Terry Riley (b. 1935)

Mescaline Mix (1960-62)

  1. Mescaline Mix (14:22)

    Piano, Tape [Assemblage] – Terry Riley
    Voice – Lynn Palmer, Mike Mack
Recorded in Paris at Radio France

"Mescalin Mix" was inspired in part by John Cage's "Fontana Mix," Riley's own experiments with mescaline, and his work with Richard Maxfield. It was created over two years (1960-1962), using tape loops that would extend out Riley's window into the yard to a wine bottle spindle. This very piece, which is the single strangest piece of "music" he ever created, was used by choreographer Ann Halprin's legendary work "The Three-Legged Stool," and was added onto later by collaborations from many other composers and artists including Morton Subotnick.

Concerto for Two Pianists and Five Tape Recorders (1961)

  1. Concerto for Two Pianists and Five Tape Recorders (7:44)

    Narrator – Glen Glasow
    Piano – La Monte Young
    Piano, Tape [Assemblage] – Terry Riley
Concerto for Two Pianists and Five Tape Recorders (1961) recorded live 1960 Hertz Hall, University California Berkeley

Two Piano Pieces (1963)

  1. Two Piano Pieces (1963)

    From a concert recording made in 1963 and not commercially available, Terry Riley performs his “Two Piano Pieces.” Well known for his seminal minimal, or repetitive music, compositions including “In C,” as well as for his association with the master Indian singer Pandit Pran Nath, Terry Riley is also a virtuosic keyboard player, who supported his composting activities by performing at local piano bars. All these qualities are evident in this short, delightful, and rare recording.

Music For The Gift (1963)

  1. Music for the Gift, Part1 (5:44)
  2. Music for the Gift, Part 2 (1:52)
  3. Music for the Gift, Part 3 (4:35)
  4. Music for the Gift, Part 4 (1:20)
  5. Music for the Gift, Part 5 (6:03)
Recorded in Paris at Radio France.

A jazz piece performed by Chet Baker with his quartet, and featuring tape manipulations by Riley using a delay mechanism through two looped tape recorders. All of it performed live for French radio. Over five sections the jazz quartet is eventually displaced and becomes part of a unit of sound that repeats itself, over and over again, whether it be the trumpet, a vocal, or the rhythm section, creating -- unintentionally, of course -- the precursor to the work that would become "In C," and create the entire minimalist movement.

Untitled Organ (1964-66)

  1. Untitled Organ (20:07)
Untitled Organ 1964-66 is a current section of the keyboard studies that were begun in San Francisco in 1964 and is recorded as performed. Performed and recorded on November 4th and 5th 1966 in Terry Riley's studio, New York City. It was originally released as an LP by Mass Art.

In C (Mantra) (1964-70)

  1. In C (Mantra) (29:28)
Originally released on the LP "Vol 33" by L'Infonie.

Bass Guitar – Seuqcaj "Aleip" Siolav
Guitar – Novy "Gnasbol" Uaedurt
Percussion – Yug Ellepahcal, Yug Niouoht, Erreip Esuleb, Ysengourd Knohr
Performer – L'Infonie
Piano – Erdna Luap
Saxophone – Kcaj Redir, Naej Dramirg, Naej "Cod" Eniatnoferp, Erreip Tluaengiad, Retlaw Uaerduob
Trombone – Yug Rehcir, Naej-Erreip Reitneprac, Nylecoj Cnalbel
Trumpet – Noel Htied, Luoar Yaugud, Sevy Xuopmahc, Sevy Uaennobrahc

Bird Of Paradise (1965)

  1. Bird of Paradise, Part 1 (5:01)
  2. Bird of Paradise, Part 2 (6:34)
  3. Bird of Paradise, Part 3 (4:36)
  4. Bird of Paradise, Part 4 (6:49)
  5. Bird of Paradise, Part 5 (3:44)
Bird of Paradise (1965) recorded in San Francisco at Terry Riley's studio and uses the Junior Walker and his All-Stars song "Shotgun" as its source material.

