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reich

Steve Reich


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Come Out was made for a benefit to fund the retrial of the Harlem Six, African American youths accused of committing a murder during the 1964 Harlem riots. Initially in unison on two channels, fragments of audio (a recording of one of the suspects) quickly slip out of sync, an effect characteristic of Reich’s early works. Gradually the discrepancy widens and becomes a reverberation and, later, almost a canon. The two voices then split into four, looped continuously, then eight, until the words are unintelligible. The listener is left with only the rhythmic and tonal patterns of the spoken words. Of recorded speech as source material, Reich says that “by not altering its pitch or timbre, one keeps the original emotional power that speech has while intensifying its melody and meaning through repetition and rhythm.”

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Steve Reich (American, born 1936). Come Out. 1966. 33 1/3 LP (1972; transferred to CD with same album cover, 1987). Courtesy the artist, Nonesuch Records, and Boosey & Hawkes, Inc. Image courtesy the artist

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