American 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!