My Foray into Minimal Music

Soon after I landed in New York City, I visited Washington Square Park near New York University. It was a pleasant day – not too warm, and I’m fairly certain it was the weekend. There was a guy there playing the piano who I ended up listening to for a while.

I never really paid much attention to what I always considered “classical music”. I never really connected with it in itself, and maybe that’s just because I never really gave it much of a chance. But my perspective of what the piano can sound like changed quite a bit that day.

He was playing pieces by a bunch of people whose names I didn’t catch. One I did catch was Philip Glass. Now this was a name I’d heard before, as I listen to a fair amount of what’s termed “post rock” and some of my rabbit-hole-diving led me to minimal music, which is what Glass and a few others are credited with creating. However, I’d never actually listened to any of his work.

The track he played was “Mad Rush”. I absolutely loved it and went looking for more. This brought me to the rest of the album “Solo Piano”, which I highly recommend now.

As usual, when I come across something new, I went searching on Reddit for more. More is contextual, and I’m never quite sure what I’m actually looking for. This time, I was led to Glass’ other works such as “Glassworks”, “Einstein On The Beach”, and “Satyagraha” (which I’m actually listening to right now as I write this). While the first two are usually ranked above Satyagraha, I’d say it’s currently my absolute favourite. And at this point, it’s no longer just the piano, like it is on Solo Piano. It’s so much more.

I’m also turning my attention to others who play somewhat similar music, such as Steve Reich. His “Music for 18 Musicians” blew my mind. While it’s not new to anyone who’s been listening to this genre of music for a while, for me as a newcomer, it was something else entirely.

I have a lot of music to listen to. I’ve been mixing it up with post rock that I’ve always been listening to. Music for me is definitely entering some interesting new territory, and I can’t wait to see hear what’s next.

Aditya Saky
September 23, 2018