Available on vinyl for the first time since the 1970s, this is a double LP of live performances by the legendary ambient composer Terry Riley. Originally released in 1972 it captures performances in Los Angeles and Paris of completely different versions of the same composition showcasing the importance of improvisation in Riley’s music.
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We live in the age of the vinyl reissue. It can be overwhelming trying to process the amount of stuff being given a new lease of life via the trusty, age old format beloved to music freaks. And yet so much of it is utter shite and totally unnecessary. I find it astonishing that it’s taken a total classic like Terry Riley’s 1972 masterwork forty five years to come back around. Well, we can thanks the good folk at Aguirre for making that happen - replicating the original gatefold double LP edition on Shanti in all its glory.
I think it’s generally agreed upon that his late 1960’s albums ‘A Rainbow In Curved Air’ and ‘In C’ are Riley’s essential must-have masterpieces. I would argue that ‘Persian Surgery Dervishes’ is equally as essential. In the early 70’s he felt scores were holding back his quest for transcendence through sound and chose to improvise. This album captures two concerts for electric organ and reel-to-reel delay, one recorded in Los Angeles on 18th April 1971, and another in Paris on 24th May 1972, and clocks in at an hour and a half. It must have been incredible watching the dexterity of his digits tapping away at the keys like some super-human virtuoso as he opens a portal to the heavens. His tools are minimal, but the execution is incredibly complex as he moves around the keyboard creating ecstatic, swirling, psychedelic devotional music influenced by his research into ancient Persian culture.
If you’ve never heard this incredible album, then now is the time. This new, officially licensed edition of 1000 copies has been remastered by Equus with a new lacquer cut by Rashad Becker and includes an insert with liner notes by Julian Cowley. Highly recommended.
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