"Bird of Paradise" is an early example of "plunderphonics," with heavy R&B soul jams, pop tunes, classical music, and who knows what else cut and looped with noise and effects, making them nearly unrecognizable by playing with different speeds and sonorities. Riley made something truly original. When it can be found, the groove itself becomes infectious, but just as it does, it is transformed into something else. Steve Reich used this method later to great effect on "It's Gonna Rain" and other recordings from the period.

Dorian Reeds (1966)

  1. Dorian Reeds (14:56)

Dorian Reeds 1966 is also a live direct tape recording but includes the use of tape recorders as an extension of live performance; it was composed and performed for this cutting. Performed and recorded on November 4th and 5th 1966 in Terry Riley's studio, New York City. It was originally released as an LP by Mass Art.

Olson III (1967)

  1. Olson III (53:57)
Soprano Saxophone – Terry Riley
Orchestra – Nacka Community

Recorded live in concert at the Nacka Auditorium, Stockholm, April 27. 1967

'Recorded live in Stockholm in 1967, this archival release appeared in 1999 to much anticipation, as it represents a vital chapter in the rediscovery of {American minimalism}. Terry Riley premiered this phenomenal work, Olson III, in Sweden -- a 53-minute composition for orchestra, chorus, and his own soprano sax. A Swedish high school orchestra performed his composition with renowned local minimalist composer Folk Rabe at the controls. The music allows a large degree of improvisation in order to create the phase variations that are one of the signatures of Riley's hypnotic music. The delight of the young students indulging in the ecstatic drones of this highly experimental new music is audible in the explosive performance that they give to the piece. Of the archival recordings of Terry Riley that are available from Organ of Corti, this piece comes with a high recommendation, along with the extraordinary Reed Streams.' ~ Skip Jansen, All Music Guide

You're Nogood (1967)

  1. You're Nogood (20:33)
Synthesizer [Moog], Tape [Manipulation], Loops [Tape-loops] – Terry Riley

Terry Riley made "You're No Good" in 1967, but it wasn't released untill 2000. Commissioned by an experimental Philadelphia nightclub, the song is a fantastic, and stunning reworking of the R&B track 'You're No Good' by Harvey Averne. Using Tape Delay and Moog synths, Riley starts the song of as a noice/drone composition, only to come into a more familiar sounding version in which the song is then multiplied and put of against itself using tape manipulation, delay and echo. Near the end, the electronica comes back in to create a song that is drawn between sharp sinustones and a distorted r&b vibe.

Poppy Nogood (1967)

  1. Poppy Nogood (62:25)
Synthesizer [Moog], Tape [Manipulation], Loops [Tape-loops] – Terry Riley

Recorded live at 10 p.m. November 17, 1967 and originally released as an open reel tape as part of SMS No. 3: June 1968 published by The Letter Edged in Black Press.

Reed Streams (1967)

  1. Untitled Organ (20:07)
Untitled Organ 1964-66 is a current section of the keyboard studies that were begun in San Francisco in 1964 and is recorded as performed. Performed and recorded on November 4th and 5th 1966 in Terry Riley's studio, New York City. It was originally released as an LP by Mass Art.

Poppy Nogood And The Phantom Band "All Night Flight" (1968)

  1. All Night Flight, Part 1 (8:21)
  2. All Night Flight, Part 2 (8:57)
  3. All Night Flight, Part 3 (8:30)
  4. All Night Flight, Part 4 (8:25)
  5. All Night Flight, Part 5 (6:07)
Soprano Saxophone, Organ, Effects [Time-lag Accumulator], Liner Notes – Terry Riley

Live recording of "Poppy Nogood and the Phantom Band All Night Flight" from the "Purple Modal Strobe Ecstasy with the Daughters of Destruction All Night Flight" concert at S.U.N.Y, Buffalo, N.Y., March 22, 1968.

