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Listen to a 70-Minute Remix of Phil Collins’ ‘In the Air Tonight’ Drum Break

Gustavo Caballero, Getty Images
Gustavo Caballero, Getty Images

The drum break that signals the end of the bridge in Phil Collins‘ “In the Air Tonight” is one of the most famous of the ’80s, if not all of rock history. Now, a man from Denton, Texas named Joseph Prein has sampled that one bar of rhythm and gated reverb and played it back in a manner that creates an entirely new piece.

Dangerous Minds points out that the process Prein used was developed by Steve Reich in 1967 for his “Piano Phase” composition. There, he had two pianos play the same short phrase over and over again, but at slightly different tempos. As the piece unfolds, it gets wildly out-of-sync and corrects itself several times. Basically, it’s kind of the aural equivalent of standing between two parallel mirrors.

Prein took Reich a couple of steps further by playing the drum fill three times, once at 99.9 percent of its original tempo and again at 100.1 percent. And he also let it play out for one hour and 10 minutes. You can listen to it below and, depending on your frame of mind, you’ll either find it hypnotic or maddening. But it’s no less fascinating.

About a year ago, Collins returned to the stage after a six-year absence for his charity. After a few high-profile performances that coincided with the release of his memoir, Not Dead Yet, he announced a few European dates scheduled for June. While he has yet to reveal a U.S. tour, he told a crowd during an interview in New York, “It’ll only be a matter of time until we come here.”

Listen to Joseph Prein’s Take on Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight” Drum Fill

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