Alex Monroe, part 2: New Music

Rob continues his conversation with Alex and they scratch the surface of Contemporary or “New” Music. There’s minimalism, abstract forms in melody and percussion, 4 minutes of silence, and more!

Rob continues his conversation with Alex and they scratch the surface of “New Music.” Let us know if you dig this kind of thing. We can do some more like this once in a while!


If you’re looking at these show notes in your podcast player like a totally normal person, we don’t blame you; that’s how it should be. There are a lot of media excerpts in these notes however, and we highly recommend that you read the rest of this on our website.

Electric Counterpoint by Steve Reich

Steve Reich’s “Electric Counterpoint” – we used it in the intro and a couple minutes later when Alex introduces minimalism.

Mallet Quartet: I. Fast by Steve Reich

“Mallet Quartet” is a quintessential example of Reich minimalism. The recording came out last year and won a Grammy.

I won’t even include a Schoenberg piece because I can assume no one wants to listen to him. Check out the wiki here if interested.

In a Landscape by John Cage

John Cage frequently experimented with structure in his works by using the I Ching to generate a “randomness.” This is an earlier work of his that is quite beautiful and tonal, but is not grounded in a common structure (whether verse, chorus, etc. or exposition, development, recap). This excerpt is not in this episode, it was in part 1.

John Cage’s 4’33”

Cage is probably most known for his piece “4 minutes 33 seconds” which is a ‘silent‘ performance.

the so-called laws of nature: part III by David Lang

This piece is so zen. It also is a great example of using found objects to make sound. The main hum you hear is a set of flowerpots being played with yarn mallets.

playing the flowerpots

Alex says: This is an example of how percussion groups have gone mainstream and become more like bands: