Thursday, January 28, 2010

50 Cent Albums: "I Am Sitting In A Room" by Alvin Lucier

one track - complete album (45:23)
available here

And speaking of process (see the last entry), here's Alvin Lucier. Though he has a good number of albums released, he remains relatively unknown outside academic circles, at least compared to his contemporaries in minimalism: Glass, Reich and so on. His work is largely about perception and acoustics, never more so than in the landmark "I Am Sitting In A Room" (1969).

In this piece a simple acoustical recipe is enacted before our ears... as the composer tells us exactly what he is doing. It is as much a science experiment as musical odyssey and in that lies its purity. One would think, therefore, that it could be made by anyone. But Lucier has this knack for making such a perfect piece on a given principle that no-one dare touch it again; a later work would be a mere shadow. (In some ways that is what I feel Basinski's work is.)

"I Am Sitting In A Room" also happens to be a profoundly intimate piece, in which Lucier references his own stuttering. That adds yet another dimension to the crystalline perfection on display.

The first time I heard this it changed my life. Give it a chance when you are chilled out. It may take you unexpected places.


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