USIC Minus the Square Root of Negative 1

= A Plethora of No Longer Neglected Audio/Conceptual Obstacle Courses



The Selections on This Record:


Double Groove Side:

Opening Lock/Loop Groove:"Jeanine Farrall Sneezing" - 1993ev

Groove "#1":

1. " O'Clock - Part I" - 1979/1994ev - :07

2. "dadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadada" - 1976?ev - 1:32

3. "Reintegrated Experiments in Disintegrating Language" - 1978/1985ev - 2:41

4. "Brain & Mikey in Lacquerland" - 1979ev - 1:51

5. "the "Official" Wafer Face Record (Colin Hinz 121 Fishplates mix)" - 1994ev - 3:06

6. " O'Clock - Part II" - 1979/1994ev - :14

Groove "#2":

1. " O'Clock - Part III" - 1979/1994 - :22

2. "A.G.A.I.! A Toast!" {excerpt} - Fall, 1983ev - 2:00

3. "Blade(s) of Grass" - mid 1980s(ev) - 1:50

4. "the "Official", Sunday, August 26th, 1990ev Ringing Rocks Ensemble - 10:15 - 11:00 AM" {excerpt} - 1990ev - 3:30

5."the "Official" Wafer Face Record (Colin Hinz Mutilation mix)" - 1994ev - 4:52

6. " O'Clock - Part IV" - 1979/1994ev - :19

Closing Lock/Loop Groove:" O'Clock Bell(s)" - 1979/1994ev


Single Groove Side:

Opening Lock/Loop Groove:

"dadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadada" [with a line scratching thru it - not shown in this html text]- 1976ev

"Main" Groove:

1. "booed usic at t he telectropheremoanin' quinquennial" (excerpt) - January 24, 1984ev - 6:37

2. "It's Not as Easy as You Might Think to be a Pseudo-Virtuso (#2)" - 1985/1987ev - 7:58

3. "Speed Freak" {excerpt} - 1989ev - 9:37

4. "booed usic Busking at the Murraygate Mall" - August 13, 1988ev - 6:27

Closing Lock/Loop Groove:

"Claudia Strelocke booing" - 1994ev



Choosing wch material to present on this record was difficult. I kept changing my choices until I was so tired of my uncertainty that I decided to stay w/ my last decision & just move on to other aspects of the project (&, even then, I made a last change). Since the production of anything beyond my financial means (such as this record) relies on the support of interested parties/friends & since this support is reasonably economically finite, this may be my last record. As such, I wanted to, at least, exploit the physical possibilities of the record. Hence I decided to use some variety of groove cutting & to choose some material "appropriate" to these types of grooves.

So, the double groove side (what I think of as the 1st side) begins with a lock/loop groove. I wanted to catch the listener's attention by immediately putting them in the position of having to be more actively engaged in the playing of the record (meaning by putting them in the position of having to move the needle if they wanted to hear more than just the beginning loop) & to open it w/ a sound immediately recognizable in a way not commonly associated w/ "music" - since the purpose of this record is to be more "usical" than "musical". Of course, neither of these ideas are particularly fresh (although, they were more-so in the 70s when I 1st started thinking along these lines) but they are relevant to the overall content.

So, I wanted a sneeze & didn't want to use a previously existing sound effects recording of 1, so I set out to record it myself. I had a cold & was sneezing w/ great frequency but I found that every time I felt a sneeze coming on if I reached to turn on the tape recorder the sneeze would be temporarily suppressed.

I could have just left the tape recorder running & stayed in its vicinity but I wanted to use this recording as the master so I wanted the sneeze to be in its place at the beginning. Eventually, I achieved the recording w/ the help of my friend Jeanine. She's allergic to something like 32 things - 1 of the main ones being cat hair. We got cat hair & dust balls & rolled them together & she rubbed them under her nose. Quick results were obtained.

Each of the parallel grooves begins & ends w/ a section of " O'Clock". This is, obviously, the standard clocktower bells melody: the 1st part marks the quarter hour, the 2nd part marks the half hour, the 3rd part marks the 3 quarter hour, & the 4th part marks the hour - w/ the # of bells chimed at its end indicating what the # of the hour is. Depending on wch groove the needle is playing, this section either starts on the quarter hour or the 3 quarter hour. There's less than 15 minutes between these beginnings & endings - further disrupting the standard "time-keeping" function. Both grooves lead into the climax of the looped bell. Hence, " O'Clock": When the hour is chimed, the chiming continues until the needle is removed or the record wears out. "Indefinite O'Clock" might be a more appropriate title.

This was partially inspired by a time when I was playing cards for money w/ a friend of mine in the early 70s. I was losing & my friend wanted to quit while he was ahead. I told him that I'd quit as soon as the record I was playing was over. The record was Lou Reed's "Metal Machine Music" & the side being played was the 4th 1 - the 1 w/ the lock groove. My friend didn't know this. I got myself out of debt in RECORD TIME. This record is partially "about" Record Time.

In between each of the " O'Clock" sections are 4 selections per groove. Some of these have been previously published but, because they were published on tapes in very small editions, few people are likely to've heard them (even fewer than those who'll hear this record!). These recordings were culled to represent some of the ideas most important to my older "audio/conceptual obstacle courses".

"dadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadada" is both the complete title & the complete score. The syllable "da" was chosen for repetition not as a reference to "dada" but because I imagined someone sortof humming a melody to theirself on a bus - using this syllable as their basic phoneme. The # of "da"s was simply the # that the margin settings of my typewriter of the time could fit.

The idea behind this score was that it be extremely simple to realize. All the performer "has" to do is somehow sound the title out loud & if they fuck up, well, it isn't such a disaster. I made recordings w/ friends who wd've never thought of themselves as "performers" otherwise & produced some fine "inanity". A part of the idea was to create a context so narrow that any quirks w/in it, including "performer" mistakes wd become "exciting" novelties in contrast. Predictably enough, not many people find this concept as exciting as I do. The performer, in this case, is myself.

I made a sequel to this w/ a score of 2,730 "la"s covering a sheet of 8&1/2 X 11" typewriter paper in order to try to get away from the "dada" associations & to use the more obvious phoneme but I prefer this older, more "historic" recording. This recording was made possible by the generous loan of Michael Gownley's reel-to-reel. The lo-fi was accomplished w/ poorly shielded mike cables. There are many, many hours of tapes of this.

I was in Europe in early '78. While I was in London I wanted to buy a record that I probably wdn't be able to get very easily in the US. I picked a sound poetry record by "Experiments in Disintegrating Language" & "Konkrete Canticle". I made the mistake of shipping this record back to the US surface rate. As such, when it finally arrived at my home base, it was broken into many pieces. Having already gone thru a phase, w/ my friend Chas Brohawn, of perverting the usual condition of records, this just struck me as more stimulus. I poorly glued the LP back together & made tapes from it. The obvious title was "Reintegrating Experiments in Disintegrating Language".

I'm glad to be finally able to put an excerpt from these tapes out on record where it belongs. I hope that someday someone will put this record thru a similar process of breaking & rerecording (probably me).

From 1978 to 1988 (roughly) I worked off & on as a hard-wood floor finisher. A main part of the job was the application of lacquer. The lacquer used was not water based & gave off intense fumes. My rather "19th century" employer insisted that the lacquer cd only be properly applied w/ a brush & not w/ a roller on a pole.

This meant that we were constantly stooping over our lacquer buckets to dip our brushes in & getting a fairly full fume huffing experience. The resultant "high" was called "going to Lacquerland". Being inclined to "milk" this experience for what it was worth, 2 of my fellow wage slaves (Brian Wolle & Doug Retzler) & I wd "go w/ the flow" of the lacquer feeling & improvise vocally on mythology we'd invent to go along w/ the situation. The other construction workers wd marvel at our ability to tolerate the fumes & wd ask our boss where he found these "nut cases" (or some such).

This selection, from Brian (aka "Herr Brain Storm Drain") & myself is an edit of a few highlights from 1 of the only sessions that we recorded. At 1 point, the mike can be heard accidentally dropping into the lacquer - followed by exaggerated "Uh Oh"s while we attempt to scrub the mike off. Glopping of the "joy juice" can also be heard - as can comparison to smoking flakes.

My 1st (& only other record at this time) is the "Official Wafer Face Record" . Wanting to recycle this in my 2nd record (this 1) I thought of various ways of generating new material from the old. Then I read Colin Hinz's "ASFi" info & found that he was much more accomplished in the area of record manipulation than I am - even going to the extreme of building special turntables.

So, I sent 2 copies of the LP to Colin & asked him to do something w/ them. I decided to use both mixes that he provided me w/ partially so that they cd be side-by-side in the parallel grooves. This enables a 3rd mix to possibly exist if the needle jumps from 1 groove to another.

Colin provided the turntable w/ altered "Official" record & "fishplates" photos. In the "fishplate mix" these metal objects were dropped on the record while it was being played. For more info re his activities along these lines, see "Experimental Musical Instruments - Volume 10 #1 (September 1994)" available from: P.O.Box 784, Nicasio, California, 94946, USA - a highly recommended magazine! [Alas! No longer being published!]

In "Groove #2" there's an excerpt from "A.G.A.I.! A Toast!". A.G.A.I. is an acronymn for: "Avant Garde Alcoholics Identified" - it's also a drinking toast.

This group was jokingly proposed in the late 70s to consist of performer/publisher/etc Kirby Malone, composer/pianist/writer/etc Franz Kamin, & myself. Probably, neither of the other 2 "members" even remember this. Franz probably doesn't drink alcohol at all any more, Kirby may not, & I don't nearly as much as I did at the time.

The story about the circumstances behind this recording is rather long & gone into in substantial detail in both the 1st & 2nd editions of my book How to Write a Resumé: Volume II: Making a Good First Impression - unfortunately, the total # of both editions combined is 318 (at least 2 of wch have been destroyed) & they're both long since unavailable from their publishers. Good luck in finding one. The relevant chapter title is "Three Year Emergency of Fire & Grim".

To make this long story entirely too short: I was living next to a squat of extreme alcoholics. I was invited to contribute to a show at a gallery whose theme was "Emergency". I invited the drunks to participate in order to give the gallery goers a direct taste of the desperation of this life. I transplanted hundreds of filthy Thunderbird brand wine bottles from the floor of their squat to the floor of the gallery.

I had tapes playing from a call-in radio show that I did w/ collaborator Ron Cummings of the "Fingernails on a Blackboard" show at WJHU (back in the days before all interesting activities were censored from there). This call-in show was from a particularly intense night when I was trying to deal w/ my fear that 1 of the drunks was possibly plotting to kill me.

There was an open mike. I distributed joints of undisclosed contents to the attendees to try to heighten the tension & paranoia. To "climax" this aspect, I had my father (who no-one there had met) come dressed as a cop w/ a dog & walk menacingly thru the space.

On this recording you can hear Patty Karl at the open mike suggesting to people that they shdn't smoke the joints - she was suspicious of their contents. You can also hear the singing of 1 of the alcoholics, & the clanking of the bottles (instigated by the participation of Vermin Supreme (my favorite candidate for Mayor) - then known as Bagel Pizazz).

You can also hear another of the drunks chanting: "Hey! Of-fi-cer, Get-Your-Dog, Out-of-Here!" as my father walked thru, & the expert feedback provided by Ron as the recordist.

"Blade(s) of Grass" is a simple example of the possibilities of the "low-budget school" of sound use. I'd like to hear a release of recordings just of the sounds of grass being played.

More low budget sound sources are used on this next selection. There's a park in North East Pennsylvania known for its big boulder field of "ringing rocks" ("natural" lithophones). The "Official" Project took a (boulder) field trip there to improvise & perform its CAMUs (Cue Activated Modular Units - for a thorough explanation of these see the "More Information Than Most People Are Likely to Want to Read" booklet that accompanies the "Official Wafer Face Record").

