TERRY RILEY — A Rainbow in Curved Air (aka Ambient 2)

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TERRY RILEY - A Rainbow in Curved Air (aka Ambient 2) cover
4.09 | 9 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 1969

Filed under Third Stream
By TERRY RILEY

Tracklist

A A Rainbow In Curved Air 18:40
B Poppy Nogood And The Phantom Band 21:40

Total Time: 40:26

Line-up/Musicians

Organ [Electric], Harpsichord [Electric, Rocksichord], Goblet Drum [Dumbec], Tambourine – Terry (side A)
Soprano Saxophone, Organ [Electric] – Terry(side B)

About this release

Columbia Masterworks – MS 7315 (US)

Reissued in Italy as "Ambient 2" (CD given away with the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, 2003)

Thanks to js, snobb for the updates

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TERRY RILEY A RAINBOW IN CURVED AIR (AKA AMBIENT 2) reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

js
It has been more than forty years since this record was released and modern electronic music still has not moved much further than the parameters laid down by this definitive album. Before there was Klause Schultze, Kraftwerk, Giorgio Moroder, Brian Eno, Carl Craig, acid house and trance there was Terry Riley and his desire to perform classical Indian music on modern electronic instruments. Within the first few minutes of side one ('A Rainbow in Curved Air') the future of electronic music is spelled out in pulsing modal eighth notes topped with squiggly sitar like sixteenth notes that will become the soundtrack for 70s German rock experimentalists and an entire rave generation in the 90s. On side two ('Poppy Nogood and the Phantom Band') Riley brings us the sustained homogenous sounds that will become known, under the guiding hands of Brian Eno, as ambient music. Terry's hyper echoed saxophone lines that enter half way through this side add an electronic avant-garde jazz flavor that was well imitated by The Soft Machine on their IIIrd album. Despite its popularity with the hippie generation, the music on this album has aged nicely. The Rainbow side is still one of the finest pieces of tonal electronic music I own, and the Poppy Nogood side is nice too, although the virtuoso saxophone excursions do get tiresome after a while. I prefer Riley's repetitive musical figures on the keyboard more than on the saxophone. Another nice thing about this album is the extensive use of reel to reel tape loop echoes, a beautiful sound in itself.

This is one of the most important albums in recent recorded music history. From Riley's Rainbow the baton will be passed to Miles Davis and his 'Get Up With It' experiments, then to Brian Eno and finally Bill Laswell who will complete the picture by adding Jamaican dubbing techniques to every facet and genre of music possible. From these four human pillars will come post-rock, ambient rock, ambient techno, shoe-gaze, nu jazz, acid jazz, acid house, dub, drumnbass, trip- hop, trance and many more styles still to come.

Members reviews

Warthur
Providing sounds 20 years ahead of its time - literally, there's points where you'd swear those were crisp 80s-era digital synths playing - A Rainbow In Curved Air is, of course, an inspirational model for the electronic scene, laying the groundwork for every synthesiser wizard with a perchant for side-long tracks afterwards. What's particularly notable about the title track is how busy it is - this is not a classic era Klaus Schulze composition with glacier-like slabs of electronics moving at a sedate and relaxing pace, there's a lot going on at any particular time. At points it reminds me of Mike Oldfield - check out the organ that kicks in at just over six and a half minutes in and you'll see what I mean. The second track, Pappy Nogood and the Phantom Band, is a free jazz composition reminiscent of some of Robert Wyatt's early solo work that, again, manages to introduce sufficient variation that it never becomes boring. Proof that not only was Terry Riley one of the first to play electronic music, he was also one of the first to play it well.

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