In early 2007 the Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble recorded Steve Reich's masterpiece Music for 18 Musicians. What followed for this young ensemble was nothing short of a dream--a critically acclaimed at-dawn performance at the Bang On a Can Marathon, a feature article in the New York Times, a segment on NPR's Weekend Edition, glowing CD reviews in over thirty publications, reaching #1 on the iTunes and Amazon classical charts, and spending eleven weeks on the Billboard charts. Perhaps WNYC's John Schaefer summarized it best when he called the recording "The story of the year in classical music."
The project has evolved a bit from my initial concept. The first idea was to record the work, then have a single remixer create an album-length remix. After a few months of thinking about this, I thought it would be more interesting, and diverse, to have several remixers create a CD of shorter tracks.
During the recording sessions it was decided that our original performance of In C would be included on the disc, making it possibly a 2-CD release. This made a lot of sense, as it would allow the listener unfamiliar with In C to hear the source material, in context, that all the remixes were created from.
At the same time as the sessions, I started to invite remixers to participate. I wanted a lot of them, active in different genres, even those whose music couldn't be categorized. I talked with many people looking for suggestions, and then confirmations started coming back almost immediately. Everyone knew of In C, everyone was excited about the idea of remixing In C, and most surprising to me, almost everyone knew about our ensemble from the Reich CD. Who I decided to invite was simple--I'm a huge fan of them all. Some I have worked with personally for years, others I have been following distantly for just as long. Of the people that I didn't know and were suggested to me, I dove into their music and quickly became a supporter. In April three DVDs of audio material were sent to remixers, and we sat back and waited...
Meanwhile, our semester at GVSU ended with four students from our ensemble performing In C at Carnegie Hall, with the Kronos Quartet and other new music all-stars, in celebration of the 45th anniversary of the work. It was a miraculous, life-changing experience. A few highlights stand out--the performance, listening to Terry Riley describe the piece and performance strategy before the first rehearsal, and meeting Terry personally. There is not a kinder, gentler human being on this earth.
Over the summer the remixes started to come in. The only instructions I gave the remixers was to make a 4-8 minute track, so I was a bit nervous as to what would come back. I shouldn't have been. The collection of what we got was amazing--diverse, musical, and energetic. As I had hoped, each artist put their own signature on In C.
In C Remixed has been an amazing experience to put together. On behalf of the ensemble, remixers, and production team, I thank you for your interest, and hope you enjoy the results of our work.
Executive Producer, In C Remixed