Philip Glass (with poetry by Samuel M. Johnson) - Knee Play 5 (from Einstein On The Beach), 

Minimalist music is an originally American genre of experimental or Downtown music named in the 1960s based mostly in consonant harmony, steady pulse (if not immobile drones), stasis or gradual transformation, and often reiteration of musical phrases or smaller units such as figuresmotifs, and cells. It may include features such as additive process and phase shifting.

- Wikipedia

Minimalism is one of the weirder areas of music - it’s not ‘classical’ (though there’s a strong classical influence) and it’s not ‘modern’ (though some of the best modern artists have, again, been heavily influenced by it). It’s not for everyone, but for some it’s like nothing else.

So why am I posting it?

Well, I like for you to think of me as your musical education, only more hilarious. You’re welcome.

On a more serious note, it’s also because of the way that music is these days. Music has become so genre-fied, so pidgeonholed and compartmentalised that it’s easy to become trapped in lo-fi indie rock or acoustic folk-pop or marxist post-punk or leftist rap or Austrian baroque or… So break free, then, and listen to something totally different.

You’ve probably heard Philip Glass before without realising; he’s written scores for everything from The Truman Show to The Hours. Arguably the most “listenable” of minimalist composers, he uses a basic chord pattern and loops melodies over the top to make wonderful, soaring music. Einstein On The Beach is an opera, based on the life of Albert Einstein. It’s not an opera in the traditional sense, though; the whole thing lasts about five hours with no interval (though the audience is allowed to come and go as they please), the play includes five “Knee Plays” intended to join the scenes together as a whole. While I’ve only listened to excerpts of the opera, overwhelmingly my favorite piece is the fifth knee play.

It’s weird, yes (counting chants and people talking over each other, anyone?) and yet there’s something profound about the piece - some secret, some piece of knowledge that will only reveal itself through careful listening.

And then the violin kicks in.

It’s odd and it’s different, but it’s also brilliant. And those three words, for me, sums up the best artists and musicians and composers since, well, the start of music. 

Give it a listen. See what you think.

  1. yourperfectsonnet reblogged this from dancing-about-architecture
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  3. michigandergonian reblogged this from deus-ex-musica
  4. civismundisum reblogged this from dancing-about-architecture and added:
    i’m obsessed. and then the johnson text at the end is perfection.
  5. brothelart reblogged this from dancing-about-architecture
  6. ist-ein-traum reblogged this from fuckyeahmusicalscores
  7. playingjax reblogged this from fuckyeahmusicalscores and added:
    i love this song. not my favorite recording (i prefer the one form the complete ‘73 recording, if only because it’s the...
  8. deus-ex-musica reblogged this from fuckyeahmusicalscores and added:
    THIS.
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  10. triboluminiscencia reblogged this from fuckyeahmusicalscores and added:
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  12. thesealhunter said: i love philip glass! i once composed a minimalist piece for school, minimalism is great
  13. dancing-about-architecture posted this