 41 		06:24
10.Cells 42 – 47		09:29
11.Cell 48	 03:07
12.Cells 49 - 53 (Jhalla)		 04:55

Brooklyn Raga Massive (BRM):
Neel Murgai - Sitar & Vocal
Arun Ramamurthy - Violin
Andrew Shantz - Vocal
Josh Geisler - Bansuri
Sameer Gupta - Tabla
Roshni Samlal - Tabla
Eric Fraser - Bansuri
Timothy Hill - Vocal
Trina Basu - Violin
Ken Shoji - Violin
Kane Mathis - Oud
Adam Malouf - Cello
Michael Gam - Bass
Lauren Crump - Cajon
David Ellenbogen - Guitar
Maz ZT - Hammered Dulcimer
Vin Scialla - Riq & Frame Drum
Aaron Shragge - Dragon Mouth Trumpet


Brooklyn Raga Massive (BRM), a collective of forward thinking musicians rooted in Indian classical music, release Terry Riley In C recorded live in concert with 18 musicians at Joe’s Pub on January 11, 2017. Indian classical music is often a lonely affair involving 3 or 4 musicians at most. Sitarist Neel Murgai identified the canonic minimalist masterpiece as an accessible way for a critical mass of BRM musicians to play together. Terry Riley himself, after listening to an early performance recording, suggested they “use the basic In C form but open it up to solos...based on some of the patterns.” BRM’s arrangement of In C incorporates raga, Indian ornamentation, driving tabla rhythms, improvised solos and an instrumentation of sitar, sarod, bansuri, vocals, tabla, hammered dulcimer, oud, violin, cello, upright bass, dragon mouth trumpet, guitar, cajon, riq and frame drum.

Terry Riley composed In C in 1964, but this release marks the first time it has been performed and recorded by a group featuring so many Indian classical musicians and raga elements. The piece’s basic structure consists of 53 cells of music for any instrumentation, short fragments that each performer repeats, displaces and moves through at their own will. Terry Riley is a long time practitioner of Indian classical vocal music, having studied with Pandit Pran Nath, but he confirmed that “I have never heard an ensemble like this playing In C.” BRM brings the composition full circle with this unique rendition.

BRM performs and presents over 70 concerts annually including an ongoing weekly concert and jam session at venues including Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Celebrate Brooklyn, Pioneer Works, MOMA, Rubin Museum and more.Their extensive repertoire includes Terry Riley’s In C, a Coltrane Raga Tribute, Indian classical and original works by various members of the collective. BRM is a 501 c3 Non-profit run by musicians for musicians dedicated to spreading raga inspired music across the globe. This is BRM’s first release with Northern Spy Records, and the first time the group’s work will be available on CD. --- bkragamassive.bandcamp.com


Terry Riley would certainly bristle at the idea of there being a "definitive" version of In C, since it was created with the intention of having an infinite number interpretive possibilities, but this version, a reissue of the original Columbia recording, led by the composer, has a certain authority since it was the means by which the piece was introduced to a broad public and it paved the way for the biggest revolution in classical composition in the second half of the twentieth century. It has the hallmarks that came to define musical minimalism: triadic harmony, a slow rate of harmonic change, a steady pulse, and the use of repetitive patterns. In this performance, it has a shiny, almost metallic brightness and a visceral energy that immediately set it apart from the intellectually rigorous and austere trends in the new music establishment of the 1960s. The performance, by members of the Center of the Creative and Performing Arts of SUNY Buffalo, is disciplined, staying within the parameters Riley prescribes, but is also freely inventive, taking advantage of the opportunities Riley gives the performers for creative self-expression. The result sounds spontaneous but assured, never chaotic or capricious. The ensemble understood and had rehearsed the piece thoroughly, performing it at Carnegie Hall not long before this recording was made in 1968, when the piece was already four years old. For listeners with a sympathy for minimalism, the energy of this performance can be a wild and exhilarating ride, and it will be a nostalgic trip for anyone who knew it in its earlier incarnations on LP or cassette tape. ---Stephen Eddins, AllMusic Review


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