For those not in the know, Steve Reich is one of the major so-called “minimalist” composers of the 20th Century; some of his early works of the 1960s focused on compositions made from tape loops falling out of sync or “out of phase” with one another. This includes the seminal works “It’s Gonna Rain” and “Come Out.” For those not in the know, Lieutenant Worf is the son of Mogh, and serves as Chief Security Officer on the Starship Enterprise NCC-1701-D.

Now we know what life would be like if Lt. Worf were also a member of the Reich ensemble. Get ready for some Trekker loop phasing:

YouTube Doubler, via Brian Kane

And yes, before any more of you write in, this is also Orbital’s “Time Becomes.” Though Worf and Steve Reich came first. YouTube, much later. Now itt’s like a geekiness quantum singularity. Be afraid.

  • Ben Clayton

    In case anyone is unaware, this is trying to recreate the intro track on Orbital's brown album. The outro also has some interesting phasing.

  • That's a direct ripoff of Oribital's Time Becomes, the first track on their "Brown Album"…

  • J

    Here in Atlanta, the awesome radio station at Georgia Tech (WREK) has an excellent electronic music program every Wednesday night called The Moebius; they start every installment with the "Time Becomes A Loop" phase/loop.

    The station keeps the last week's worth of all shows online, if you want to listen:

    Lots of good stuff there. I particularly like Friction, which also comes on Wednesday nights.

    PS – I *heart* Steve Reich. Or his music, anyway. Huge influence on my own music. I listen to my copy of "Music for 18 Musicians" all the time…

  • On some level I always hated Orbital (otherwise one of my favorite groups ever) for doing this: taking Reich's concept/discovery, which he had used to create a number of different really effective pieces of music some 25+ years earlier, and not crediting him for it. I know that Reich doesn't have a copyright on tape loops, but it was a shame they never mentioned him anywhere in the album notes, if purely to show their inspiration and direct curious listeners to what are, imho, much more mature works using this technique.

    "It's gonna rain" is a subtly developed and intensely layered composition using a number of different clips recorded by Reich himself on the street. It was culturally and historically relevent to the time, and the development of the manipulation of the tape loops actually said something (other than "look how two out-of-sync tape loops will eventually line up," which is obvious)… the voice (preaching the apocalypse) eventually melts into a mash of sound that implies exactly what he was going on about. It's thrilling!

    If you find this stuff interesting I highly recommend checking out Reich "Early Works," that contains both "It's gonna rain" and "Come out" – as well as "Piano Phase," and "Clapping Music," which demonstrate his first attempt at application of these techniques to instrumental music. His masterpiece from this era was definitely "Drumming" from a few years later – an hour long work on an entire CD that brings all this into culmination.

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  • Luka

    thats a cack.

  • _object.session

    chris: are you sure that orbital was inspired by steve reich? as you said, what's on the orbital album is much less "mature" and really, could have been "discovered" by the members of orbital on their own or anyone who used a computer and digital audio software at that time. (and orbital didn't not realize the effect, i'm sure many other people did.)

    like you said, what reich did was a lot more than what's on this track. (and for people that don't know orbital at all, don't get the idea that this is the pinnacle of their skill. this was just a couple cute tracks to intro and outro their album . . repeating a sample used in their earlier album.) i do second your suggestion of getting a hold of "early works" or just listening to "it's gonna rain".

  • Matt

    Do this with guitars, one playing a riff in 12/8 time, another in 13/8 time, and you've got early 80s King Crimson!

  • If they had never heard Reich's stuff before they made those tracks, that would be pretty impressive. I imagine it might be possible. I sort of imagine that they are CDM readers. Hey Phil and Paul, you there?

    What I find interesting is the music world (myself included, for sure and maybe mistakenly) just automatically assumed that Orbital was influenced by Reich, and as far as I can find, Orbital never argued: For example, the official description of the Brown Album on Amazon is:

    "With Orbital 2, the brothers went to great lengths to show that some of their primary interests lie beyond the dance floor, as influences like Miles Davis and Steve Reich crept into the fragmented, floating arrangements."

