Terry Riley - Descending Moonshine Dervishes LP


Label: Beacon Sound

Release Date: August 9th, 2024

Accurately described by Thurston Moore as "great for meditating to the cosmos," Terry Riley's classic Descending Moonshine Dervishes is available again in a limited edition repress manufactured by Optimal in Germany.

Originally recorded live in Berlin in 1975 and released by Kuckuck in 1982, Beacon Sound reissued the album in 2016 to widespread acclaim. Using just intonation and a modified organ, Riley conjures forth a rich and layered sound that challenges the Western ear, reflecting his associations with Indian classical singer Pandit Pran Nath and La Monte Young, whose Well Tuned Piano was well underway. Descending Moonshine Dervishes is a virtuosic and kaleidoscopic performance, standing as one of the finest works of a revolutionary composer and musician at the height of his powers. Recorded in concert November 29, 1975 at Metamusik Festival in Berlin. Originally mastered by Stephen Hill. Remastered in 2016 by Rafael Anton Irisarri. Front cover painting by Helmut Zimmermann. Back cover photography by Roberto Masotti.

"Descending Moonshine Dervishes' dates from 1975 and it belongs to a larger Dervish series of compositions whose origins predate Riley's two signature works of minimalism, 'In C' (1968) and 'A Rainbow In Curved Air' (1969)? (the piece is) structured around just intonation, which stretches the listening experience into new areas. Played on a Yamaha organ with a bit of tape delay that allows Riley to duet with himself, the music of Descending Moonshine Dervishes is an ear expansion that goes through skittering arpeggios and long, droning notes that indicate something of the many levels that it operates on." --Louise Gray, The Wire Magazine (2017)

"Terry Riley has become a totemic presence in music over the past half-century." --The Guardian