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WATCH: Steve Reich's 'Piano Phase' Performed on Two Game Boys

By Ian Holubiak i.holubiak@classicalite.com on Oct 17, 2015 02:26 AM EDT
EXCLUSIVE: Mark O'Connor Talks  Method, American Music and Summer Camp Composer Steve Reich attends the 2015 Karen Gala at the Duggal Greenhouse on April 28, 2015 in New York City. (Photo : Mike Pont/Getty Images)

Steve Reich is no doubt the supreme minimalist of the current times. And in his unique fashion, Piano Phase, one of Reich's many experiments in phasing has been appropriated on two Game Boys by chiptune artist Pselodux.

The Melbourne-based musician was arranged for the Nintendo Game Boy, using a program called Nanoloop 2, which processed the notes into a dreamlike, 8-bit version of Reich's composition.

As its been pointed out, Reich has a penchant for using acoustic instruments and human performers to achieve what he likes to put to musical form. His compositions have been covered by many artists but certainly not in this new age-type way.

Affecting the Nintendo Game Boy has become commonplace in the budding genre of chiptunes. 8-bit sounds recycled into music compositions has made a long-lasting impression on the industry (to wit, check out the band Anamanaguchi).

Winning the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award for contemporary composition, the New York Times described Reich's approach:

"[Reich received the award for having] carved out new paths, fostering a dialogue between popular and high culture and between Western modernity and non-European traditions, achieving a rich combination of complexity and transparency."

The minimal genre that has become the umbrella under which Reich operates isn't too far of an idea to be reappropriated for the Game Boy setting. John Cage's 4'33" for example does not produce sound but instead relies on the environment as the composition.

What ever your taste might be, the video is worth checking out, as is Glass.

So without further ado, here is Glass' Piano Phase as played by the Game Boy handheld video game system (as arranged by Pselodux).

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TagsSteve Reich, Chiptune, Game Boy, Nintendo, Pselodux

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