It's Gonna Rain
Steve Reich
Brief description of the work:
Tape recording of a preacher's voice, two identical loops slowly slip out of phase with one another creating a generative acoustic piece.
Materials, dimensions, duration:
Tape Music, 17:50 min, 1965
Location (venue & dates, public/ private):
Available on Audio CD. Title: Steve Reich Early Works (rel. May 28, 1992), Label: Nonesuch
Audience information (size, mode of participation):
The audience can listen to tape recording remotely
Other information (reviews, collaborators, funders):
Floorplan, scheme:
Visual/ audio-visual reference:
Key theme(s):
Listening to systems in action
Further context:


30 sec from 'Its Gonna Rain' part I

..."It's Gonna Rain," especially the second half of it, is very bleak. You're literally hearing the world come apart. Technically, it's been said many times, the discovery of the phasing process was within that piece. It happened with those two little Wollensack tape recorders I had (also used on "Phase Piece"). I made identical loops and I thought I would line them up in a particular relationship. [...] By chance, two machines were lined up in unison. So what I heard was this unison sound sort of swimming in my head, spatially moving back and forth. It finally moved over to the left, which meant that the machine on the left was slightly faster passing in speed than the machine on the right. So the apparent phenomenon in your head is the sound moving to the left, moves down your left shoulder and then across the floor! (laughs) Then after a while, it comes into an imitation and then finally after four or five minutes, you hear "it's gonna... it's gonna... rain... rain..."