LIVE REPORTPYRAMID GARDEN7/30 SAT
Terry Riley with Sara Miyamoto – Everything and Beyond –
Even Beyond Everything and Beyond
In his 87 years on this planet Earth, Terry Riley has experienced a lot, and deeply influenced far more than a few. He is considered to be a founder of minimalist composition, he was an early practitioner of tape-loops and electronic music, he is credited with directly influencing some of rock’s most iconic moments (Baba O’Reilly’s intro synths for one), collaborating member of the Kronos Quartet, and was a disciple of Indian classical vocalist Pandit Pran Nath. Few pedigrees run this deep and broad. He was joined by his Japanese protegee Sara Miyamoto, an accomplished musician and vocalist in her own right.
The set began with a sitar-like electronic drone and a tentative ‘ohayogozaimasu’ from Terry Riley before he broke into chants, with Sara echoing them perfectly. It set a mood that fit Pyramid Garden’s yoga and granola vibe to a tee. The set proceeded under the bright mountain morning sun in a trancelike fashion, with Mr. Riley chanting and occasionally adding punctuation with a melodica. He periodically changed the tempo of a prerecorded chime loop, and considering the hypnotic drone of the music each small change felt seismic. Sara helped ground the set with her percussion, providing the foundation for Mr. Riley to build on.
After 30 unbroken minutes the set took a turn to the electronic, the performers leaving the sitar drone behind in exchange for playful synthesizer, flitting from chamber music to ragtime and everywhere in between. The element that remained was the drone, this time a very simple repeated piano phrase underneath Mr. Riley’s musical scamperings
The third song saw things get more atmospheric and slightly darker, Mr. Riley turning his hand to an effects board and creating a dark, swirling backdrop for a pulsating organ, the pulses of which Sara appeared to control via iPhone. The set perfectly demonstrated two elements that Terry Riley is known for, repetition and trance. It felt less like watching a concert and more like hearing someone perform the soundtrack to a strange, half-remembered dream. All in all it was mind expanding.
[Photo: 7 All photo]