This excerpt features playing on the rocks by all the players while I begin a "Mime Pathos Verbally Articulated" (1 of Neil's CAMUs) wch is then picked up on by Neil Feather. The other players are: Laura A. Trueseal, Jake T. Unclean, & "unofficial" special guest Alfred Merchlinsky. For more info on lithophones see "Experimental Musical Instruments" again..

So, the single groove side (what I think of as the 2nd side) again begins w/ a lock groove - in this case of a high-pitched squeal w/ static. Often, the equipment that I use I only have access to because it's broken & someone has thrown it away, given it away, or sold it cheaply. In this instance, I was using a reel-to-reel tape recorder w/ extremely low fidelity that barely worked.

It wd record in fast-forward & play back @ 3&3/4ips. This is called: "dadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadada" [with a line scratching thru it - not shown in this html text] because I was attempting realizations of: "dadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadada" but I'd get thwarted &/or sidetracked by technical difficulties w/ the recorder & end up w/ a minute or so of feedback recorded in fast-forward wch cd then be extended to a half-hour or so in playback.

The longer this sound plays, the more it's an audio/conceptual obstacle course for most people. People who specialize in "audio bombardment" almost universally use loudness as the primary tool for overwhelming their audience. I find it much more interesting to just pick a sound that even at very low volume is a distraction that must be "coped" w/. A high-pitched squeal has a "presence" that few people can ignore. Most people prefer to simply stop the sound whenever possible w/ the justification that it's "annoying" or "painful" w/o ever analyzing "why" it might be so. To most people their reaction is so taken for granted that it's as if it's a "self-evident" "fact-of-life" rather than something that cd potentially be, at least, questioned. I suppose, for me, this is a sort of primitive borderline ultrasound research.

Lately, I've been interested in audio danger signals used by non-humans. There are rats (&/or some other small animal) living in the house where I'm staying as I write this & I experiment w/ making high-pitched squeals as a simulated warning signal when I hear them rustling nearby. In every instance, they've stopped moving. Of course, it cd be that their activity wd stop at any sound that wd indicate the presence of a human but I tend to think that there's a more specific mechanism at work here.

The "main" groove of this side has a bit of a "booed usical" thread running thru it. The 1st selection, "booed usic at t he telectropheremoanin'quinquennial", is excerpted from the 1st booed usic presentation at the 5th anniversary celebration of the founding of the Baltimore Underground Telephone Network (B.U.T.N.) held in the Galaxy Ballroom of the Congress hotel.

This event involved Richard X's installation of an in house 3-way telephone system in wch each phone's mouthpiece sent a signal to the "next" phone in the triangle & rc'vd in the earpiece the signal from the "previous" phone. This created the unusual situation of forcing people to communicate thru each other rather than to each other.

Since the 1st 2 telephone "stations" that I'd been involved w/ in the B.U.T.N. had had sexual innuendo names/#s (TESTES-3 & VD-RADIO), my collaborator, Richard, had coined the word "telectropheremones" as the name for the type of signals that we sent via the phone lines - as a reference to an audio correlative to biochemical "mating calls". The transformation of this into "telectropheremoanin'" is an obvious punning extention. Our use of such ideas in '79 may've preceded the introduction of phone sex lines.

For this quinquennial, I had sent a $25.00 money order to a phone sex prostitute w/ the info that I was planning to call at 1:00AM the night of January 24th. Such a way of going about it must have seemed suspicious. My plan was to be on stage while I'd talk w/ the woman & to be masturbating under a Rocky & Bullwinkle sheet. Gradually the booed usicians were to join in & make my background environment seem progressively stranger as I'd "build towards my climax". The phone conversation was to be broadcast to the audience.

On the night that I called, the phone-sex line # was out-of-order. Fortunately, I had a back-up plan to call a friend of mine - who I'll call "Lisa WetLegs". Also fortunately, the considerably more adept talker Buddy Johnson was on hand to talk w/ Lisa so that I wdn't have to do it. I was very drunk & not exactly at the height of competence. Eventually, I asked the audience for phone #s to call & a friend of 1 of the audience members, named "Cindy", was thusly sucked into the process. However, in this excerpt, the "phone sex" is bypassed in favor of just an excerpt from the booed usic.

The booed usicians (& their instrumentation) in this case were:


3 cassette players, voice, telectropheremoans, 3 8-track cartridge players, VCR..

Ron Cummings:

short-wave radio, turntable, cassette player, potentiometer altered loop player, mixing board..

Mark Harp:

cassette player/radio, snare drum, 8-track cartridge player ("destroyed" w/ a screwdriver)..

Leroy Keltner & Craig Considine:


A part of the significance of this event to me was my emphasis on improvising w/ the playback of recordings - what I like to call "concrete mixing". As I got more involved w/ this process, I started making tapes more & more specifically for "performance" purposes. To a certain extent, this record has been structured to make it interesting for active replay use - somewhat as an outgrowth of my designing tapes in that way. The tapes wd be created & selected to represent different concepts that cd be "randomly" picked from & still have them serve their structural function. As such, tapes tended toward texture w/o substantial "development" so that bringing the sound in at any point in its playing on auto-reverse players wd still give me some sort of variation on what I wanted w/o my having to always use the exact same sounds.

In 1985ev, I started recording piano quasi-improvisations wch later became useful for this purpose. In order to make the piano playing somewhat focused & to give it a slightly special sound, I prepared them in various ways. For "It's Not as Easy as You Might Think to be a Pseudo-Virtuoso (#2)" I simply kept every other note (i.e.: a whole tone scale) of a baby grand piano unmuted w/ the help of the select sustain pedal. My playing took this into consideration in various obvious ways that exploited the resultant staccato/sustain contrasts & sympathetic vibrations. Obviously, there's also playing inside the piano. This recording of a half-hour improv was then sped up to 4 times its original speed (& 2 octaves higher). This makes the overall phrasing more obvious & more "virtuosic" (since it's at a speed I'm not capable of playing at). This recording was made in the dining hall of a halfway house for "schizophrenics" during their lunch-time. The ambient sounds are those of their talking & of the tables & chairs being set up.

"Speed Freak"{excerpt} is from 1 of the rare occasions when I had access to the luxury of a 4-track recorder. It's also the "pinnacle" of 13 years or so of playing around w/ mixing materials at various speeds.

This portion has the last 2 of the prepared piano improvs from the series mentioned above + some parts of another series called "Queer Tetes" (4-track material) wch revolved around the conventional instrumentation of: guitar, drums, alto sax, & voice + a synthesizer/drum-machine piece called "Neoist Funeral March for Hope(less)".

Since I often prefer guerrilla presentations to those in established "performance" environments, I was preoccupied w/ how to present my booed usical "concrete mixing" in some more surprising way. W/ the help of my friend Dave Guercio, I built the "Portable Booed Usic Busking Unit / Nuclear Brain Physics Surgery School Lab / Philosopher's Union Member's Mouthpiece / Blatnerphone Hallucinomat" (credit to John Berndt for this latter designation).

This was a battery powered concrete mixing studio installed in a suitcase so that I cd set up almost anywhere & present live mixing of audio tapes, AM & FM radios, PXL-2000 videos, & whatever else I cd plug into the mixers. For a more detailed description of this device read my article in either "Gajoob #5 (Spring 1990)" possibly still available from: P.O.Box 3201, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84110, USA or in "Experimental Musical Instruments - Volume VI #1 (June 1990)" [see address elsewhere] or in the Cassette Mythos book from: AUTONOMEDIA, P.O.Box 568, Williamsburgh Station, Brooklyn, New York, 11211-0568, USA - w/ this latter, you may have better luck ordering it from a bookstore.

This recording is from a use of the busking unit actually busking (i.e.: street performing in an attempt to raise money) at a shopping mall in Dundee in Eastern Scotland. We attracted a much larger crowd than the other nearby busker (an acoustic guitarist playing covers of such things as Simon & Garfunkel songs) but were given almost no money in contrast.

One of the other main buskers in Dundee played muzak versions of pop songs on a cheap keyboard w/ a rhythm machine in it. His versions were close to completely incompetent & I don't recall ever witnessing anyone actually paying any attention to him.

But people wd regularly throw him money. They did pay close attention to us but we so successfully disrupted their knee-jerk reaction to buskers that no money was given. After perhaps 10 to 20 minutes of our playing, someone representing the store that we were in front of made a complaint & the police came & asked us to stop.

The booed usicians (& their instrumentation) in this case were:

tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE: booed usic busking unit..

Laura A. Trueseal: booed usic busking unit..

VEX (Mike Kane): guitar..

L.A.W. (Laura Ann Walker): inaudible chalk drawing..

So, "dadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadada" represents a sort of "archetype" of booed usic, "booed usic at t he telectropheremoanin'quinquennial" is from the 1st presentation officially designated as booed usic, "It's Not as Easy as You Might Think to be a Pseudo-Virtuoso (#2)" represents 1 (of the most conventional) aspects of the booed usical material (perhaps at the opposite extreme of the above-mentioned "archetype"), "Speed Freak" is 1 of the more dense examples of booed usical concrete mixing, & "booed usic Busking at the Murraygate Mall" is representative of the most appropriate social application of booed usic.

Predictably enough, a highly appropriate way to end this booed usical side is to have the closing loop groove be "Claudia Strelocke booing".

Why are these "audio/conceptual obstacle courses"? Admittedly, many other products of mine might fit the bill of fair better. However, I think I can at least accurately claim that the varieties of lo-fi (as opposed to sci-fi) alone presented here will give the hypothetical average person a bit of gordian knotworking in their phre(nome)nology. The specific way of presenting " O'Clock" here is probably the clearest convoluted obstacle course. Attitudes getting in the way of accepting my intellectualization of the inanity of"dadadadadadadada-dadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadada" & "Brain & Mikey in Lacquerland" & "the "Official", Sunday, August 26th, 1990ev Ringing Rocks Ensemble - 10:15 - 11:00 AM" are another course {As long as the inanity isn't intellectualized I can still be accepted as 1 of the "good ole boys"}. The social difficulties represented in the quasi-documentation of "A.G.A.I.! A Toast!" are the drinks. "Blade(s) of Grass" is the out-of-place appetizer. And booed usic is the main course. And, of course..: Jeanine sneezing.., the bells tolling, my equipment squealing, & Claudia booing.. - "audio/ conceptual obstacle courses" all!

This record presents a few samples of some of my more "pro-concept/anti-esthetic" audio projects from '76 to '94 + 2 solicited contributions from record-recycler extraordinaire Colin Hinz. This essay gives the most complete overview of most or all of my formalized explorations with sound attempted yet (covering '74 to '94) in order to put the accompanying record object into a clearer conceptual framework. It is not, however, as complete as it could be. Such a document would be a book & I doubt that I'll ever find anyone to fund such a project of such obscure/oblique value.


