Steve Reich’s exploration of rhythm and phase take on special meaning in the age of ubiquitous electronic instruments. What started with clapping, with pianos and marimbas, and tape loops doubles now as a way of thinking about machine rhythm, too. Hearing Reich on Game Boys here isn’t just a novelty. It feels like a real re-instrumentation – Wendy Carlos’ Switched on Bach approach for the Mario Bros. generation. Listen & watch (it’s all live):

Some specs:

Piano Phase. The original Reich score comes from 1967. It’s a transcription in the opposite direction – the first attempt by Reich to take phasing effects from tape loops (saying “it’s gonna rain” or “come out to show them”) on a live performance on acoustic instruments.

Game Boy micro. A tiny Game Boy from 2005. It’s roughly similar to the Game Boy Advance (SP) in specs. But since it’s able to run cartridges, it can use —

Nanoloop. Specifically, Nanoloop 2. I always admired Nanoloop as it isn’t another “tracker,” exactly – it’s a sequencing instrument imagined specifically for the Nintendo platform.

And this is another production of Pselodux, aka one Rob Curulli, whose wonderful music on live little automata we enjoyed earlier this week.

He’s got a tour on the way, which I suppose means for anyone who wants to listen, he’s gonna come out to show them.

And more on Bandcamp:

  • PaulDavisTheFirst

    he’s gonna come out to show them.

    bravo, sir!

  • PaulDavisTheFirst

    It is simultaneously amazing and yet utterly predictable that this rather simple performance methodology ends up generating the exact same musical/auditory effects as the piano (or marimba) version. Quite wonderful.

    If you like re-instrumentations of Reich, and have never checked out “Shift (From the music of Steve Reich)” by Chris Hughes, then do so ASAP.

  • LLCoolJeans

    dope, thanks for sharing

  • ImHereToDisqus

    I’d rather hear it actually played live with instruments, though a TB303 could sound nice. This to me sounds like a silly toy.