I have discovered that real minimalism, that is, the works of the late 60s up to the mid 70s, is very good to listen to while reading math. It can be, in a way, zone-out music, making my calculus text book look god-damned fascinating.
When i was younger i used tohate minimalism, bu justt now im really starting to appreciate it. It occurred to me that minimalism is akin to Chinese water torture, slowly driving everyone, participants and performers alike, insane. There may still be truth in this, after all, it almost making me enjoy reading math.
Minimalism is gestural, that is to say, not substantive. There isn’t meant to adhere to the traditional notion of musical material and ideas, so its about as close to conceptualism as you get. (this rejection of traditional "substance" is probably the aspect of minimalism that causes the greatest controversy.)
This music is about an entire abstract thing, rather than the music itself. Glass's early music values the concept behind the work over the work itself- that is, the idea of the way the music is takes complete control.