The following list categorizes some of my audio activities:



"Dead Man With A Horn"


"Fuer Her"




notes from: Excerpt(s) From: &/or 4 Retiring _:

"have performers hit certain spots chasing each other around"

"1 oo for every human seen..."

a page full of la

"Listening Score"

from: publicity stunts (my growth as an obscuro):

"cue card(s)"

"shoot (a) blank(s) in t he dark"

"c shell(s) as (a) hearing aid(s)"



from: Excerpt(s) From: &/or 4 Retiring _:

"profile drawing of face smoking cigar on graph paper"

""2D" exercise"

"Sound Along With t he Bounding Ball(s)" [16mm film]





"t he booed usicians"

"Cobbley World Fellowship"

"Something That Dissolved the Shadow of Something That Was Next to Something That Burned Twice, Once"

"Volunteers Collective"

wandering nameless wind ensemble


"Crab Feast"

"Klauhütte Bangzeit 200(0)"

"the "Official" Project"




"booing loop"

"Car Tridge"

"Clap Track"

"Compliments to Vesna"


""Official" fake partying"

"Portable Booed Usic Busking Unit / Nuclear Brain Physics Surgery School Lab / Philosopher's Union Member's Mouthpiece / Blatnerphone Hallucinomat"

from: publicity stunts (my growth as an obscuro)

"cue card(s)"

"shoot (a) blank(s) in t he dark"

"c shell(s) as (a) hearing aid(s)"


wandering nameless wind ensemble



"Alpha Waves Off the Hook"

"Self Explanatory Rather Than Untitled"



from: publicity stunts (my growth as an obscuro)

"c shell(s) as (a) hearing aid(s)"

"listening score"



"computer etc"

Excerpt(s) From: &/or 4 Retiring _:


Detane Showpiece? <- Why Bother?:

"&/or a showpiece for retiring _____/denated"

"Bi-Monthly (temporarily, at least)"

"Dead Man With A Horn"

"piece 4 voices & drums (temporarily, at least)"

"The Plastic Box Contents Etc (temporarily, at least)"

"Roll Expectations - Copulatory Muzak"




film plans:

"breath footsteps"




"speaker moving - filmed as score"



"finished" titled pieces (not included elsewhere):

"the piece itself"

"The Strump"

"Telephone Piece"

graphic notation:

"profile drawing of face smoking cigar on graph paper"

""2D" exercise"


"area designed 2 effect sound"

"can't say: as i have"

"chorus of identical twins people"

"contrast extended "fantastically""

"different names for deliberately different personality approaches"


"Elsa Schiaparelli's Musical Notes Dress"

"environmental notation systems"

"fingering notation"

"foot pedals / loop rolls"

"guitar playing with material distinction"

"have performers hit certain spots chasing each other around"

"induced dizziness"

"induced itching"

"instruments played X players not holding them"

"interval between d & g"

"lightbulb after-image"

"1 oo 4 every human seen.."

"record cut for needle fluctuation etc."

"repetition with variety thru harmonics"

"score pages that multiply while sound duration decreases"

"speaker ripping"



"using objects of varying properties as score"

"growing brain(s)"

"Nuclear Brain Physics Surgery School"

publicity stunts (my growth as an obscuro):

"testing t he power of blief"

"cue card(s)"



"restructure t he universe"

"shoot (a) blank(s) in t he dark"

"c shell(s) as (a) hearing aid(s)"

"Score for Mauricio Kagel"



"Brain Waves Goodbye"

"15 Hours of Video at "30" Times Its Original Speed"

"Movie Trivia/Bob Cobbing/Hypnopedagogy"

"the "Official" John Lennon's Erection as Blocking Our View Homage & Cheese Sandwich"

"You Haven't Heard the Record, You Haven't Read the Book, Now! Don't See the Movie!"



"88.1FM -> 88.1FM"

"962-0210/SATIRIS call in to WJHU"

"Paranoia/Fear - October 27 - 28, 1983"

"PAUSE FOR (Radio Play Only)"



"Sound Thinking"

"Sound Thinking: Phase 2: Program Notes"



"Baloney Sandwich"

"Baltimore Underground Telephone Network"

"88.1FM -> 88.1FM"

"the "Official" Project"




"Compliments to Vesna"

"Photo Albums for Duchamp {w/ Laura} for the S.C.P."

"Sound Thinking: Phase 2: Program Notes"

"Tender Buttons"


Where to start? I've procrastinated on writing an essay like this for at least the last 8 years. I don't usually procrastinate but the enormousness of this task is too intimidating. Trying to describe my often fragmented & poorly documented experiments & thoughts in a way that gets to the essence of what I still might consider valuable about them requires digging into a past that I don't often feel that I have time for. But, if I don't do it no one else is likely to. So here it is:

Largely ignoring my early years of hated piano lessons from ages 6 to 9; discovering Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band, Cream, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, the Mothers of Invention, Soft Machine, the Fugs, the Incredible String Band, Bonzo Dog Band, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Olivier Messiaen, Edgard Varèse, John Cage, Erik Satie, Iannis Xenakis, etc as a teenager; playing 12 string guitar, piano, violin, & harmonica; experimenting with a very primitive reel-to-reel tape recorder that only took 3" reels; being a drifter folk musician; etc, etc.. - in other words, all those pre-teen & teen years from which no residue of significance exists (other than some of my record collection) - I'll start with my 1st almost coherent "d composition": "Dead Man With A Horn":

{the 1st substantial mentions of some of the more clear "turning point" concepts which indicate the beginnings of their discussions are marked in 9 point double underlining}

"Dead Man With A Horn" was significant because it was my 1st "original" "audio" piece (it's never been performed & probably never will be..). My 1st piece & I called it a d composition. It was a d composition & I was (& still am) a d composer for various reasons. Since I was trying to progress beyond the lineage that I most admired, I wanted to establish a firm deviant base to work from. D composing seemed to do the trick. The implication was that my primary interest was in analyzing sound & applying my analysis irrespective of previously respected compositional processes. Rather than build sound, I would take it apart.

This piece has a sparse text - the title & text came from my friend Mr. Right's Bix Biederbecke "poem biography" ("Mr. Right" is referred to elsewhere as Herr Brain Storm Drain & Brian Wolle). His title was a take-off on the Bix bio "Young Man With A Horn". He figured that since Biederbecke was dead that his title was more appropriate. Another d composing meaning. As the joke goes: I'm following the later work of all the great pre-twentieth century composers, I'm decomposing. Since I was a very d liberate "fuck-up" in high school & graduated with a "D" average (the lowest passing grade), the name "d composing" is also a reference to doing things in d liberately "fucked-up" ways in order to produce unconventional results that might plow up raw fresh ground.

The full title might be "Dead Man With A Horn (Version #1 - "Satisfactorily", "Permanently", "Unfinished") - An Exercise Routine". The score basically consists of 13 sheets with notation for 4 "electric bang vibrato slide guitars" (solid body electric guitars with vibrato bars meant to be played with slides & with the tip of the vibrato bars banging on 1 or more of the strings), 3 electric pianos, 1 "breath horn" (probably a cornet played partially, if not entirely, by breathing into it rather than blowing into it), 1 metronome, & 1 voice.

The guitarists were each supposed to play in their own rhythm: "cha-cha", "belly dance", "samba", "hemiola" - since each note is followed by a rest & there are no durations other than quarter & half notes, how this was to be accomplished was (& still is) beyond me [see the notes re "decomposition"]. The tempo is quarter note = 40/Grave - creating another rhythmic challenge. If I recall correctly, the note durations were all determined by a Morse Code subtext! I don't recall what it was &, at the moment, I'm in too much of a hurry to move on to later d velopments to try to d code it, but I think that half notes = dashes & quarter notes = dots. I suppose it could accurately be said that this is "d cadence" [again, see "decomposition" notes].

Minimal "extended technique" instructions are given such as: "fingernail scrape" (scraping the wound guitar strings) & "picked close to bridge". The volume is supposed to progress from maximum available to inaudible in an evenly regulated way. 3 additional sheets of the score which have view slots cut into them are to be superimposed over pages 4 &/or 12 &/or 13. The possible permutations being, according to my old notes, 27 X the # of players. The duration of each possible realization is supposedly approximately 7:00. Multiply this by 27 & you get 189 minutes. The original instructions specify that each recorded version is to be erased after 1 hearing! This type of radical (& impractical) restriction is precisely what makes my early d compositions still interesting to me today.

"Dead Man With A Horn" was d composed when I was 20 & 21 in the 2nd half of 1974ev (the date on the score reads "4 4 21" which probably means that it was left "permanently" "unfinished" sometime around the 4th day of the 4th month of my 21st year - i.e.: January 8, 1975ev - the alternative dating system being representative of 1 of many attempts to get away from the [despised] christianity of the standard calendar). It became part of "Detane Showpiece? <- Why Bother?" which, in turn, became enclosed in a folder labelled "Excerpt(s) From: &/or 4 Retiring _".

One portion of "Detane.." that was actually performed is called "Saucy". This basically consists of the following "evocative" instructions:

a beginning..................:10

a middle.....................:10

an end.......................:10

melt the above..:06, :07, or :08

revel in........:03, :04, or :05

revel out.......:03, :04, or :05

simulate a tooth decay soundtrack..:06, :07, or :08

pretend you're...............:10

snow-bound in the Alps..:03, :04, or :05

The Alps?....................:10

melt the above..:06, :05, or :04

read the score..:06, :05, or :04

aloud...........:03, :04, or :05

While, in many ways, I find this score to be completely silly, that doesn't mean that I don't appreciate its revolutionary calculated absurdity. I like getting the beginning, the middle, & the end "over with" right away. I like the "applied metaphor" challenge of "melt the above". I like the pun of asking the performers to "revel in" (easy enough) being followed by "revel out" (how to?). I like the difficulty posed by the line breaks of "pretend you're..snow-bound in the Alps..The Alps?" - being "snow-bound" partially meaning, in this case, being under the influence of heroin. Obviously, "pretend you're" for 10 seconds becomes completely transformed by being followed by "snow-bound in the Alps" which, in turn, is transformed by "The Alps?".. - etc, etc..

In keeping with the grandiosity I was striving for, "Excerpt(s) From: &/or 4 Retiring _" comes with instructions that it's not to be performed unless the prelude is performed 1st - & the "prelude" would be a challenge to the most powerful Multi-National conglomerate. This prelude has 2 parts: the 1st specifies that the equator of the earth must be encircled by a giant replica of the NYC Woolworth building (scheduled to be designated a ready-made by Marcel Duchamp) with its top & base meeting + determining the average height of all earth buildings & then playing all buildings conforming to said height (give or take 1 mile!) & the equator encircler with explosives!

The 2nd calls for discouraging human birth by having the "pervading vibration" convey the message to the to-be-born that they'll be sued for insurance fraud since, reincarnatedly speaking, they didn't "really" die - so their "bereaved" shouldn't have collected insurance money. Furthermore, the performers are given the option to "impregnate everything" & are given "freedom from the resposibility 4 their off-spring"!


For the most part, "scores" that have been put into this folder have been "retired" since meeting the requirements of the prelude is highly improbable. Scores that were chosen for retirement were sometimes semi-incoherent & highly cryptic fragments that I didn't anticipate refining to a practical level. Another sample of the grandiose includes the proposing of drastic contrasts such as that between a "barely audible sine wave & a nova". On the more practical end was the suggestion to:

look at lightbulb

retain after-image

look elsewhere

- the idea being to superimpose the comic symbol of the idea overtop something else in order to stimulate inspiration.

Another idea was to make records that would be a sort of obstacle course for the needle. How the needle would navigate would determine what the listener would hear. At least 1 record has been made along the lines of what I was thinking (by the "Haters" apparently) &, of course, many slightly less ambitious variations (such as this 1) have also been realized.

This folder was mainly assembled in '76 & '77 around the same time that I was working on my 1st book:

"t he book

t he referent 4 wch consists of

t he non-materialized transparent punch-outs from a letter/whatever stencil"

The actual printing of this book (edition of 432?) may have marked my transition into more practically realizable projects. "Excerpt(s) From: &/or 4 Retiring _" wasn't even supposed to be opened (except to deposit new contents) until I would be ready to realize the prelude. I actually adhered to this restriction for something like 10 to 15 years! As such, I find returning to it now to be a somewhat strange experience.

