TERRY RILEY

WRITTEN BY
Mike Powell

Terry Riley / Photo by Lenny Gonzalez

In the holy trinity of Namechecked Minimalist Composers, Terry Riley has always played the west-coast hippie to Philip Glass' and Steve Reich's east-coast urbanites. Combining Indian raga with tape loops, transcendental drone and early electronics, Riley's music is precise and geometric, but always feels handmade — at one point he hooked a vacuum cleaner motor up to the bellows of an organ so the sound would never stop. All the pulsing synth grids in AC's music — especially on Merriweather Post Pavilion — can be traced back to Riley, especially 1967's A Rainbow in Curved Air.

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