Album: Steve Reich, Double Sextet/2x5 (Nonesuch)

Doubled-up instrumentation is the theme here: both "Double Sextet" (performed here by eighth blackbird) and "2x5" (by Bang on a Can) are designed for twin ensembles of six and five pieces, respectively. In both, the parts can be played simultaneously, or by a sextet/quintet playing alongside a pre-recorded tape of itself.

"Double Sextet" is built on the urban pulsing of pianos and vibes, with violins sawing like thread shuttled across a loom. High woodwind cracks the canopy, breaking only for a middle section of petrified string shimmers. "2x5" features Zappa-esque chordings, doubled slightly out of sync to produce a jerky vibrato effect, over which lines of guitar motifs are neatly stitched. Impressively performed, but not as heart-lifting as "Music for 18 Musicians".

DOWNLOAD THIS Double Sextet; 2x5

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