Minimalist Terry Riley Was Remixing Before Remixing Was Cool – ‘You’re Nogood’

3349874992_3c83376dfe_oAmerican minimalist composer and performer Terry Riley is not as well known as fellow minimalists Steve Reich and Philip Glass. Nevertheless, his work – which explores tape looping, live performance with tape delay, microtonality, world music influences, synthesis and more – has been influential across several generations of musicians

An interesting example of his early work, You’re Nogood (1967), is essentially an avant garde remix of a soul song:

With You’re Nogood, Riley samples an obscure track by The Harvey Averne Dozen, You’re No Good, and then creates a set of ‘variations on a theme’. Riley loops a short phrase and repeats it, with surprisingly modern sounding results.

He also explores the idea of a ‘phase canon’, playing two copies of a short sample against each other. And Riley includes abstract electronic sounds from a Moog synthesizer.

The track was commissioned by a New York dance club – but it’s clear that it had different goals than modern dance-friendly remixes.

Here’s the source for Riley’s sampling:

Was Terry Riley remixing before it was cool? Check out You’re Nogood, and let us know what you think!

via avclub

11 thoughts on “Minimalist Terry Riley Was Remixing Before Remixing Was Cool – ‘You’re Nogood’

  1. It reminds me more of the experimental tape music of the early 60s, but instead of the usual source material (speech as in Reich’s “It’s Gonna Rain” and assorted weird sounds), Riley uses a pop song. But it’s hard to hear the looped phrases without thinking of modern remixes.

    It’s like an abstract sonic sculpture – if someone posted this under “what I made with my looper and delay pedal” I’d think it was modern.

    1. If you’re going rank everything against everything else and call the outranked artists losers, then follow this to the logical extreme. There’s really only one song by one artist worth anything, and everything else is terrible.

      The only real music in the entire universe, as determined by Fonon’s zero sum challenge:

    2. Terry Riley is widely acknowledged as a pioneer of minimalism and is very respected, he is certainly no “LOOSER” (it’s actually ‘LOSER’). One should learn to put personal jealousies aside; just because he was acclaimed for doing something relatively simple doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve the acclaim.

  2. Someone should run the first few minutes through an oscilloscope for some crazy Lissajous visualisations.

    You do it, I can’t be arsed

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