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Terry Riley, 'You're No Good"

Terry Riley is one of the founding fathers of '60s 'minimalism' and this is the fifth release in an archive series from the Cortical Foundation. The 2 disc set presents for the first time live improvisations by Riley as 'Poppy Nogood' from an all night long concert at a Philadelphia art school in November of 1967. Disc 2 documents over an hour as Riley plays soprano saxophone through his self-made 'time-lag accumulator'. The short phrases are delayed and fedback, allowed to mingle, layer, drone, build and fade. The result is often beautiful and always relaxing. I wouldn't mind listening to this from 9 pm to dawn, as the audience did, possibly as background aura for much of that time. One of the attendees of the show was an owner of a Philadelphia disco who commissioned Riley to create a 'theme' for the club. Disc 1 is that theme, Riley using the obscure R&B song "You're No Good" as source material. The 20+ minute track begins with a few minutes of Moog synthesizer climax and then one relatively untouched run through of the original tune, which in itself is a funky and catchy dis on an ex-lover with female and male vocals. Riley then applies his tape loop manipulation techniques, first looping the title/final line and then feeding other parts of the song through delays. By the 14th minute Riley introduces some delicious line signal noise and then continues to thoroughly deconstruct the song for much of the remainder of the track, speeding it up beyond recognition by the end. The Cortical Foundation have once again done an excellent job of sound production and packaging (though I'm not quite sure how the atomic bomb explosion photos relate) to archive another worthy piece of Terry Riley's influential work.