The Rambler :: blog

Friday, January 30, 2004

Steve Reich interview 

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An archived interview with Steve Reich has just been put up at Disquiet. The interview dates from '99, and centres around the release of the Reich Remixed CD. Reich reiterates the now-famous anecdote about hearing 'Little Fluffy Clouds' for the first time. The way the story's told these days, you're given the impression that although Reich didn't realise his work was being sampled like this, he was more than happy to hear the results and pretty much rubber-stamped what people like the Orb were doing. But does anyone else detect a little resentment in his words here? He's a decent man, and not naive enough to believe it was worth pursuing any kind of case, but I can hear the sound of gritted teeth here:

"Steve Reich: I must admit, before we go too much further, I basically knew very little about this [the Reich Remixed project]. I knew very little about remix[ing] in general. I had heard the word - I had heard a few things. What happened, I guess, five or six or seven years ago in London, somebody was interviewing me for a pop magazine, and said, "You know the Orb," and I said, "No, what's the Orb?" and he said, "You know 'Fluffy Little Clouds,'" and I said, "No, I don't know 'Fluffy Clouds,'" and so he said he had to get me the CD. So he got me the CD and I thought, Oh, so this is what's going on.

Weidenbaum: That was the song on which the Orb sampled your work.

Reich: That was the Orb track that put them on the map, and it had a 30-second chunk of [my composition] Electric Counterpoint in it.

Weidenbaum: Have you seen the commercials?

Reich: No.

Weidenbaum: Now it's the background music for a Volkswagen Beetle commercial.

Reich: Well, I'll inform Nonesuch of that ..."

And here's the original 1999 article that the interview was for.

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