"I am sitting in a room
, Music on a Long Thin Wire
: some of the least well-known masterpieces of modern experimental music
. It can be a thankless task reinventing music, but Alvin Lucier (1931
- ) has been creating his wonderful, unique music undiscouraged for over fifty years.
Between 1962 and 1970 Lucier taught at Brandeis University. Currently, since 1970, he teaches at Wesleyan University. I have often daydreamed of applying at that college simply to be taught by him, but my limited talent for music prompts other paths.
Lucier began composing in 1952. He is fascinated with the physical aspects of sound, and many of his pieces reflect this. He's explored the transformative acoustic properties of various spaces in pieces like "I am sitting in a room", Vespers, and Chambers, and the beatings produced by close-tuned simultaneous tones in a number of pieces collected on the CD Crossings. A number of his pieces (Music on a Long Thing Wire, The Queen of the South, and Music for Pure Waves, Bass Drums, and Acoustic Pendulums) make visually evident the way sound propagates.
Lucier's music (at least the portion of which I am familiar with) has a stately beauty to it that is surprising given its experimental nature. It often features deep drones that greatly repay the investment of careful attention. Fans of such bands as Stars of the Lid, Dead Voices on Air, or Coil's Time Machines project are likely to find them right up their alley. His joy and wide interest in the unexplored potentials of sound is inspirational, as is the way he has found to wed the physical sciences with the ephemeral realm of music.
Various Liner Notes