An interview with Terry Riley (November 22, 1969)

  1. An interview with Terry Riley (November 22, 1969)

    Charles Amirkhanian talks with composer Terry Riley as well as Robert Ashley and William Maraldo, co-directors of the Mills Center for Contemporary Music, about a concert of RileyŐs and otherŐs music that was to be held at Mills College, on Nov. 16, 1969. Riley describes the intricate rhythm patterns of one of the pieces to be performed by a combination of rock, jazz, and classical musicians, and how their difference in training may effect the timing of the work. The group also discusses the role of theatricality in musical performances, and the need for outdoor, new music festivals to re-energize the field, much as Woodstock did for rock music

Le Secret De La Vie (Lifespan) (1975)

  1. G. Song 3:04
  2. Mice 2:11
  3. Slow Melody In Bhairavi 3:24
  4. In The Summer 6:34
  5. The Oldtimer 2:27
  6. Delay 12:45
Composed By, Arranged By, Performer – Terry Riley Film Producer – Alexander Whitelaw, Jean-Marie Leduc Soundtrack to the film "Lifespan" (aka "Le Secret de la Vie").

Terry Riley and Don Cherry - Live Köln (1975)

  1. Descending Moonshine Dervishes (19:44)
  2. Sunrise Of The Planetary Dream Collector (8:12)
  3. Improvisation (12:34)
Here’s a bootleg of Don Cherry and Terry Riley’s 1975 performance at Cologne. Performing three pieces on synthesizers, Riley leads, interweaving tones to the point of transcendence, while Cherry, on trumpet, gives a meditative focus to the compositions.

Music With Roots in the Aether (1975)

  1. Landscape with Terry Riley (Interview)
  2. The Music of Terry Riley - Shri Camel: Morning Corona

    From Music with Roots in the Aether (1975)

Interview with Terry Riley (June 11, 1983)

  1. Interview with Terry Riley (June 11, 1983)

    Charles Amirkhanian interviews composer Terry Riley at his home in Northern California on June 11, 1983. Riley describes his early childhood experiences with music, his life as a student in San Francisco and his first experimentation with serial and then minimal composition. He goes into great detail about the processes that led to his seminal work "In C". Riley describes his early collaborations with others and his later tendency to work alone. Both Charles and Terry lament the fact that growing up in rural California there was little chance to be exposed to classical music. Riley also discusses his exploration of musical traditions from around the world, and in particular his affinity for Asian and Indian music and Eastern spiritual philosophies. Terry also discusses the influence that Pandit Pran Nath had on his life and music.

World Ear Project: Bullfrogs at Terry Riley's House (June 11, 1983)

  1. World Ear Project: Bullfrogs at Terry Riley's House (June 11, 1983)

    Just goodol bull frogs in their natural percussive ensemble, recorded at Terry Rileys house in Northern California, on June 11, 1983.

No Man's Land (1984)

  1. Jewel Movement 7:00
  2. Medusa's Refrain (Part Two) 8:20
  3. A Spark From The Infinite (Part Two) 4:20
  4. Return From The Dream Collector 2:30
  5. Jaipur Local 6:20
  6. Blue Anthem 3:20
  7. A Spark From The Infinite (Part One) 5:15
  8. Medusa's Refrain (Part One) 4:05
Co-producer, Film Producer – Alain Tanner
Composed By – Terry Riley
Sitar, Tabla – Krishna Bhatt
Synthesizer [Prophet V], Piano, Vocals – Terry Riley
Recorded And Mixed At Aquarius Studios Nov. 1984. Music from the original motion picture soundtrack No Man's Land.

Terry Riley Day: Interview (6/24/1985)

  1. Terry Riley Day: Interview (6/24/1985), Part 1 1'05"
  2. Terry Riley Day: Interview (6/24/1985), Part 2 41'24"

    On June 24, 1985, as part of a fundraising marathon, KPFA-FM celebrated Terry Riley's 50th birthday by dedicating an entire day to his music. Part of those celebrations included this in-studio interview with the composer, in which he discusses his life and work with Charles Amirkhanian, Russ Jennings, and others. Topics covered include just intonation, repetitive or minimal music, and the influence of Indian vocalist Pandit Pran Nath on Riley's music. Listeners called in with heart felt congratulations and questions, as fellow composers Henry Kaiser and John Adams stopped by to pay tribute to one of America's and Northern California's most influential composers. A few musical excerpts of Riley's work are also heard, including a clip from the premiere performance of his seminal work "In C" which is often credited as the first composition written in the minimal or repetitive style that was later adopted by Philip Glass, Steve Reich, and others.

