Open yer wallets, minimalist maximalists: in commemoration of the recent 30th anniversary of its world-premiere performance at Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, the Kronos Quartet’s subsequent recording of Steve Reich’s landmark composition Different Trains — backed with the equally-seminal Electric Counterpoint — is once again available on that most cyclical and Reich-ian of formats: VINYL.
The brutal and beautiful Different Trains (which won a Grammy for Best Classical Contemporary Composition upon its original release, btw) is a three-movement work which maps the world-class quartet’s dizzying machinations onto snippets of taped speech referencing several cross-country train journeys undertaken by Reich during World War II — along with the chilling reflection that, were he to be living in Europe rather than America, he might well have been traveling inside a Holocaust train to a concentration camp instead.
Also in three movements, Electric Counterpoint is an alternately ethereal and funky-AF clean-tone electric guitar workout featuring musician Pat Methany finger-picking the hell out of his instrument on top of various pre-recorded tape loops of himself.
Check out samples from each composition — as well as a new “mini-documentary” on the making of Different Trains — down below. Then head here to order yourself a fresh vinyl slice of this classic American art-music pie.
Different Trains / Electric Counterpoint tracklisting:
01. Different Trains: America—Before the War
02. Different Trains: Europe—During the War
03. Different Trains: After the War
04. Electric Counterpoint: I. Fast
05. Electric Counterpoint: II. Slow
06. Electric Counterpoint: III. Fast