"decomposition" is a more concise extrapolation of "Dead Man With A Horn". It's also unfinished & unperformed. Its score is considerably thicker. There are even "parts" for each player - all with their "windows" tediously cut out! It almost amazes me that I went to so much trouble.. Its instrumentation is, once again, for 4 "electric bang vibrato slide guitars" & voice - but without the electric pianos & with the "breath horn" replaced by "in progress" - which may've left the instrumentation up to the imagination of the performer. The score even comes with a 25 page booklet that shows 3125 of the possible overlay permutations in numerical representation!

Again, it's called "an exercise routine". Some unclear aspects of "Dead Man.." are a little better specified: "western harmonic orientation is expanding away from unison / the expansion can be facilitated if every harmonic progression leaves unison further behind / then the gist of the progression is an active repulsion by the parts / to separate into constituent parts or elements / to decay: putrify / decadent dances / decompose - to analyze / the act process or result of decomposing / tango, twist, charleston, strip tease / decadent beyond recognition due to rhythmic imposition of international morse code". So, at least the absurdity of the rhythmic aspect is explained. It's further stated that the "bang" technique is to be restricted to the lowest "E" string. This is dated as "9 or 10 22" which I now interpret as meaning May or June of 1976ev.

"Sound Thinking" was also conceived of sometime around this time. What I usually mean by "Sound Thinking" is the process of reading a text which cannot be understood unless it's read phonetically. When this phonetic reading is read silently an interesting quasi-paradox is created. E.g.: in order for the text "r u the 1 i c?" to be understood as the text "Are you the one I see?" the mind must substitute the words for the letter abbreviations by thinking of their sounds & recognizing them as the same sounds of the words. Otherwise, the initial text "makes no sense". Much of my writing from these times used phonetic abbreviations/substitutions in order to activate this thought process.

It seems to me that this could be extended much further into a strange realm of immaterialism!

From the more practical side of this period comes:

"dadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadadada" which, being represented on this record, is described in the "Selections" section.

My 1st "Listening Score" also comes from the mid 70s. It consists of instructions to pick the sound most immediately annoying to the listener & to then block & unblock the ears. The purpose of this was to encourage the listener to creatively take control over how they heard something that bothered them in order to increase their feeling of control & tolerance without their having to suppress the "source" of annoyance. The individualist anarchist implications of this should be obvious.

Another score, which I'll call the "growing brain(s)" score, suggests recording the sound of a growing brain & amplifying it in such a way so that it starts from mono to rapidly expanding stereo - even going so far as to suggest having the room expand that the speakers are on the walls of [the score is actually a bit more "abstract" - i.e.: it doesn't restrict the technical means]. This was an experiment in expanding consciousness.

"Baloney Sandwich" was also conceived in the mid '70s. The idea was to have 2 balls built that would be sturdy enough to withstand being kicked around. One ball was to emit a sine wave (or some other simple wave form) of 20 cycles per second & the other was to produce another sine wave (or whatever) of 20,000 c.p.s. The basic idea was that these were the 2 parameters of the supposed approximate range of human hearing. I was implying in the title that any limitation is a bunch of "baloney". These balls were meant to be kicked around as a ruleless game - preferably in a dark cave.

"Reintegrated Experiments in Disintegrating Language" comes from 1978ev as does the beginning of my working in Laquerland (both written about in "Selections.."). Later in '78, I began the "Nuclear Brain Physics Surgery School" project. This is my (still ongoing) ultimate status symbol school that's extremely easy to graduate from. Forget about being a mere nuclear physicist or a mere brain surgeon! All you have to do to graduate is sleep through a lesson (sometimes called a lesion). I made the 1st lesson & had 10 people sleep through it. Then each of them created a 9 minute segment of the next lesson which was slept through by the next graduating group of 10. These lessons are not listened to while awake! THESE LESSONS ARE NOT LISTENED TO WHILE AWAKE! (I can't emphasize this enough

There have only been 4 lesions in the last 16 years! These tapes will finally be heard by the graduates while they are awake after the 10th lesson has been slept through or when I feel that I'm close to death or after I die. Given the slowness of the process, the latter is more likely.

The 1st 2 Nuclear Brain Physics Surgery'S'cool lessons were recorded on 8-track cartridges because they were the most convenient tape loop format. Auto-Reverse cassette players either didn't exist yet or, if they did, were definitely beyond my economic means. Other 8-track projects were generated for much the same reason. "Car Tridge" was an 8-track of vehicle sound effects punctuated by silence. This was meant to be played in a car. The basic idea was that an unsuspecting passenger or driver would be startled by the sudden sound of a siren or a crash or a door slam, etc, without being able to see the(ir) origin(s). Cartridges were also convenient for rearranging material by simply pressing the channel changer. My "over & under currents à là id ntity" was a crude subversion of a blues & jazz festival tape made in this way. An excerpt from this is on "USIC - 1". It was meant to be used as a background tape by a blues &/or jazz band (or some such).

Other 8-track cartridge projects were the 1979ev "0 HR" piece which later developed into the " O'Clock" piece presented on the Double Groove Side of this record (& discussed in "Selections..") & the 1980ev Maryland Biennial installation at the Baltimore Museum of Art entitled "Self Explanatory Rather Than Untitled". The circumstances behind this sound installation (the only 1 in that Biennial - if not the only 1 ever to be in the Baltimore Museum of Art by that time) are described in the "the bzzz & clik universe.. ..Segues into the 1980ev Maryland Biennial" chapter of my book How to Write a Resumé - Volume II: Making a Good First Impression. The cartridge player was so (typically) shoddy, that my going to the museum to force the tape into playing became a feature of the installation.

1979ev was a busy year. It marked the main beginning of a fertile collaboration with Doug Retzler (then dubbed "Sumu Pretzler") & Richard (Ellsberry) & various others in our circle of friends. Doug & I worked in "Lacquerland" together (see the "Selections.." notes), the 3 of us founded the B.U.T.N. (Baltimore Underground Telephone Network) with its 1st station: TESTES-3, & we founded the B.O.M.B. (Baltimore Oblivion Marching Band) (aka: "no name interaction/reaction group" & "a roving band of defiant youths"). Independently, I created what is now called the "Side 1 / Side 2" tape & the booklet of scores called "publicity stunts (my growth as an obscuro)".

TESTES-3 was a phone # (837-8373 for those of you who don't have phones with letters accompanying the #s) that we advertised anonymously - that could be called to hear & respond to answering machine messages. These messages were almost completely culled from the responses with no explanation provided. We were deliberately mysterious. All 6 hours of the outgoing tapes were published by Widemouth Tapes & were the 1st tapes that I ever had published. It's significant that my 1st published tapes were from an interactive guerrilla project & very distorted & noisy. Many stories & articles from this period explaining such projects in greater detail are presented in the afore-mentioned How to Write a Resumé - Volume II: Making a Good First Impression. Tapes from 2 of the 3 other main telephone stations that I was involved with (VD-RADIO & (301)962-0210) are also available from Widemouth.

VD-RADIO replaced TESTES-3 & we ceased to be anonymous & expanded our interactive possibilities. On the occasion of "coming out of the TESTES-3 closet" (the answering machine had been hidden in my closet & most of the callers seemed to think we were homosexuals (which we weren't)) we threw a 66 hour long party during which the entire 66 hour TESTES-3 reel-to-reel audio archive of all of the outgoing & incoming messages was played while the partiers tried to stay awake for the whole experience (only Doug succeeded)!

VD-RADIO's expanded capabilities included having extention phones in 3 different houses, having people answer the phones for more personal interaction, giving the callers the chance to mail us tapes to play on our answering machine, etc, etc..

(301)962-0210 expanded this even further by taking advantage of new phone services such as call forwarding. We offerred our callers the option of having our calls forwarded to their home #. This made them "hosts" without having to take the risk of giving their phone #s out to anyone other than us. In the early days of having call forwarding, it was sometimes difficult to get the calls to go back to the original # when the call forwarding was no longer desired. Given that these temporary hosts were often, if not always, young people living with their parents taking advantage of their parents' brief absences, this created a few tense situations.

We realized that recording touch-tone sequences on our outgoing message tape could result in the answering machine making outgoing calls if incoming callers hung up in time for a dial tone to reach our playing tape. We exploited this. We rigged a way for callers to have "remote control" conversations with each other by leaving messages on our tape which could be heard by future callers who could then respond in kind. "Accumulation" was another important experiment conducted at this time. My "& the Deadbeat Goes On & On & On.." essay (possibly to be published) discusses the behavior modification implications of this latter. Our last telephone station, AGENT-11 extended this even further by using 2 answering machines simultaneously!

B.O.M.B. was our guerrilla marching band which interpolated itself into various public situations (usually uninvited) for every weekend for a few months. Our most famous action was at the 3 Mile Island Nuclear Plant's Visitor's Center during the height of their nuclear crisis in early April of '79. The audio element of this was secondary to the stirring-up-mischief-with-our-presence aspect but we did make minor rackets with toy instruments & tape recordings, etc.. (a little of B.OM.B.'s premier can be heard on "USIC - 1").

"publicity stunts (my growth as an obscuro)" is a set of scores "commissioned" (no money) by flautist Steve Brookes. These are basically in the spirit of "Excerpt(s) From: &/or 4 Retiring _". This set consists of 7 scores - all prose instructions (all using some elements of the "Sound Thinking" technique). The 1st, & most complex 1 [only page 1 of which is presented here], is as follows:

testing t he power of blief1 & ur abilit 2 blieve2 X dciding 2 blieve something3 initially unblievable 2 ur public &, challengingly (but, not mandatorily), 2 urself & imperceptible 2 both u & ur public

(caution: this isn't a test of ur abilit 2 convince)

dcide what u'l blieve & dscribe it on t he tops of ps 2 & 3 of this or elsewear if t he space provided is insufficient & have ur public testify 2 it's imperceptibilit on the spaces provided on p 2 X signing & dating & providing their addresses & phone #s (or whatever) so that they can b contacted

have them testify on p 3 if & when that which u blieve (or attempt 2) bcomes perceptible 2 them

provide them with t he means 2 contact u

1as manifestos

2in2 manifestation

3in2 perceptible manifestation

Obviously, such a score isn't confined to sound - but it is a conceptual obstacle course of sorts. My other "Listening Score" is the last of the scores in this set & it suggests using sea shells as hearing aids during concerts (a practice I have followed).

"Side 1 / Side 2" is a sort of archetype of how to deal with poverty in an attempted creative way. Since I'm very good at conceiving of "outlandish" ideas such as the ones outlined here & very, very bad at making money, I've usually worked under impoverished conditions (that've often managed to be bizarrely luxurious at the same time?!). This usually means broken equipment.

In late '79 I had 2 broken reel-to-reel audio decks. One of them had a working motor but only played back in 1 channel & the other didn't have a working motor but recorded in both channels. Both of them generated alotof noise/hiss. Using the 1 with the working motor to drive both decks, I set up a tape delay system - since such a set-up only required the working motor deck to play in 1 channel.

The only sounds used were those generated by the machines themselves. Thus the most broken qualities of the 2 were used as the focal point of the piece. The combination of the 2 decks only working to record in combination with each other "naturally" suggested tape delay. The quantity of their noise "naturally" suggested itself as source material. The result is "Side 1" - 45 minutes of subtly throbbing hiss. Many people might find it "relaxing" in the same way that they'd find white noise used to simulate ocean waves for background. "Side 2" used the same set-up except that a single cymbal crash was used as the initial sound before the system was repatched to being self-contained. As such, "Side 2" is a cymbal crash "ending" prolonged through transformation into hiss over 45 minutes. "Side 1 / Side 2" can be heard in its entirety as K7S on démo tapes & in excerpt on "USIC-1".

