3AM Eternal: Steve Reich, It’s Gonna Rain (1965)


Minimalist composer Steve Reich made his name with this sound piece, entitled “It’s Gonna Rain,” which features the manipulated rants of a mystery man known only as Brother Walter. The piece consists mainly of repeated loops, producing a sound that harsh, heavy, and tries the patience of the listener. Yet for all its challenges, it introduced Reich to the world and is considered a monumental work in minimalism.  At the time, it was felt to be a commentary on nuclear war; listening fifty years later, it’s not easy to discern that claim. It’s challenging, and it’s not for everybody. Think you can make it through one listen?

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