Philip Glass, Terry Riley and Steve Reich. The Holy Trinity. If you've ever picked up Wire chances are you'll have read theses names, alongside those of Ornette Coleman and Scott Walker on a regular basis. You'll battle through the bizarre and weird marginal noise bands that make music by eating their relatives curtains and recording it through their cosmic microphones - but those four or five names will give you some hope that you're actually getting somewhere in the world of contemporary music.
Anyway, here is a South Bank series on Mr Reich. His music is actually worth the column inches that Wire and other decent music magazines/publications give him. It's Gonna Rain is noted here as a forerunner to loop based contemporary music - but that is half the story. Listening to this and then hearing Coldcut, Squarepusher, Eric B and Rakim or Ricardo Villalobos shows how Reich discovered a technique which has become a main stay in almost every genre of dance music.
Anything he does is worth a listen - I've just got a cassette of his 'Six Pianos' piece alongside Terry Riley's 'in C', as performed by Piano Circus. It's mega - if you want a copy send me an email and a 90 minute tape.