Bad Radio 5: Terry Riley, Part II

Written by on May 12, 2018

Bad Radio is a secret archive of shows devoted to a society of 20th century avant-garde musicians and their influences. The fifth installment looks at Terry Riley.

From 1962-1964 Riley toured Europe, participating in “happenings,” street theater and jazz concerts. While in Europe, he gave his first "All Night Flight" concerts. These were marathon, night-long improvised solo performances for which he played saxophone and keyboards.

In 1964 he moved to New York City to compose and perform. Starting in 1970, along with La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela, he became a disciple of Pandit Pran Nath, the classical Indian vocalist and teacher.

Terry Riley's music has influenced a wide range of musical genres, including rock, pop, dance/trance, and experimental music, as well as 20th and 21st century concert music. His most influential piece is "In C," written in 1964 and first performed by Steve Reich, Jon Gibsom, Pauline Oliveros and Morton Sobotnick.

  • Terry Riley "You're Nogood" from You're Nogood. Terry Riley: Moog, tape manipulation, and tape-loops. Composes November 1967-January 1968. (Note: After attending one of Riley's All Night Flights, the owner of a Philadelphia disco commissioned Riley to compose a theme for his night club. Riley used "You're No Good" by Latin soul vibraphonist Harvey Averne with vocals by Little Anthony and the Imperials' Kenny Seymour.)
  • Terry Riley "Untitled Organ" aka "Keyboard Study No. 2", from Reed Streams. Performed by Riley and recorded November 4 and 5, 1966 in his New York studio.
  • Terry Riley "In C" from Reed Streams. (Originally released as LP Vol 33 by L'Infonie, in 1970.) Recorded under the direction of Canadian composer and conductor Walter Boudreau and performed in Montreal.
  • Terry Riley "Poppy Nogood and the Phantom Band from the Purple Modal Strobe Ecstasy with the Daughters of Destruction" from Poppy Nogood and the Phantom Band: All Night Flight: SUNY Buffalo, New York, 22 March 1968.  (Note: This is an excerpt from a six-hour concert.) Terry Riley: soprano saxophone, electric organ and time-lag accumulator (a loop of tape passed over the heads of two integrated tape recorders)

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