Truth, order, and simplicity—those are some of the major hallmarks of the minimalist art movement. It flourished in America during the 1960s and ’70s, primarily as a visual arts movement at first but eventually expanding into design, fashion, architecture, and even a lifestyle aesthetic.
Minimalism also found its counterpart in music. Instead of telling a story or taking the audience on a journey from point A to point B, minimalist music calls attention to the actual activity of listening itself—it’s about being present in the moment. Composers do this in a variety of ways: through repetition, circling melodies, pulsing rhythms, steady drones, or simple harmonies. When performed well, minimalism can feel almost trancelike or hypnotic for the listener.
On this week’s episode of Second Inversion, we’re exploring masterworks of minimalism—plus we’ll hear how some of these iconic pieces are still influencing artists today. We’ll also talk about some of the non-Western musical traditions that helped shape American minimalism.
To listen, tune in to KING FM on Saturday, May 9 at 10pm PT.
This is an encore episode which first aired in March. It features excerpts from Emerald City Music‘s performance of Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians. Watch videos from the concert on-demand in the playlist below: