In 1967 Steve Reich produced one of the landmark experimental compositions of the 20th century, with “Piano Phase,” which incorporated the brilliant idea of playing the same short repeated melody twice at the same time, with the two versions being slightly out of phase. Over the course of approximately 15 minutes, the two melodies diverge and create unexpected cacophony before realigning again and so forth.
No matter how it’s done (it can be done many different ways, with tape loops, or multiple pianists, or even with one pianist), it’s always a stimulating experience to listen to “Piano Phase.”
If Reich’s piece was (among other things) proof of concept, then it’s up to the world at large to apply the technique to other musical artifacts. A resident of Denton, Texas, named Joseph Prein decided to see what happens when you play that game with the most famous drum fill of the 1980s, the majestic burst of “gated reverb” that punctuates Phil Collins’ 1981 track “In the Air Tonight” around the 3:19 mark.
In Prein’s version, you get three versions of the drum fill (which of course only lasts a couple of seconds), played at regular speed and two other versions at 99.9% and 100.1% of the correct speed. The track lasts 70 minutes.
Enjoy the mind-obliterating fun of this mental mantra!