In college I made a series of voice and tape studies, two
using texts by e. e. cummings and one using my own text. The voice in these pieces belongs
to a wonderful singer named Chelsea, whose last name I have forgotten.
The e. e. cummings texts used are:
don't get me wrong oblivion from
Experiments with Typography, Spacing and Sound (1916-17)
timeless from 73 Poems (1963)
My text is called:
alarms and sirens
In don't get me wrong oblivion I used Alvin Lucier's idea from
I am sitting in a room to create the background track. I had four friends
read the text and then used Lucier's technique of playing and re-recording the
readings over and over again into a resonant space until all that was left of the
orginal recordings were the rough rhythms of the voices. Chelsea then spoke the poem
over the top.
timeless ly is a tape collage of many processed (as I recall, mostly just
pitch shifting, with some reverb added) tracks of me playing a homemade
wind instrument. Chelsea speaks the poem towards the end of the track. This was meant
to be a live performance piece.
alarms and sirens was the start of my fascination with repetition, patterns,
natural cycles and the like. I created several tracks of closely tuned, beating sinewaves,
then looped words from the poem so that the loop times roughly matched the beating of the
sinewaves. Once all of the words were in and repeating Chelsea read the complete poem
over the top. This was a painful and painstaking process, and gave me my first taste of
just how difficult it can be to execute a simple idea.
don't get me wrong, oblivion (mp3)
timeless ly (mp3)
alarms and sirens (mp3)