The end of 1979ev also marked the beginning of 2 successors to B.O.M.B.: Crab Feast & wandering nameless wind ensemble. I won't go into the former here. The nameless ensemble wandered the streets of Baltimore in the winter of '79 & '80 playing alto saxes, clarinets, & a bass clarinet (as I recall). This group was started by Chris Mason & played in by Cris Cheek (from London), & myself (amongst others).

Our playing (especially mine) was mostly abysmally incompetent but as we walked through alleys people would come out on their back porches & smile appreciatingly in response. A dog's appreciation can be heard on the "USIC - 1" selection. One acquaintance of ours encountered us passing by twice & joined us both times - 1 time playing recorder & another time playing alto sax. One guy even told me that I played like John Coltrane! Needless to say(?), I was flattered, but I must say he was particularly numb to subtlety.

In early '81(?), I assembled my 1st multiple copy sampler cassette entitled "USIC - 1". This tape is very raw. The "usic - 1" title is a take-off on "Music Minus One" records that are made for musicians to practice with. One of these records might feature a jazz band without a drummer so that a novice jazz drummer could play along. My title implies my desire to have the tape's recipient use it in some way a bit more active than the usual. It's a quasi-document of a desperate plunge into the pool of social noise. I think of it as another excellent example of the potential resourcefullness of the so-called "fuck-up" attitude.

So you don't have the money for hi-fi recording facilities? Then record it on whatever you have access to & exploit the lo-fi. Distort the recordings even more by continually peaking them, focus on the noises of brokenness, explore & react to the social/political significance of your poverty, USE WHAT YOU HAVE ACCESS TO - NOT WHAT YOU'RE TOLD YOU NEED BY PEOPLE WHO HAVE MORE THAN YOU OR WHO USE THEIR NOT HAVING CERTAIN THINGS AS AN EXCUSE FOR NOT DOING ANYTHING. Not surpisingly though, these days I'm happy to be able to work outside of such a focus for a change! I have gotten incredibly sick of using only broken equipment..

"USIC - 1" is impoverished lo-fi residue from "extremist" activities. Even a bit from the TESTES-3 secret society like intrigue with reporter Franz Lidz (written about in my How to Write.. book in the "Lidznap" chapter) is included as the beginning of the 2nd side. A slight novelty of the tape structure is that the sections overlap each other to create transitions & to combine everything into a more united whole.

A variation on this was my "an intermediate simultaneity preposition: Transmission Linkage For Changing Gears" contribution to "Jacksonian March - An Anthology of Invisible Local(e)s".

Sometime in 1978ev, Chris Mason founded Widemouth Tapes as part of the Merzaum Collective. In 1981ev, Chris was leaving to live in Amsterdam for a year or so & wanted to hand WM over to someone else. Patty Karl & I were willing, & almost able, so we took it on (for a more thorough history of Widemouth [which later developed into démo & Widémouth] get a copy of the "Widemouth Sampler"). This intensified my involvement with cassette use & with home-taper tape trading. I've always been more in favor of tapes than records & CDs. Unlike these latter, tapes can be produced 1 at a time or in whichever quantity is convenient. Tapes are cheap. As such, they're more appropriate & flexible for a wide variety of personal applications. One-of-a-kind tapes can easily be made for special friends, etc.. Tapes can be erased & reused. When I 1st started with Widemouth, I never popped the erase prevention tabs on the tapes that I sent out. This was a way of showing openness to recycling. Of course, all formats have their unique qualities, but tapes are still the best means of distributing sounds for poor people that I know of.

Both "Dead Man With A Horn" & "decomposition" had their "accidentals" (sharps & flats) notated after their notes rather than in the conventional way before them. This was an accident. I notated it that way because that's the way the note name is said (i.e.: note name followed by accidental, e.g.: "G sharp"). When I was crudely learning to read conventional "western" musical notation as a teenager I ignored the "accidentals" as "unimportant" (& too much trouble) - this is the "classic" "fuck-up" approach.

In 1981, the anecdote was related to me that Beethoven's "Für Elise" had actually been originally entitled "Für Therese" but that Beethoven's handwriting was illegible to the copyist & the piece became retitled "Für Elise" in the process (imagine the emotional entanglements that that might've caused!). In my copy of the score to it the title is semi-transliterated as "Fuer Elise" in order to get rid of the diacritical points. Inspired by this legendary mistake, & reflecting back on my own "accidents", I decided to retitle "Fuer Elise": "Fuer Her" - thusly generalizing the dedication to an unspecific woman & making a pun which might imply the dictatorship of "not making mistakes" (or the leadership of "going with the flow" of making mistakes - since Führer means "leader").

My further alteration of Beethoven was to remove all accidentals as I would have when I would've played the piece as a teenager. This was then recorded by a classical pianist friend named Amy Plamondon. Amy's comment about the absent sharps (& flats - if there were any) was something to the effect of "it really doesn't make much difference, does it?".

On May 30th of '82, I presented a 1 night audio installation entitled "Alpha Waves Off the Hook" in the bar of the Charles Street location of Second Story Books. In the bar there was a pay phone surrounded by a large plastic "sea-shell" shape that was a left-over from when the building had housed a posh hair salon. I phoned this phone from my apartment &, after having the person who answered it leave the phone off the hook, I played a repeating record of simulated "ocean waves" into my handset. Thus, when someone at the bar went to find out who was on the phone, they heard the "waves" coming from the "sea-shell phone" much as 1 is supposed to hear the "waves" when 1 puts one's ear to a real sea-shell. I hung out in the bar to watch reactions. Every once in a while I'd have to go home & call again when someone would hang up the "sea-shell" phone.

Sometime around '82 or '83, I started my "Clap Track" project. This involved me carrying around a hidden battery operated tape player with a speaker in it & loaded with a loop tape of enthusiastic applause. When I would shake hands with someone I'd press the play button with my other hand to recontextualize our meeting in the audio environment of a "reknowned" event. This clap track was also used to boost audience response. This was followed at some point (probably around 1986ev) by a "booing loop".

1983ev was my main year for radio projects - largely thanks to the collaboration of WJHU DJ Ron Cummings & to WJHU DJ Steve Stec. The 1st 1 in '83 I sometimes call "PAUSE FOR (Radio Play Only)". In January, I was invited to do something on Steve's "Pop Tunes" show on the 31st.

On the morning before the show, an article appeared in Baltimore's largest newspaper advertising my show & giving an overview of some of my "mad scientist" activities. It came out in the article that Steve didn't know what I had planned & that I wouldn't reveal my plans in advance:

"He will say this: "It's unlike anything I've ever heard on the radio."

Which baits the question, is it obscene?

"No," he says at first. Then, on second thought, he adds, "Well, if it's obscene, it's obscene in the way radio is always obscene.""

The article went on to describe me thusly:

"Some of his discomforting acts of "mad scientism" include stamping paper currency with the word "Counterfeit," standing in empty parking places and asking motorists to "pay me to go away," or parading through the streets with a sandwich board sign that reads "Kill Normality Before It Kills You.""

Keep in mind that WJHU was only something like a 1 watt station at the time with a maximum broadcast range of only a few miles. Nonetheless, when representatives of JHU read this article they panicked! When I arrived at the station that night, the full station board of directors was present. Their representative idiot, the station manager, demanded to know what I was planning to do. It was obvious that their idea of my probable "radical" behavior was that I'd get on the air & say something trite like "Fuck you Motherfucker!". They were very nervous & pissed. Since I was expecting something like this to happen, I came prepared with a hidden tape recorder to document my interactions. I gave them my tape that I was planning to play & they took it into another room to play it.

All the tape consisted of was station identifications punctuated by silence. The idea was that when people would read the article, & became interested, tried to tune in WJHU they'd just hear other station IDs & assume that they'd gotten the wrong channel. This would hopefully lead to their trying to tune in the "right channel" unsuccessfully. The result would be that they'd all be performing their own realizations of my piece without even realizing it by playing their radio as an instrument!

When the "Board" listened to the tape, they couldn't believe that this was really what I was planning to play. I was asked if there was another tape or something else on the tape that they hadn't heard. When I told them no they were very perplexed. Where was the "radical" content they were so afraid of? Why would anyone want to play something like this on the radio? They called their lawyer & were advised that it was probably against FCC regulations to play other stations' IDs - &, besides, it was obviously undesirable to have "silence" "on the air" because people wouldn't be able to get the station (heh, heh)! Hence, the show was cancelled & Steve was penalized by being "taken off the air" for 2 weeks or so. Residue from this project can be heard on the "In Another Context" compilation.

In the summer of '83 I made the 16mm film "Sound Along With t he Bounding Ball(s)". This is basically a film of ping-pong balls bouncing around on the keys of a player piano that has a roll of "You Light Up My Life" activating it at times. At other times, a roll that I made from drapery samples is put where the usual rolls would be. This roll was too full of holes to work as a player piano roll though. The purpose of this film was to stimulate the audience to respond to it as graphic notation & thusly provide the soundtrack for the film. I find this film to be not very interesting to watch anymore & it was always very hard to get audiences to get into the spirit of it - but I still like the idea. It should be redone in a way that would increase the chance of audience participation.

Of course, the whole idea is a take-off of the "Sing-Along With the Bouncing Ball" type of film that I'm interested in as 1 of the few examples of mainstream audience participation films. A version of this with various booed usician soundtracks from my 1986ev "6 Fingers Crossed Country T.Ore/Tour" overdubbed is presented on my "Vaudio" compilation.

From 9PM the night of July 28th, '83 to 6AM the morning of July 29th, Ron Cummings presented his "USIC &/OR USICALITY - 1" special consisting only of my recordings. This is the only time I've been so honored. Ron made loops from TESTES-3 material especially for the show & played such things as the entire "Side 1" & "Brain & Mikey in Lacquerland" - he treated this latter with various live manipulation techniques that were the hallmark of his show. He'd have labyrinths of tape loops running across the studio space. I've since used an excerpt from this latter as a soundtrack for my movie "Seriousness is Death". As is described elsewhere, Ron & I later collaborated on the "Paranoia/Fear" radio show in October which led into the "A.G.A.I.! A Toast!" recording.

"88.1FM -> 88.1FM": Because many (if not all) of the radio stations in the US that are "permissive" enough to "allow" experimentation are college stations with low wattage in the 88.1FM range, I've long wanted to meander around the country recording continuously off the 88.1 setting to create a very long audio piece that would fade in & out of static, multiple signals received, & whatever 88.1 would be broadcasting whenever its signal would be strong enough to pick up. If an itinerary were sent in advance to all of these stations, they could plan what to be broadcasting at that time. This is the kind of project I'd be famous for in the art world if I were a good grant writer & taught music at a small & very expensive New England university.

Sometime in '83, Ron, Leanne Johnson (another JHU DJ), & I made the prototypical trip from 88.1FM (WJHU - the station of the Johns Hopkins plantation [uh] University) to 88.1FM (WMUC - the station of the University of Maryland).

"Compliments to Vesna" was another "guerrilla" use of the tape recorder. As an absurd overkill bit of courtship flattery, I goaded people into complimenting my friend Vesna Miksiç & recorded them doing so. To make this more impressive, I promised to publish excerpts from the tape & to distribute it internationally - which I did on the "Laughingstock" compilation &, again, on "10 YRS IN 10(T)'S". This was my way of being simultaneously "innocently" charming & "completely" cynical.

