Nonesuch Releases "2x5 Remixed," Digital Tracks from Steve Reich "2x5" Remix Contest with Indaba Music

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Submitted by nonesuch on Mon, 04/25/2011 - 19:06
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Nonesuch releases 2x5 Remixed, a new, three-track digital EP, available at iTunes, featuring the winning entries in the 2010 contest to remix the third movement from Steve Reich's 2x5, as chosen by the composer. As Reich told the BBC World Service, there is a rich history of artists reinterpreting others' work, explaining: “Remixing is a modern take on variations." Bang on a Can performs 2x5 in an all-Reich concert at Carnegie Hall this Saturday.

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In the fall of 2010, Pulitzer Prize–winning composer Steve Reich, Nonesuch Records, and Indaba Music—the online musical collaboration community—launched a search for collaborators to remix the third movement from Reich’s piece 2x5. A panel of judges, including Reich, reviewed the submissions and chose a Grand Prize Winner and two Runners-Up: Dominique Leone of San Francisco, CA (Grand Prize), Vakula of Konotop, Ukraine (Runner Up), and David Minnick of Detroit, MI (Runner Up). In addition to the prizes the three received, Nonesuch is now releasing their remixes digitally today, as part of the New York celebration of Reich’s 75th birth year. 2x5 Remixed is now available exclusively at iTunes.

Reich, no stranger to having his music reworked—as on the 1999 album Reich (Remixed) and the later EP Reich: Remixed 2006—sees a long history to the concept of one artist putting his own spin on the work of another. In his interview with the BBC World Service program The Strand, he traces the roots of remixing back to the 15th century and Josquin des Prez as well as to later variations by Brahms on the music of Haydn. “Remixing is a modern take on variations,” he suggests.

Grand Prize winner Dominique Leone, whose remix Reich selected from more than 200 submissions, told The Strand: “It was a lot of fun, because Steve Reich’s music is so based in rhythm anyway, so when you can take little chunks of it and manipulate that and exploit the rhythm that’s already there, it’s not very difficult to make something that sounds good.” For Leone, the prize winnings were never the motivating factor in his entering the contest. “I really just did this because I am such a big Steve Reich fan,” he admits. “Honestly, the biggest difference that this makes to me is that Steve Reich heard something that I did and liked it. And the fact that I got to work on his music, that I had those files, that’s really the biggest thing.”

In 2x5, Reich expands his palate with rock instrumentation. Scored for two sets of five instruments (hence “2x5”), this 21-minute piece calls for a total of ten musicians: four electric guitars, two pianos, two bass guitars, and two drum sets. Performers can either play the piece all-live with ten musicians or with five live musicians against a pre-recorded tape, as Bang on a Can, who recorded the piece for Nonesuch, did for the premiere on the opening night of the Manchester International Festival. “Clearly 2x5 is not rock and roll, but uses the same instruments. It’s an example of the essential difference between ‘classical music’ and ‘popular music.’ And that essential difference is: one is notated, and the other is not notated,” Reich says. “I had to find musicians who (A), could read, and (B), had a genuine rock feeling, and there Bang on a Can excels.”

This Saturday, Bang on a Can All-Stars and Friends give 2x5 its New York premiere in an all-Reich concert at Carnegie Hall celebrating the composer's 75th birth year. Bang on a Can guitarist Mark Stewart recently spoke with Reich's publishers, Boosey & Hawkes, about 2x5 for a series of videos called Minute Reich. See what Stewart has to say here:

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Steve Reich: "2x5 Remixed" [cover]
  • Tuesday, April 26, 2011
    Nonesuch Releases "2x5 Remixed," Digital Tracks from Steve Reich "2x5" Remix Contest with Indaba Music

    In the fall of 2010, Pulitzer Prize–winning composer Steve Reich, Nonesuch Records, and Indaba Music—the online musical collaboration community—launched a search for collaborators to remix the third movement from Reich’s piece 2x5. A panel of judges, including Reich, reviewed the submissions and chose a Grand Prize Winner and two Runners-Up: Dominique Leone of San Francisco, CA (Grand Prize), Vakula of Konotop, Ukraine (Runner Up), and David Minnick of Detroit, MI (Runner Up). In addition to the prizes the three received, Nonesuch is now releasing their remixes digitally today, as part of the New York celebration of Reich’s 75th birth year. 2x5 Remixed is now available exclusively at iTunes.

    Reich, no stranger to having his music reworked—as on the 1999 album Reich (Remixed) and the later EP Reich: Remixed 2006—sees a long history to the concept of one artist putting his own spin on the work of another. In his interview with the BBC World Service program The Strand, he traces the roots of remixing back to the 15th century and Josquin des Prez as well as to later variations by Brahms on the music of Haydn. “Remixing is a modern take on variations,” he suggests.

    Grand Prize winner Dominique Leone, whose remix Reich selected from more than 200 submissions, told The Strand: “It was a lot of fun, because Steve Reich’s music is so based in rhythm anyway, so when you can take little chunks of it and manipulate that and exploit the rhythm that’s already there, it’s not very difficult to make something that sounds good.” For Leone, the prize winnings were never the motivating factor in his entering the contest. “I really just did this because I am such a big Steve Reich fan,” he admits. “Honestly, the biggest difference that this makes to me is that Steve Reich heard something that I did and liked it. And the fact that I got to work on his music, that I had those files, that’s really the biggest thing.”

    In 2x5, Reich expands his palate with rock instrumentation. Scored for two sets of five instruments (hence “2x5”), this 21-minute piece calls for a total of ten musicians: four electric guitars, two pianos, two bass guitars, and two drum sets. Performers can either play the piece all-live with ten musicians or with five live musicians against a pre-recorded tape, as Bang on a Can, who recorded the piece for Nonesuch, did for the premiere on the opening night of the Manchester International Festival. “Clearly 2x5 is not rock and roll, but uses the same instruments. It’s an example of the essential difference between ‘classical music’ and ‘popular music.’ And that essential difference is: one is notated, and the other is not notated,” Reich says. “I had to find musicians who (A), could read, and (B), had a genuine rock feeling, and there Bang on a Can excels.”

    This Saturday, Bang on a Can All-Stars and Friends give 2x5 its New York premiere in an all-Reich concert at Carnegie Hall celebrating the composer's 75th birth year. Bang on a Can guitarist Mark Stewart recently spoke with Reich's publishers, Boosey & Hawkes, about 2x5 for a series of videos called Minute Reich. See what Stewart has to say here:

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