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Steve Reich

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Feb. 26th, 2006 | 01:46 pm

Dear Internet,
I would like to alert you to a certain phenomenon that has been going on for a while in the world of music. It's called "Ripping off Steve Reich"

I have just come across the most glaring example so far, the song "Out Of Egypt, Into The Great Laugh Of Mankind, And I Shake The Dirt From My Sandals As I Run" by Sufjan Stevens, from the album Illinois(e).

This song is a straight 100% ripoff of what Reich did on Music For Eighteen Musicians -- if you want proof I'll be happy to send you an mp3 or two (and mind you, with a little googling it seems i'm not the only person to notice, they even found this interview where Stevens lists it as his favorite chamber piece, tsk tsk)

Notable other bands that take some pretty strong Reich-isms:
  • Godspeed You! Black Emperor (but at least they give credit, on their john peel session [scroll down a ways for a link to an mp3] they list the third piece they play as called "steve reich" -- it's clearly a tribute to his style)
  • Wilco
  • Nine Inch Nails
  • Aphex Twin
  • more i can't think of right now, but a lot
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Comments {4}


(no subject)

from: matadors
date: Feb. 26th, 2006 09:49 pm (UTC)

thank you for this post.

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(no subject)

from: baddaymonkey
date: Feb. 27th, 2006 06:38 pm (UTC)

Yeah, but don't discourage me. I was really getting into that album, its pretty amazing. And I don't think I need to remind an intelligent young lad like you about the never ending debate about originality. Yes, its pretty lame to rip other people off completely, and I don't want to defend Sufjan completely. But I am pretty sure that the Offspring ripped off both the Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel in the same song. And lets not forget the faithful incident back in the day of our friend Vanilla Ice copying I believe Sting...? I'm not sure.

Bsides, isn't copying the best flattery of all? Do you like the album? Emily burned me a copy over the summer, maybe even before that, and I didn't listen to it until one of the songs popped up on my ITunes list for Even 6 (namely tracks: Sujan StEVEns track 6 and 16... if you get where that came from: ps, the tracknames were way too long to type in.) Anyway, I love this album and am in transit for the search for others by this young man. Sorry for the long post, but I like talking music shop when it has to do with my knowledge as well... more originality than music, but I am proud to say I know who this person is!

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Alex P.

(no subject)

from: wetzel
date: Feb. 27th, 2006 10:40 pm (UTC)

vanilla ice ripped off bowie
and i think bowie won the lawsuit, didn't he?

and i do like the sufjan album (although he can get pretty annoying at times), i'm just saying the last track is taking something that is very distinctly steve reich and claiming it for his own. if the track were called "tribute to steve reich" it would be different -- and building on top of the past is part of music, and I think a lot of sufjan's music may be influenced by a lot of music, and that's okay, but when it goes beyond influence and into copying it ticks me off.

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Lee Lee

(no subject)

from: serotonintonic
date: Feb. 28th, 2006 02:59 am (UTC)

that guy must be related to the second half of my last name. go reich!

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