On January 24, 1984ev, I presented the 1st of my "booed usic" "didactions" (written about in "Selections.."). Years later, I've learned of Spike Jones' "Music Depreciation" concept. I wish Spike were alive today so that I could shake his hand & pull his false arm off. Amongst other "1sts" for me, this was the 1st time I introduced this concept of framing 1 of my audio presentations as a deliberately unpopular use of sound. This was surprisingly well received by the audience - negative psychology at work? It was also my 1st sound dominated presentation that also used projected images (in this case my "Subtitles (analysis projector transfer..version)").

On easter weekend of '84, my friend Dave Bakker & I took 4 friends deeply into a cave complex for the 24 hour "Sinnit-Nut Hollow Earth Symposium". This event was significant for me because of its site specificity (with the attendant special acoustics), because of its emphasis on the unusual belief that the earth is hollow, because of its initiation-like experience for the participants, & because it involved collaborating with Blaster Al Ackerman - 1 of my favorite writers.

Blaster Al & I both share an enthusiasm for Hollow Earth lore & he had sent me a copy of the fairly rare A Journey to the Earth's Interior or Have the Poles Really Been Discovered by early 20th century (ev) hollow earth theorist Marshall B. Gardner.

When informed of the proposed symposium, Blaster made a tape of a fake radio talk show with himself as a supposed caving/hollow-earth expert named "Dr. Paul Wilhelm" & with a friend as a talk-show host named "Ted Lindner".

In this "show", "Dr. Wilhelm" discusses the legend about the very same cave complex (Sinnit-Nut) that I took the group to! In Blaster's story, a church group had been taken into the cave on an excursion from which only 1 of them emerged - the incoherent & physically disabled reverend of the group. The story went that the caves were being used as a toxic waste dump for chemical warfare products. Blaster & friend's delivery was perfect! Their tape is highly convincing as a "real" radio show on the topic.

After the group was taken into the cave, the symposium consisted of readings from various relevant books & magazines & a playing of Blaster's tape. As a prank, this was presented as "fact" & not as "fiction".

Of course, the whole situation was an attempt to intensify the experience for those present. We slept there, in highly uncomfortable conditions, & discussed our dreams the next "morning". While we were in the cave & away from Baltimore where we usually lived, there was a highly unusual earthquake in the B-More area. When we returned & learned about it, we attributed the quake to the DEROS (detrimental robots), reputed to inhabit the hollow earth, expressing their displeasure with our trespassing conference.

The resultant tape is a processed mix of Blaster's tape, readings recorded at the symposium, & playing of stalactites & stlagmites there. This combination of prank, site specificity, & initiation is a crucial mix in much of my activities. The tape comes packaged in 1 or more plastic bags with dirt. It's suggested that listeners to it listen through headphones while laying on a cold & damp basement floor or in a cold & damp bath-tub in the dark in order to get a more full experience.

Sometime in early '85, I made "Chinese for Celli" - 1 of my rare "homages" (or take-offs). This is a video - or "vaudio" as I like to call videos that have an audio element as its main feature. Joseph Celli is a musician who presented a video piece entitled "Snare Drum for Camus". Camus is the name of his percussionist son & his video is an overhead shot of a snare drum being played by 4 drummers. When I saw this tape at U.M.B.C. there were 2 monitors. The color distortion of 1 of the monitors made the snare drum look kindof like a watermelon & the color distortion of the other made the drum look like Chinese food.

My tape is an overhead shot of 4 percussionists playing a wok actually full of Chinese food. The 4 percussionists playing are (starting clockwise from "12") Chris Mason (founder of Widemouth Tapes, member of the nameless wandering wind ensemble & of "The Tinklers"), Doug Retzler (previously mentioned in connection with the '79 period), Herr Brain Storm Drain, & Dan Carney (a pioneer of solenoid played instruments [see "Experimental Musical Instruments" magazine] & maker of log drums). The playing of the wok & food is ended when I'm heard shouting "Stop playing with your food!" This tape is published as part of "Vaudio".

As of late '94, I've made something like 162 "finished" "movies" (I prefer this term partially as a format unspecific 1) [the total is 202 as of June, 000] &, in a sense, could say that I've made the sound-tracks for all of them. But, given that most of them either have whatever sound was part of the original "sync" sound &/or a previously made tape as a simple background, I prefer to only single out a few of the movies with the sound-tracks made especially for them to include in the MOVIE SOUND section. What I picked to include was chosen with pretty shaky criteria. "Chinese for Celli" isn't included because I think of the sound-track as being made by the drummers - even though it was made under my direction.

On June 29, 1985ev, I presented the 2nd booed usic event - this time featuring Herr Brain Storm Drain (once again) on percussion, Beef Jerky on guitar, & myself on 4 cassette players, ring modulator, 2 8-track cartridge players, reel-to-reel, AM/FM receiver, turntable, 2 VCRs, & a mixer. This "concert" (or "uncert") is largely remembered by me as the introduction of the "Conductor Loop" - a loop of me giving instructions in music lingo & constantly changing my mind.

This loop ran through most of the UNCERT. I'd like to present a concert someday with musicians familiar with the jargon, & capable of following the instructions, attempting to follow this loop with great exactitude. In this booed usic presentation, the booed usicians gleefully ignore it.

'85 was also the time of my 4 prepared piano recordings which I've used extensively as Usical Material - meaning tapes prepared especially to be mixed as raw materials later (such as "Blade(s) of Grass"). The preparations were perhaps more notable for the "select sustain" used in all 4 than for the "percussive effects" pioneered by John Cage used in the last 2.

These recordings, as well as those of the 9 "Queer Tetes" from '87 & the "Too Much Like Music" collection also from '87, were rerecorded at double speed, quadruple speed, & octuple speed - in versions with the pitch consequently made higher & in versions in which the pitch is processed to stay the same (with John Berndt's help). The 2nd of these piano pieces (discussed in "Selections..") became "It's Not as Easy as You Might Think to be a Pseudo-Virtuoso (#2)". The 3 pinnacles of this usical material use were probably the 1987ev "Generic As-Beenism", the 1988ev "booed usic busking unit.." uncerts, & the 1989ev "Speed Freak" - but that's getting too far ahead in my story.

1986ev began the most intensive period of booed usical "Mad Scientist Didactions". The 1st of these was on January 26th in the Galaxy Ballroom - at the same place where almost exactly 2 years before the booed usic series had begun. This was on Mozart's 200th birthday - coincidentally continuing the theme of the decomposer joke recounted in the "Dead Man With A Horn" discussion section. As people entered the bar, I handed them a text entitled "19 Preposterous Lies About What Will & Will Not Happen" - detailing the events of the night. The text ended with this quote from me:

"The average person prefers to only experience the consonant - by which I mean experience which they fool themselves into thinking that they are comfortably familiar with. I do not want the average person near me. I prefer the dissonant vowels. That's a thought to take into consideration when you wonder why I might lie when publicizing public it shows (mad scientist didactions) that I instigate & participate in."

Of course, the only lie in the text was in the title identifying the text as lies. A primitive excursion into cognitive dissonance (another favorite area). These mad scientist didactions were/are quasi-instructional audio-visual lectures - usually with slides, film, vaudeo, & booed usic. For a more detailed description & explanation of these & most of my activities vaguely resembling "performance" see my book A Mere Outline for One Aspect of a Book On Mystery Catalysts, Guerrilla Playfare, booed usic, Mad Scientist Didactions, Acts of As-Beenism, So-Called Whatevers, Psychopathfinding, etc.. (1st edition: 10, 2nd slightly corrected edition: 20, 3rd hypothetical expanded edition: ?) [it appears that I forgot the term "it shows" - it shows in its absence, doesn't it?].

The booed usicians were:

tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE: tapes, records, etc..

Herr Brain Storm Drain: percussion, cornet, etc..

Mark Harp: tapes, etc..

Beef Jerky: small instruments, guitar, etc..

Norman Yeh: violin, piano, etc..

The introduction of Norman Yeh into the family of booed usicians was a major event. Norman is an incredible violinist & pianist &, like Herr Brain & several other people I've "played" with, an extremely difficult person to "work" with. I'm very happy to've been able to collaborate with him to the limited extent that I have.

In the spring of '86 I embarked on my 1st booed usic tour: t he "6 Fingers Crossed Country T.Ore/Tour". This took me to Tufts University (outside Boston), La Société de Conservation du Présent's Bunker in Montréal, the Rivoli Club & the Funnel Film Co-Op in Toronto, the Kuenzle Room at the University of Michigan & Eyemediae in Ann Arbor, Time Out Hot Tubs in Boulder, the Pirate Contemporary Art Oasis in Denver, & the San Francisco Cinematheque in San Francisco.

Norman was to accompany me & be a booed usician on this entire tour but, thanks to the hostility of our driver, he had to bail out after the 1st 4 gigs & I had to travel alone by bus & train for the rest.

In keeping with the booed usician's (&, later, the Volunteers Collective's) pattern of always having different personnel, each of these didactions drew from the available pool of willing players + Norman & myself. Norman played violin & lyre(!) & I played turtables/radios/cassette players (as usual). My/Our fellow booed usicians included Jake Dillon & Michael Bloom (Tufts), John Berndt (Bunker), Gordon W. Zealot & Tom Evans (Toronto), Rick Corrigan & Joel Haertling of Architect's Office (Boulder), & Evan Cantor of Walls of Genius (Denver).

In many ways, I felt that the Bunker presentation was the most "successful". It also marked my 1st public event with John Berndt - 1 of my most consistently stimulating & long-term collaborators. He can also be heard on the rare "SMILE - (M)usi( of the Generation Positive" (K7S from démo) & on the forthcoming [now released] "Recordings" CD (from Reference Records / Megaphone).

Upon returning from this tour, John made available to me his DX7 synthesizer, sequencer, & drum machine. With very little technical know-how, I made various recordings of me attempting to learn to use this stuff (1 of which is called "Learning") & 1 90 minute tape called "Neoist Funeral March for Hope(less)" (a reference to a woman named Hope that my girlfriend of the time worked with) that I've frequently used as usical material since. It was used by Mud Jim Cobbs as the backing track for Musicmaster's "Quality Pie" poem & can probably be heard drifting in & out of such mixes as "Generic As-Beenism" from '87, "Concrete Mixing" from '88, "2nd Meeting of the Cobbley World Fellowship" from '89, & "Speed Freak" from '89, etc..

It can also be heard as part of the sound-track to "Data: 3rd Gene Ration Duplicity" (a video collaboration with John, Pete Horobin, & Laura A. Truseal - important collaborators all!) which is published as part of the "H.O.M.E. Encylopedia - 1992 - Volume I: A - N" vaudeo compilation & my "Homeless Movies" travelogue vaudeo (both available from Widémouth Tapes) etc..

As a combination of this learning process & my Sound Thinking concept, I made 8 recordings entitled "Sound Thinking: Phase II: Program Notes". These consisted mainly of my reading off the info about the parameters that I'd set while programming a "voice" on the DX7. Hence the "Program Notes" of the title. I like to think of this piece as my primary (or only, or 1st) sample of Program Usic.

Since I had no idea of how to actually program something on the DX7, the humor of this was that most, if not all, of these "sounds" were actually silent - fitting nicely as phase 2 of my Sound Thinking project. The idea was that the DX7 players would have to follow the programming instructions provided in order to find out what the "sound" would "sound" like only to find out that it's silent!

The thought of the target audience for this being so small & specialized amuses me. The unlikeliness of anyone ever reaching the punchline is a prime example of an AUDIO/CONCEPTUAL OBSTACLE COURSE in all its glorious purity! However, I didn't include it on this record! Perhaps that's because 3 versions are already published as part of "10 YRS IN (10)T'S", the "Level 10" compilation, & the "Foist II" compilation.

