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Happy New Year!  

Chicago was great - actually, it was more like the suburbs (Glenview, the Old Orchard mall, etc.), but still, it was great to see all my cousins and their families.  Kath and I had some fantastic quality time with my cousin Elliot and his fiance Agata, who are getting married in Poland next year - Elliot's always been one of the sweetest people I've ever known, and hopefully we'll remain in closer contact (as much as we can, anyway, since he lives in Germany).   Kath put some photos up on her Flickr page; hopefully she won't mind me linking.  

One of the many highlights of the trip wasn't even family-related; my uncle Peter and I were talking about Sufjan Stevens - he remarked that he was surprised that nobody had ever called Sufjan out on his outright theivery of Steve Reich (who I knew of but hadn't ever actually heard), and so then he promptly put on Steve Reich's "Music for 18 Musicians" on his unbelievably amazing hi-fi system (which he bought from Hugh Hefner, which is another story) - and so this Reich piece has pretty much turned my world completely upside down.  Which it really shouldn't, when I think about it, because most of the music I've listened to for the last 10 years, from Sufjan to Tortoise, pretty much owes many great debts to this particular piece of music - in any event, I'm now completely obsessed, and I'm ordering this as soon as I finish this post.  (Peter also played me, among other things, this amazing John McLaughlin & Shakti record, which I'm also ordering.)

Almost done with "Against the Day" - I'm at around page 970 or so.  I've got at least 6 books on my backlog, plus another dozen on my wishlist that I'm itching to get.

No new (original) music to report; I started something before we left last week but I don't even remember how it goes - I just hope whatever recording I did captured enough of it for me to return to and be productive with.

Back to work.  Hope all is well with you and yours.
i am also still mucking through pynchon. i feel i've hit a plateau.
anyway, happy new year to you too!!
Where are you in it? The book got a little wierd for me in the 600s or so, although I'm thoroughly back on board now.
All I can say is this - when my uncle first put it on, his CD player was acting wonky and I only heard about 5 seconds' worth, and IMMEDIATELY I understood what he was talking about w/r/t Sufjan - specifically his more instrumental tracks (for example, "Out of Egypt..." on Illinois, or "Tahquamenon Falls" on Michigan), but generally his arrangements in odd time signatures and repating, overlapping phrases - which, to my ears, owe a lot more to Reich's style than Glass. Likewise, a lot of Tortoise's "Millions Now Living Will Never Die" and "TNT" seems to me to be directly inspired from "Music for 18 Musicians."

My uncle also directed me to Terry Riley's "In C", which he considers to be the first real minimalist/repetitive piece of this school of composing.

Until I hear the rest of Reich's work, obviously, consider this with the requisite grain of salt.
Music For 18 Musicians is fantastic. I haven't gotten around to picking up any of his other pieces, but I really need to do so...

I was also really surprised when I first heard "Out of Egypt" (the last track on Illinois) - I immediately went online to see if Reich was from Illinois or if there were any other connections, because it seemed like such an obvious homage to Music For 18 Musicians...