Alarm Will Sound's recording of Steve Reich's monumental orchestral/choral works The Desert Music and Tehillim, released on the Cantaloupe label in 2002, greatly benefits from the group's close connections with the composer: the ensemble's conductor, Alan Pierson, and several of the performers studied at the Eastman School with Brad Lubman, a conductor frequently enlisted by Reich. Also, Pierson's arrangements, which reconcile the chamber and orchestral versions that exist for both works, were prepared in close consultation with the composer; thus, this may well be the definitive recording of these pieces. Brilliantly sonorous in their climaxes – the burst of light near the end of Desert Music, the "Alleluias" that close Tehillim – the players also articulate Reich's intricate canonic textures with nimble precision. Voices and strings are always an Achilles heel within Reich's percussive textures (leading him to eliminate part doublings in favor of giving each line to a lone, amplified performer), but here the singers and strings maintain an impressive rhythmic vitality.
Produced by Butch Vig and mixed by Alan Moulder, Wasting Light was recorded entirely on analog tape in the garage of Grohl s home in California s San Fernando Valley. The no computers/no software back to basics approach has resulted in arguably the strongest and most cohesive effort of the band s 15-year-plus career: From first single Rope to the frenetic opener Bridge Burning to the beautifully bipolar These Days to stunning guest spots from Bob Mould ( Dear Rosemary") and Krist Novoselic ("I Should Have Known"), Wasting Light is a singular triumph: a band that s headlined arenas, stadiums and festivals the world over stripping itself down to the bare essentials and coming up with a world class band s finest hour.