On this latter, the editors felt compelled to add some reverb to make it more aurally interesting (it's pretty "dry") which led to 1 reviewer thinking that the technical info given was a description of how to produce the reverb - close, but no cigar punchline! I recall hearing a parody like reference to this piece in some other taper's compilation - but I don't recall which 1..

1987ev heralded the end of the mad scientist didaction phase of booed usic (with the possible exception of the booed usic uncert at "Java" in Athens, Georgia in late July or early August of '89) & the beginning of my collaborations with 2 V.I.P.s: Laura A. Trussell & Neil Feather.

Laura's emotional depth & cooperative playfulness was the essence of what enabled me to get so much done in the next couple of years & Neil's (m)usical idiosyncracies added a strong "biomorphic" slant to my audio projects with him of the next 7 years. In preparation for "Easter Island Bunny Booed Usic", Laura helped me make the super-8mm film "15 Hours of Video at "30" Times Its Original Speed". The video soundtrack of this (added years later) involved yet another use of the multiple speed usical materials briefly outlined previously.

"Easter Island Bunny Booed Usic" was on April 19, '87. the booed usicians were myself (turntables/tapes/radios), Neil Feather (miscellaneous instruments of his own making), & John Sheehan (drums & "horn guitar" - a guitar covered with horns with microphones inside them designed to produce feedback). Some vaudeo residue from this uncert is presented in "Vaudio". This was a transitional booed usic presentation because of its use of film & vaudeo made especially for it. This tendency led to the production of "Generic As-Beenism" - 1 of the only productions of mine that I've actually repeated.

"Generic As-Beenism" was the 1st "spectacle" of mine to involve simultaneous slides, film, & vaudeo + live audio & action that was all tied together by a (more or less) coherent narrated essay complete with definitions of key concepts. It was 1st presented during the "Ultimatum II" festival in Montréal on September 13, '87, then at D.C.Space in Washington DC on February 8, 1989, then as a part of an unmentionally misorganized evening in Chicago July 12, '89, followed by another masterpiece of underpayment at "Gallery X" in Phoenix July 16, '89, with the most recent presentation being at "Dis Place" in BalTimOre on December 16, '89.

Usically speaking, this was the 1st "booed usic" to ever involve an audio plan of action (thusly violating the previous emphasis on "improvisation"). The published cassette from this presents my "game-plan" (created after the fact) as a part of its packaging. Laura A. Trussell (in a silent role) & John Berndt (playing DX7 synthesizer & SPX90 processor) were the booed usicians in the 1st presentation. In later ones, Peter Pan & Jake T. Unclean were also involved.

November 21, '87, was the date of the 1st "Something That Dissolved the Shadow of Something That Was Next to Something That Burned Twice". Despite my having been involved with improvising since I was about 19 ('72), this was the 1st group that I was in that focused exclusively on this. "Vaudio" features a half-hour edit of our last "concert" at Dis Place on November 4, '89. I was mainly the guitarist & drummer. John Berndt, Neil Feather, & John Sheehan were the other members. The "Dec. 14, '87" selection on "Lost and Found Times #26" is another relevant publication.

At the end of '87, the vaudio "Brain Waves Goodbye" was created with the help of Laura & Mitch E. This is basically a series of feedback exercises that are much more complex visually than they are aurally. As such, its choice for inclusion in the MOVIE SOUND list is dubious. Part VIII is included in "Vaudio" - largely because of its use of an alto sax mouthpiece.

Sometime in '87 or '88, Laura & I made the "Tone Fones Duet" (an excerpt from which is on #39) & the supremely silly "Photo Albums for Duchamp for the S.C.P.". The Société de Conservation du Présent (at whose "bunker" my Montréal appearance of t he "6 Fingers Crossed Country T.Ore/Tour" was presented) had been invited to present something as a part of the Duchamp exhibit in honor of Duchamp's birthday at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

As I recall, I was called by the S.C.P. & asked to do something over the phone for this. For a half an hour, Laura & I described pictures in our photo albums using the "goofiest" voices that we customarily used when we played with each other. As I listen to a copy of this tape as I write this, I find what we're saying to be rendered so absurd ("Here's my collection of dead batteries") with the combination of the sing-song whininess of it as to make it spectacular! ("You'll never understand what that picture looks like ever! because we're not going to tell you!") The presence of subject matter like suicide, injury, murder, & fire-damage combined with the voices seems positively hebephrenic!

This is kindof the "visual" correlative to "Sound Thinking" - perhaps "Blind Seeing" would be appropriate. Laura & I very much liked the idea of describing pictures to a museum crowd that they would never see - especially in honor of Duchamp (a progenitor of "conceptual art").

1988ev included the making of my super-8mm "epic" "You Haven't Heard the Record, You Haven't Read the Book, Now! Don't see the Movie!" starring Laura as the only human presence. This film probably has the most complex sound-track I've ever labored over (I used a 4 track).

It deceptively is largely silent at the beginning (in reference to the "You Haven't Heard the Record" of the title) & is therefore the kind of film that judges in festivals would stop watching after the 1st 5 minutes or so (regardless of how much the entry fee is) convinced that it's a silent movie.

The "booed usic busking unit.." (described in "Selections..") was made in '88 & used in Laura's & my tour of England & Scotland. Our book Yet Another Slow-Burning Feast of a Few Months' Mischief in the U.K., Maybe (A Partially Epistolary Account of Non-Non & Non-Participation, Maybe) (edition of 100) & our vaudeo (made with Pete Horobin) "Homeless Movies" (from Widémouth) thoroughly quasi-document this trip. The busking unit propelled booed usic into its "final" phase of guerrilla action. Upon return to the US the busking unit required repair.

It was then used in the cross-country US mini-tour of '89 with Jake T. Unclean (later to become 1 of my closest collaborators - 1 of my favorite political activists & writers & notable for her audacity & rare honesty & central to the "Official" Project) & Peter Pan - after which it broke again & has since been scavenged beyond probable recovery.

November 30,'88 was the date of the closing of Karen Eliot's "Paracultural Exhibition" at the "Art Strike Attic" &, coincidentally, the day I was fired from my bookstore job of 4 years. As a part of the closing there was a "Concrete Mixing" uncert (published under that title as K7E by démo tapes) by Karen Eliot, Karen Eliot, & Karen Eliot - those mistresses of collective identity.

The 1st concert of the quasi-successor of "Something That Dissolved.." was also at the "Art Strike Attic" on April 16, '89. This was the premier of the "Volunteers Collective". I had fantasized about founding a group called "Vengeful Clowns" of people who get revenge on other people who harassed them for being "too weird". The initials of this group being "V.C." there could also be a reference to the Viet Cong's staunch resistance to imperialism.

John Berndt took these initials & proposed the "Volunteers Collective" as "a loose ensemble of changing "membership", focused on goals by their individual enthusiasm at each point, on projects which suggest the participation of a defined group but for which no su[i]table contexts exist..". This has almost exclusively meant a context for improvising with people that 1 might not get a chance to play with regularly (such as people not often in BalTimOre).

There have been 17 sessions to date - all of them recorded. The 1st 2 were in '89 & public. Then there was an "unpublic" series in '92 from February to November (the next 5). The next 10 sessions are from '93 & from the most concentrated phase so far - spanning March 31st (the 8th) to December 4th (the 17th) - #s 8 & 16 were public at the "14 Karat Cabaret".

A so-far unpublished nudist mask party vaudeo was made of the 12th entitled "Volunteers Collective XII - The Last Transmission of the Short & Happy Life of a Meteorite Nudist Camp". If a "sequel" to "Vaudio" is ever published it should include this.

The list of participants in this project is large. Some of the recurring ones have been myself (all but the 8th), Neil Feather (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11, 12, 15, 16, 17), John Berndt (1, 2, 7, 8, 11, 12, 15, 16, 17), Jack Wright (10, 11, 15, 16, 17), & Chris Astier (3, 4, 5, 6).

The same '89 tour with the busking unit & "Generic As-Beenism" & the "last" of the "old style" booed usic uncerts also involved 2 recording sessions in a booed usical / concrete mixing vein in L.A. done under the name of the "Cobbley World Fellowship". These were done in collaboration with master mixers Joseph Hammer & Rick Potts (of "Dinosaurs With Horns" - amongst many other groups) & their friends David Kwan & Spencer Savage + Peter Pan & myself.

The 2nd of these 2 sessions (without Spencer) was published as "The Second Meeting Of The Cobbley World Fellowship" & is 1 of my favorite examples of 1 take "Usique Concrete". Get 1 of these tapes while they last because the 1st 100 or so comes with a special button/badge designed by Peter Pan & manufactured by Mark Pawson in London. An excerpt from the 1st session is published on the "Il Peggior Pezzo Di Musica E' Proprio Il Peggiore?" compilation from Italy.

One peak in the history of the Home Tapers' Network was the release of the Cassette Mythos book & the "Cassette Mythos Audio Alchemy CD/K7". There have been several (or, perhaps, many) magazines dedicated to the reviewing & discussion of home tapers (i.e.: "independent" producers of K7s who mainly self-publish & trade). Some of the names that occur to me now are "Gajoob", "Electronic Cottage", & "File 13" (the 1st 2 are no longer extant & the 3rd may not be). I was never very satisfied with any of these magazines largely for the same reason that I've critiqued home tapers (& "mail art"): lack of intellectual rigor.

Nonetheless, this "lack" is not always the case & there are often frontiers explored in home taping that are largely ignored elsewhere. One-of-a-kind personal tapes (already mentioned elsewhere) & the "Audio Snapshots" of Steve Peters & Rich Jensen pop to mind. This latter actually has some precedent in the recordings of Tony Schwartz (&, probably, others that I don't know of or have forgotten about at the moment) - check out his release on Folkways (FP 60) entitled "Millions of Musicians - A documentary of musical expression in everyday life". The "democratic" appeal of the personal approach in home taping has obvious appeal for individualist anarchists.

I say that the Cassette Mythos releases represent a peak because they represent the largest, most comprehensive products to date (that I know of) organized around home taping.

The book was assembled largely due to the efforts of Robin James (the compiler & editor) who has had extensive experience with the network as the editor/compiler of the "Audio Digest" collections & as a reviewer of tapes, etc.. As such, the book covers many different aspects of the home taper approach (largely restricted to the North American bias of the book's being in English). The editor of the CD/K7, Ean White, once told me that the idea of putting out a CD of what were originally all cassette releases amused him because the "purity" of sound that CDs are noted for would be subverted by the K7 hiss (not his exact words - but the gist of them).

Of course I like both these publications partially because they included me without damaging my contributions. The CD/K7 features my "Drying Clothes Made Entirely From Zippers". In '84 I made a pair of pants entirely out of zippers (which premiered at the 1st booed usic uncert) & in '88 I made the accompanying jacket. These clothes had never been washed as of the summer of '89 (despite my having worn the zipper pants frequently). So, on my 36th birthday, September 4, 1989ev, I decided to finally wash & dry them & photograph & record the process.

Part of the idea behind this was to create a "stochastic" percussion piece "the easy way". I've admired the stochastic music of Xenakis & the percussion pieces of Z'ev where he swings found objects around him banging them on the various available surfaces. "Drying Clothes Made Entirely From Zippers" struck me as the automatic way of combining the 2 beautifully. I only expected Ean to select 2 minutes or so from the tape - so imagine my surprise when the K7 featured 6:05 & the CD featured over 16:00! A true appreciation of my sense of humor (& structure) was shown.

When I played the compilation at the collectively run store "Normal's" that I was once part-owner of, 1 idiot commented hostilely that Ric E. Braden's track "COLUMBUS AVE. 10PM" sounded "like a washing machine" (NYUK, NYUK - you know, that avant garde trash). Little did he know..

