Monday, September 21, 2009

Alvin Lucier - "Sitting in a room"

The music of american composer Alvin Lucier is new to me, but judging by the piece “Sitting in a room” is right up my street. The concept of the piece is simple: Lucier records himself explaining
what he is going to do, and why. He then proceeds(as he explains in the beginning of the piece) to playback the recording of himself into the same room – and then recording the sound of his first recording playing back.
The resulting recording is again played back and recorded,and this continues for a little over 15 minutes.
As the whole thing progresses, the natural resonances of the acoustics of the room are reinforced, and in the end take over completely – transforming intelligible speech into speech-driven excitations of room acoustics (phew). It quickly ends up sounding pretty scary – especially considering Lucier's intentions with the piece (explained in the piece), being “to smooth out any irregularities” of his speech (he stutters quite heavily on several syllables in this piece). It is strangely poetic to hear the recording descending into near-feedback
and making Lucier's speech-impediment go away, dissolve into pure sound.
What initially appears to be a mostly intellectual exercise, actually has a very human dimension.
Nice one.
Get it:
I Am Sitting in a Room

Official Alvin Lucier site here:

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