Before writing about the readers suggestions made on my last post about minimalist music, I would like to share that after writing that post, I realized that one of my favorite artists has many minimalist songs. I am talking about Moby, a musician, DJ and photographer based in New York. Throughout his career, he has played several genres with many different influences, but always maintaining a focus on electronic music. I do not think he can be considered a minimalist musician, but he has always had minimalist songs on his albums. Hymn is a perfect example of this, from the 1995 fantastic album Everything is wrong. I just love this song, it is pure passion and feeling for me.
We have written very little about minimalist music on this blog and I did not even know what the definition of minimalist music was really. So I was looking for some information about it and I think this is a fairly good definition: Music created with limited resources, the same notes and sound sequences repeated over and over again but end up creating a structure. On the other hand, I found that one of the most important figures of minimalist music is Philip Glass. He has not been the pionner of the style but is considered the most influential musican of it. He is a prolific composer who has also written operas, musical theatre works, solo works and film scores, for example. I would like to start by recommending the Piano Solo album, from which the song Metamorphosis Two was featured on, performed by Branka Parlic, because the feeling of the entire album has caught me from the first moment I listened to it. I hope you like it and I will appreciate your comments about it and suggestions for future posts about minimalist music.
If there ever was a minimalist rock band, certainly they were the White Stripes. From the visual concept to the two-only members, Jack and Meg White, respectively, guitarrist and drummer. The band was active from 1997 to 2011, making a sound with deep influences from the Mississippi delta blues to the classic rock from the 70’s. The fact that they used only guitar and drums not only caused many raised eyebrows, but also passionate enthusiasts. The strict color palette (red, white and black) was the base of their entire visual concept, creating a bold, striking and straightforward body of art, as can be seen in all their records’ artwork. Their minimalist roots are evident most notably in the “De Stijl” album (2000), designed by CHOLOMITE!, where they strongly reference the Dutch art movement both aesthetically and conceptually.
To be frank, I have never really taken the time to investigate minimalist music. But, with the World Minimal Music Festival coming to town, now is the time to check out the work of Steve Reich, Philip Glass, Michael Nyman and the likes. Ticket prices vary from € 18 to € 23. If you want to experience all 5 (!) days, there is a passe-partout available for € 130. If you are living anywhere close to Amsterdam or Eindhoven (both here in The Netherlands), let’s meet up and go together! Interested? Please comment. Update: To get you in the mood, 22Tracks has a set of minimal tracks.
Minimal electronic composer Eleh has been building quite a reputation for his series of waveform releases for TAIGA Records. In 2008 he released Homage to the Square Wave, in 2009 Homage to the Sine Wave and this year we will see the release of Homage to Pointed Waveforms, “a bumper, two-wave extravaganza exploring the analogue synth sounds of the triangle and sawtooth waves.” (The Wire 234) According to TAIGA, the elemental approach to construction of the pieces [...] is influenced by Josef Albers, the visual artist best known for his color studies embodied in paintings of geometric abstraction. Of the work, Boomkat says, This is the kind of academic sound you can totally become absorbed in and it should appeal to early electronic followers and minimalists everywhere! → Listen on the TAIGA Records site