A Concert In Honor of Terry Riley on his 50th Birthday (June 24, 1985)

  1. A Concert In Honor of Terry Riley on his 50th Birthday (June 24, 1985), Part 1
  2. A Concert In Honor of Terry Riley on his 50th Birthday (June 24, 1985), Part 2
  3. A Concert In Honor of Terry Riley on his 50th Birthday (June 24, 1985), Part 3
  4. A Concert In Honor of Terry Riley on his 50th Birthday (June 24, 1985), Part 4
  5. A Concert In Honor of Terry Riley on his 50th Birthday (June 24, 1985), Part 5
  6. A Concert In Honor of Terry Riley on his 50th Birthday (June 24, 1985), Part 6

    In San Francisco in 1964, the world premiere of Terry Riley's "In C" spawned a movement that literally has changed the face of modern music. "In C" was the first popular piece of what has come to be known as minimalist music, consisting of slowly evolving repetitive patterns. Since then, Riley's compositional style has gone through several incarnations. His contribution to modern music has always been a source of stimulation. On his 50th birthday, KPFA honored this important composer by broadcasting a live performance by the Kronos Quartet featuring all of Riley's music for string quartet, a keyboard performance by the composer himself, and a performance of "In C" which included many of the participants from the 1964 premiere.

  1. Terry Riley – The Ethereal Time Shadow (Excerpt) 9:20

    Voice, Synthesizer – Terry Riley

    Terry Riley's composition In C in its first performance in 1964 revolutionized an art form, pioneering the practice of gradual process in Western music. John Rockwell of the New York Times listed it as one of the ten most important compositions of the past two decades. Riley has since carried his ideas about the beauty of melodic development through repetition and slow change into the realm of improvisation. His music, layered and rich, gives the feeling of an entire wind ensemble; its softly twisting, melodic lines weave through space with a style that has been compared to Eastern music. Riley has, in fact, been a devoted student of North Indian master vocalist Pandit Pran Nath since 1970, appearing with him in numerous concerts both on tabla and as a vocal accompanist. As a soloist, he has appeared in many concerts throughout the United States, Europe, Japan and India and has become recognized as one of the leading forces in contemporary World Music. He is best known through his recordings for Columbia Masterworks, In C, Rainbow in Curved Air, and Shri Camel, as well as his recordings for European labels.

    The Ethereal Time Shadow: "In 1980, while teaching at Mills, I received a John Simon Guggenheim grant to make a setting for some of the ecstatic, devotional poems that appear in the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna Parmahansa, the great Bengali saint who lived in the latter part of the 19th century at Dakshineschwar, a marvelous temple complex on the banks of the sacred Ganges river near Calcutta. These poems were sung as Bhajans (devotional songs) by him and his many devotees and musician friends, who would congregate at the temple from time to time.

    I have never heard these particular Bhajans sung in Bengali with their original melodies, but I was struck by the spiritual power of their words even in the English translations. I felt a desire to recreate a setting for these poems and worked on three of them in their English translations: 1) O When Will Dawn That Blessed Day, 2) Remember This, Oh Mind, and 3) O Mother Make Me Mad With Thy Love. I treated both the wording and musical form . in quite an improvised manner, while giving the sections a definite formal outline.

    This is in no way a new raga, but is rather a raga-inspired form which arose naturally, with its particular pitch emphasis caused by the sets of just-tuned intervals I designed for this composition on two Prophet V synthesizers. Of the two synthesizers, one is playing a quite long sequenced program, while the other is used as a solo instrument with extensive utilization of the pitch bend wheel to mix notes and shadow the vocal line." (Terry Riley)

    From Music From Mills (1986)

Terry Riley in UbuWeb Historical
Terry Riley in UbuWeb Film