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Classical Notes

Steve Reich soundtracks Rick Rubin's Ice Bucket Challenge

Posted at 1:37 PM on August 26, 2014 by Jay Gabler
Filed under: In the media

Rick Rubin Ice Bucket Challenge 2.jpg

Minimalist composer Steve Reich hasn't yet taken the Ice Bucket Challenge — that is, splashing himself with ice water to raise funds and awareness for the fight against the disease ALS — but in a sense he's done his part.

When music producer Rick Rubin shared a video of himself dunking into a bathtub of ice water (above), he soundtracked the video with a sound loop made famous in Reich's 1965 piece "It's Gonna Rain." Reich's 18-minute tape piece is based on a recording made by the composer the previous year in San Francisco as a Pentecostal street preacher held forth. The phrase "It's Gonna Rain," looped again and again in Reich's piece, became iconic.

Rubin isn't the only musician bathing in ice water for a good cause: Minnesota singer-songwriter Jeremy Messersmith did so as a (successful) challenge to the Current's program director Jim McGuinn.