Steve Reich - Tehillim

1982 - ECM


Steve Reich has a way of using density that I haven’t heard from anyone else. There are no breaks in most of his music, but the way he uses repetition makes it seem as though there is space. By slowly changing aspects of the repeated patterns, he shifts what your brain is expecting, but he does it in such a slow manner that you sometimes don’t realize it is happening.  It is easy to zone out while listening and stay completely focused at the same time. You get so engaged in what is happening that it becomes your consciousness, a space that your entire world revolves around. As time ticks by, the fast passages seem to slow as you become more familiar with the patterns. This piece, though, does have actual tempo changes that flow seamlessly together. The harmonies and chordal movement keeps you engaged throughout and the way that pitched percussion creeps in near the end of the piece is a treat to hear. This would probably be a good record to have someone listen to as an introduction to Reich’s music.