A Rainbow in Curved Air – Terry Riley (1969)

A Rainbow in Curved Air is the third album by American composer Terry Riley, released in 1969 on CBS Records. The title track consists of Riley’s overdubbed improvisations on several keyboard and percussion instruments, including electric organ, electric harpsichord, dumbec, and tambourine. The B-side ‘Poppy Nogood and the Phantom Band’ is a saxophone-based drone piece featuring tape loops and edits, drawing on Riley’s all-night improvisatory performances in the 1960s. Riley’s record deal with CBS was part of ‘Music of Our Time,’ a short-lived album series on American experimental music helmed by CBS employee David Behrman, who also facilitated the release of Riley’s 1968 album In C; these two were the most successful LPs in the series. The album subsequently influenced a number of rock and electronic productions. … In 1967, Behrman had received permission from CBS to curate a series of albums on the American experimental music scene titled ‘Music of Our Time,’ which would eventually include recordings by Steve Reich, Pauline Oliveros and Richard Maxfield. … A Rainbow in Curved Air was the first recording at CBS to utilize an eight-track recorder. The largely improvisational nature of the work, based on modal scales, owes much to Riley’s background in jazz improvisation and interest in Hindustani classical music. Jazz pianist Bill Evans, one of Riley’s piano ‘heroes’, had utilized overdubbing on his classic album Conversations with Myself from four years earlier. Riley would intensify this overdubbing approach with added instrumentation. Using overdubbing, Riley plays all the instruments on the title track: electric organ, 2 electric harpsichords (a Baldwin electric harpsichord & a RMI Rock-Si-Chord), dumbec, and tambourine. The piece moves through several sections; following the opening theme and introduction of ‘placid chords,’ Riley introduces ‘an explosion, a procession of right-hand lines that flutter and pirouette over the over the pulsing rhythmic patterns.’ …”
YouTube: A Rainbow in Curved Air – Full CD

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