The year 2012 was a late-career landmark for Philip Glass.
In the beginning of the year, the composer celebrated his 75th birthday with the premiere of a new symphony and the first major production of his 1976 opera Einstein on the Beach in ten years.
By December, Beck had curated a new double-album worth of remixes titled Rework, and Scott Snibbe, the creator of Björk’s Biophilia app, developed a hotly anticipated custom program to go along with it.
Hector Castillo was charged with producing this new album of re-imagined Glass pieces. He and Glass’ label had tried a similar thing in 2005, but Castillo was never quite satisfied with Glasscuts, the collection of remixes that had been the result.
“But the idea stayed there,” Castillo told me when we met at Converse’s Rubber Tracks Studio, where he moonlights in the rotating cast of resident engineers. “I kept on bringing it up every year – ‘we should do this again, we should do this again!‘”
He may now be best known for his work with Brazilian Girls, but at the age of 14, Hector Castillo fell in love with Glass’ work when he saw the cult-classic film and tone poem, Koyaanisqatsi. A handful of years later he landed an internship at the composer’s Looking Glass recording studio in SoHo, quickly rising to become an assistant and then an engineer, and eventually taking over the B Room. He would work alongside Philip Glass for a decade.
Eventually, Glass was introduced to Beck, whose father had been a casual acquaintance in the New York art scene of the 70s, and Castillo got the second chance he had been lobbying for.
“He’s the sexy legs,” Castillo says of he post-modern pop star in a voice that betrays both genuine admiration and shrewd business sense. With Beck on board as curator, the project became an easy sell.
Assembling the Cast
The first step was for Beck, Glass and Castillo to get together and compile a list of artists and compositions they could draw on…