Stephen Michael Reich (born October 3, 1936) is an American composer. He is a pioneer of minimalism, although his music has increasingly deviated from a purely minimalist style. Reich's 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 America. The Guardian has described Reich as one of the few composers to have "altered the direction of musical history."