the original 1972 release of steve reich’s drumming, issued by john gibson and multiples inc


Steve Reich and Musicians –  Drumming (1972)

A few years back, I came bundling home with an object that few know exists. My hands gripped the original pressing of Steve Reich’s Drumming. The album was recorded in 1971, and issued the following year by John Gibson and Multiples inc (Gibson was first director of Park Place Gallery, opening his own gallery in the early 1970s) in an edition of 500. It came signed and numbered by Reich himself, with the accompanying complete score (also signed and numbered). It’s about as rare as it comes, and the stuff of dreams for a collector like myself. I still can’t believe my luck. Of all the amazing records in my collection, it would be among the first I’d save from a fire.

The saddest truth of the the first recording of Drumming is its brilliance, and the fact that it has never been issued beyond the tiny first release. Almost no one has heard it. The production is raw and clear – almost as though you’re in the room. It’s incredible. I thought since I just wrote about the long awaited vinyl reissue of Reich’s Drumming / Music For Mallet Instruments, Voices And Organ / Six Pianos from 1974 – regarded as the definitive version of its leading work, it would be nice  for contrast and enjoyment, to send the original version out into the world.  Listen below. I hope you enjoy, and that we don’t have to wait long before someone brings a proper release back to the world.

-Bradford Bailey

Steve Reich and Musicians –  Drumming (1972)

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