Alvin Lucier

Alvin Lucier: Theme

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This CD contains three fascinating and beautiful electroacoustic works by this constantly innovative composer. The hypnotic "Music for Piano with Magnetic Strings" (1995) is realized from prose instructions describing a process for freely positioning five magnetic E-bows (commercial devices first invented for use with electric guitars) about the inside strings of a piano. The pianist concentrates on finding beat patterns and other acoustic phenomena. For "Theme" (1994), a poem by John Ashbery is written out for four vocalists who speak in a normal tone of voice into various resonate vessels (small milk bottle, sea shell, vase, an empty ostrich egg) into which small microphones have been inserted. The effect is somewhat like a pitched chant. The "Music for Gamelan Instruments, Microphones, Amplifiers and Loudspeakers" (1994) uses electronic feedback created by four players placing bowl-shaped bonangs from the gamelan over microphones. The various feedback pitches are then matched as closely as possible by three gender players, the combination of gender and feedback creating beat frequencies throughout the space. The effect is heavenly.

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