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Stephen Michael Reich (born October 3, 1936) is a major American composer who pioneered the style of minimalist music. His innovations include using tape loops to create phasing patterns (examples are his early compositions, It's Gonna Rain and Come Out), and the use of simple, audible processes to explore musical concepts (for instance, Pendulum Music and Four Organs). These compositions, marked by their use of repetitive figures, slow harmonic rhythm and canons, have significantly influenced contemporary music, especially in the US. Reich's work took on a darker character in the 1980s with the introduction of historical themes as well as themes from his Jewish heritage, notably the Grammy award-winning Different Trains.