For his version of Music for 18 Musicians (Steve Reich), Erik Hall performed every part himself, using instruments he had on hand. He recorded one section a day, one layer at a time in live, single takes, painstakingly cobbling together a loving interpretation of Reich’s 1976 masterpiece of minimalism. It marks only the second time an artist has tried tackling the seminal piece by his or herself.
Xylophones from the original score became muted pianos, violin became electric guitar, and the pulsing rasp of the bass clarinet was constructed on the Moog synthesizer. Room mics captured the air around each instrument. “Of course my version would be fundamentally different,” he explains, “but I didn’t want the differences to be distracting or gimmicky. I wanted it to be true to the timbre and spirit of the original recording,”