    BBC description of Reich:

    "[Reich], American minimalist composer whose use of tape loops and repetition influenced acts as diverse as King Crimson, Orbital and Tangerine Dream.

    melody maker [UK] –

    "For, as well as Eno, Orbital draw on even more highbrow (and consequently less highly regarded in the pop world) figures like Philip Glass and Steven Reich"

    one thing for sure is that if they didn't know about the stuff before they released the album they must have found out about it after…

  • Tim Thompson

    Chris, you are correct in saying that what Orbital does doesn't approach the richness and complexity of what Reich did (not to mention with TAPE!), but I don't think that it should exclude them from doing it! I find it fascinating that things that had "been done" and so were basically out-of-bounds eventually come back around.

    But what I really hope to see is someone who puts the effort and care into that Reich did with "Come Out" or "It's Gonna Rain" into a piece that takes advantage of the possibilities of the digital medium.

  • Quite a lot of dance music artists DO talk very explicitly about being inspired by Steve Reich. And I think there's some value to finding a way to make it danceable, whether it's on the same compositional level or not, inventing what amounts to a folk form in that way.

    I agree with Tim on wanting some new innovation, though. For some reason, the first thought that occurs is a bunch of laptops with phasing amounts of latency. 😉

  • Dan

    There was also Reich Remixed, in case we need more citations of the Reich influence. There's even a stereo delay preset called "Reichy Rhythmic" in Logic.

  • I highly recommend this Piano/Video Phase (excerpt) youtube video.

  • anik

    Very cool! And funny to suggest that it's 'ripping off' the Orbital track that sampled it in the first place! The comments here got me thinking – music critics (especially the non-musicians among them) tend to over-simplify, make false assumptions, and then go on to pronounce them as fact. Any musician with an adventurous mind who's ever played with a sampler discovers this phasing phenomenon. I think the reviewers who heard Orbital and assumed it was a Steve Reich influence simply didn't understand the equipment or the likelihood of musicians in disparate times and places coming up with the same effect when playing with the same toys, but really, it ain't rocket science. I don't know if Orbital was influenced by Steve Reich, but there were a lot of other composers who were playing with the same effect. I heard Neil Rolnick perform his piece 'A Robert Johnson Sampler' sometime in the early 90s at the Music Gallery in Toronto (I think!) and that piece, written in 1990, plays with fragments of audio and phasing in a similar way. At that time, it seemed an old trick to me – my friend and I were doing the same thing with his Emax in 1988. Had I been influenced by Steve Reich? Well, not consciously, and no more so than by John Adams' Shaker Loops' (a brilliant piece of phase music composed in 1978) or by R. Murray Schafer's String Quartet #, composed in 1970…… anik.

  • J

    hmmm…interesting thread, in terms of "were they influenced/should they explicitly recognize it?"

    for one, modern music is largely about recycling things from the past into new contexts, and personally I think it's counter-intuitive to spend all your time telling people which musicians you admire – I would think it's more important to promote your own music…

    that said, anik mentions his friend using his Emax for phasing – it made me realize that I've used that trick many, many times with my SK-1, and while Reich is hugely influential on me, I don't think I've ever thought of him when using the phasing 'trick'…

  • Steve Reich didn't invent phasing. But there are various artists who have specifically cited his influence. (See Reich Remixed, for just one example.) And I think that's productive, honestly, to be inspired by other artists and to talk about it. I have nothing against those who don't talk about their influences, but most musicians are more than happy to talk about the music they love and why it's important to them.

    In fact, the implicit assumption is that there's more to say musically than Reich himself did, that part of the inspiration is the feeling you can take it further. And to me, the connections to other music are just as important as my own work.

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  • YouTube Doubler is Brian Kane {Emergency Broadcast Network}'s site. The clip in question is a little more interesting, and invites more discussion about ownership, sampling and intertextuality, than a mere "rip-off" {sorry if that's a bit Pierre Menard}.

  • Yeah, not to mention inviting discussion about the nature of time. (I saw that episode of Star Trek. You do NOT want to get caught in one of those loops.)

    EBN / Brian Kane is **everywhere**.

    Now, can anyone explain why the Eyebeam people had to go and creator a YouTube *tripler*? (Speaking of, ahem, actual rip-offs.)