PRINT March 1999


Steve Reich

NO FORM OF CLASSICAL MUSIC has exerted so enduring and pervasive an influence on pop culture as minimalism. Kellogg’s commercials and John Carpenter movie sound tracks, New Age schlock and abstract hip-hop all overtly cop such minimalist trademarks as repetitive keyboard vamps and hallucinatory vocal cut-ups. Indeed, from its inception in the early ’60s, musical minimalism actively blurred the boundaries between “high” and “mass” art, “classical” and “popular” music. Breaking with the confines of academic serialism and the decorum of the concert hall, the minimalists forged connections with the icons of art pop and found a new fan base in rock clubs. The raspy drones of La Monte Young’s “Eternal Music” provided the backdrop for the Velvet Underground’s late-’60s psychedelia. In the ’70s and ’80s, David Bowie, Brian Eno, and David Byrne developed a fascination with the music of Philip Glass

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