1990ev marks the beginning of the vast "Official" Project. This was, in some ways, the most ambitious audio project that I ever participated in the creation of. It started out casually as a potentially 1-shot concert for a block party. Neil & I wanted to slap together a trio for the party & decided that it would be funny if we'd declare ourselves the "Official" band for this occasion. Hence, "the Official, May 5th, 1990ev, 31st St. Between Greenmount & Barclay Block Party Combo". This 1st incarnation featured the additional playing of Brian Wolle (who then dropped out) & the inimitable showman Courtney McCullough.

This project, up 'til the creation of our record in mid '92, has been written about fairly thoroughly in the record's accompanying booklet "More Information Than Most People Are Likely to Want to Read".

Our vaudio tape, ""Official" Thistory", gives a good overview all the way through to November 2, '92. Many other audio tapes have also been released from this project.

The "Official" Project presented uncerts in BalTimOre, Ringing Rocks State Park (Pennsylvania) - represented on this record, Portland (Maine), Montréal, Toronto, Dreamtime Village (Wisconsin), Denver, Kansas City (Missouri), Athens (Ohio), Washington DC, & (in a rather dislocated incarnation) Berlin (Germany).

Since we were the "Official" group for every occasion, our name changed every time we played (or was reduced to "P(lace) D(ate) T(ime) - T(o) B(e) A(nnounced)" - as per Herr Brain's suggestion..). A full list of our names up til April '92 is included in the "More Information.." booklet. Two of the longer names created especially to get them printed in the newspaper as advertisement for our shows were:

"The Official, July 25th, 1992E.V., Band That Stretches the Amount of Typeface That Their Name Occupies Wildly Beyond the Parameters of Easily Remembered &/or Repeated Band Names in the Interest of Excessive Self-Promotion Which Can Never be Stressed Enough Given the Incredible Greatness & Simulated Originality of the Reality Bending Qualities of Their Quantum Psychological Playfare & Aleatoric Fortean So-Called Whatevers (Not to Mention CAMUs) etc.."


"The Official, March 12th & 13th, 1993E.V., Medium-Sized Band who Have Just put out Their First Record & who Will be Selling Them at the 14 Karat Cabaret for a Fabulously Reasonable Price as Well as at Normal's Music Store at 429 E. 31st St. & who are More Wonderful, Original, & Imaginative Than Even the Most Overblown Hyperbole Could Possibly Even Begin to Praise & who Have a Penchant for Long Very Hard to Remember Band Names That Even They Find Hard to Remember but how Else can They Make Laure Drogoul, Baby MaDenney, & the Ever-Lovin' Pam Purdy Laugh Otherwise? - &, Besides, This is Probably Their Last Show so why not Indulge Them a Little, eh? Incredible Rapidly Shrinking Big Band Orchestra OOMPH!"

How's that for OVERKILL?!

Participation in this project involved the memorization of a large amount of CAMUs (Cue Activated Modular Units) & a pretty odd assortment of activities. Since this project is fairly well represented by Wafer Face 3, I won't go into further detail here except to say that there were about 40 players who passed through at 1 time or another & to explain a little of my political philosophy in connection with it:

Some of the music that interests me the most is what might be called experimental classical music (especially from 1885ev to the present). Unfortunately, most of this music is produced under highly class priviledged circumstances (with the possibility of a few notable exceptions). Composers like Stockhausen, whose early music I love, would have great difficulty existing without the support of the ruling class.

As such, he helps perpetuate that class. [In a similar way, radical writers living on welfare can be considered to be perpetuating the government] Composers of the past relied on the patronage of the church to make a living & were thusly restricted to religious themes & the perpetuation of church ideology. Academic composers perpetuate the hierarchy of educational institutions.

Nonetheless, these luxurious conditions are the main ones that give composers the uninterrupted time to dedicate themselves fully to complexity. Who else can afford to assemble a large group of musicians other than the ruling class? Some attempts to repoliticize the conditions under which orchestras could be created have happened. Most notably, perhaps, the "Scratch Orchestra" instigated by Cornelius Cardew (&, maybe, in a less obviously political way, the "Portsmouth Sinfonia"). But even he was a teacher at the Royal Academy! The "Big Band" incarnation of the "Official" Project (at its largest: 17 people) was an attempt to unify a fairly large group of players from diverse backgrounds to perform complex structures without having an alienatingly esoteric notation system & without requiring MONEY!

I feel that it was partially successful in these regards. The people willing to work with this project ranged from people who had never played an instrument before to people with master's degrees in music from academies - with rock & pop musicians "in between" & people like Neil Feather & John Berndt & myself coming from a more "outsider" angle. People were united simply by their interest in the project & the fun that they got out of it & didn't require the pay that motivates most classical & pop "professionals". Everything that was played could be taught with fairly simple explanations & by demonstration. The amount of improvisation involved allowed the players to maintain enough individual personality to keep the rehearsals fun enough to make them a sort of social event game (at least for me) & to ensure that more rehearsals than common in classical circles could be had. And the results could be wonderfully convoluted! Even so, the project was exhausting &, as usual, the lack of money didn't help. Nonetheless, the "Official" "Big Band" managed to lurch along for a year and a half! - with the final shows in '93 having the group reduced to 9 players.

One of the structural basises of some of the CAMUs was similar to that of "Drying Clothes Made Entirely of Zippers" - viz: the overcoming of difficult production through essentialized structure. In Xenakis, there's a heavy emphasis on string glissandi. When this is perceived as an "effect", the "necessity" for using stochastic computer programs to determine who would play which glissandi where is overcome. Much as the results of Serialist composing were the product of work that improvising could produce satisfactorily similar results to, so could the CAMU structure combined with improvising cover a huge gamut of "effects" & cultural references without requiring highly trained players!

While I think that most of the "Official" sessions were entirely too clumsy to really be an "impoverished class" (&/or "no-no class") replacement for ruling class sophistication, I do think that some of the sessions represent an incredible advance in this direction. Of the published material, I think that the 2 products from the "Big Band" incarnation per se: "Official Tweedle Dum-Dee-Dee-Dum" & the "Official Wafer Face Record" really are breakthroughs. Of course, academics, religious leaders, & ruling class members are likely to disagree. But what about poor enthusiasts of "difficult music" like myself? Perhaps the greatest base of potential appreciaters lies with enthusiasts of "performance art".

This almost brings us up to the present. From 1990ev on, I've been working on my 1st attempt at a "feature-length" (i.e.: 70 minutes or longer) 16mm movie. This is called "the "Official" John Lennon's Erection as Blocking Our View Homage & Cheese Sandwich". A 25:30 version of this is on "Official Thistory". This version has both "sync sound" (well.. almost) & a track made by Neil & myself.

In '91, I co-made "Tender Buttons" (under the name of Tim Ore) with "Uncle An". This "spoken word" piece is a reading of Gertrude Stein's entire "Tender Buttons" text (a masterpiece of experimental language use from the pioneering lesbian "cunninglinguist"). This reading is performed while sucking pussy. Tender buttons = clitorises. An obvious joke but 1 that expresses the more "controversial" end of my activities clearly. The vaudeo version of this that I present is only 4:15 long. Would anyone out there like to publish the entire 90 minute audio tape of muted & sloppy MUFFlings?

From '91 to '93, I made "Bob Cobbing" (the name when shown forwards) / "Movie Trivia" (the name when shown backwards) / "Hypnopedagogy" (the name when both ways are presented back to back) - a 16mm 30:00 film. Even though the sound-track to this is only "sync sound" + "Reintegrated Experiments in Disintegrating Language", I think that this occupies a unique place in my audio/conceptual obstacle course history.

This is because of the way in which the appearance of sync sound is preserved without the actuality. What I did was take sync sound footage & cut it up into 24 frame segments (1 second at "sound speed" & 3/5ths of a foot in length) & then randomly rearrange these segments. When sound film is projected, the film path has the image pass through the gate 1st about a foot before the film reaches the sound "head". This means that in order for the sound & image to be synced in projection, the sound-track must be ahead of its corresponding image. When the film is cut as described, the sound & the image are no longer connected.

Since the sound of the film that I cut up is just a monotonous monologue, when the sound & image are disconnected & evenly fragmented, it's extremely difficult to tell whether the sounds match the moving lips or not. This is further complicated by the visual complexity of the film (which I won't get into describing). This could be considered another form of subtle cognitive dissonance.

As a sortof side-note, it's probably worth mentioning that I've "performed" the works of other people. Notably: the much-neglected Franz Kamin's "Aleatoric Systemic Reactory Bulletin #1 (the Enclosed Garden)" + "Behavioral Drift 8/9 - the SLO GAME" (both on June 11, '92) & "Red 19" + "Angerds engMudsroodn" + "She Turns Alone" + "Unknowing Games at the Hut (Behavioral Drift 10)" (in November of '93) - & John Cage's "Radio Music" & "Theatre Piece" (in the fall & winter of '93/'94). "Unknowing Games at the Hut" & "Theatre Piece" were particularly stimulating.

In May of 1994ev, I "joined" the group "Klauhütte Bangzeit 200(0)" - a group specializing in giving marathon concerts (12 to 14 hours) of a repertoire restricted to multiple versions of 3 "classics" of "exotica" music only. These songs are "Caravan" (by Duke Ellington, Irving Mills, & Juan Tizol), "Taboo" (music by Margarita Lecuona, english lyric by S.K.Russell), & "Quiet Village" (music by Les Baxter, lyric added later by Don Ho). This concept is the brainchild of Laura Kikauka, Gordon W. (see the Toronto section of the info re the "6 Fingers..Tour"), & Gordon Monahan. It's considered to be a logical outgrowth of Erik Satie's marathon "musique d'ameublement" piano piece "Vexations" & is called "irritainment". It could be said that what Satie was to furniture music, KBZ is to patio furniture music.

My contribution to this project was to co-conceive of & play the "avant garde" versions. This basically just meant creating "cheater" (classic lounge technique) hybrids between the 3 songs & styles of music not likely to be represented without my input. Thus was created the syllabically rearranged "BOOTA" - the lyrics to which are as follows:

The her

I ev-boo er mem-there's-knew,

Be boo

lee came found all lee-ing ta;

Should oh

hold this-ta-ree tent pre-fate,

This lude

up nor cried ness by-boo hap.

True, your-for

ent boo on to de-mad

Boo ing-some

ta such-to I was-her

She say-ig,

lin-mere and-no love-how,


that-ing I slow ed pee sil-when:




night east-true and close."



As in-though

the our I-and plied."

To that

----- is I

----- boo kept.

Ber ness,


Heart stay-sad

me ed-blend nide-side;

Gurred and,

moon ettes,

Ah! Close found

be ta our and ness:





The accompaniment to this was quasi-ersatz Indian music.

The other versions I was connected with were the Terry Riley take-off "Quiet Village In C", the "Official" style "CAMUs Caravan", the "Sci-Fi Military Caravan", the "Sound Effects Quiet Village" (aka the "Ersatz Primitives" version), the "Tone Row Caravan" (Webern à là John Henry Nyenhuis - I didn't have much to do with creating this 1), the "Geezer Whistling Taboo", "Very Quiet Village" - performed at 4:33:00AM (this was Gordon Monahan's idea - I was the conductor), & the "Gongs Taboo" (unperformed because I left with Claudia Strelocke).

These days, November '94, I'm thinking of my audio project(s) as fitting into a "tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE presents: A Triple "S" Ranch Variety Show straight from the bowels of the Turquoise, Beige, & Flesh Room at the Funny Farm" context - or some such.. This material basically consists of my (2nd to) last-ditch attempt to get people to recognize how "imaginative" I am & pay me for it because I'm awfully sick of being cold & eating lousy meals & struggling to pay the bills, etc.. - Of course, you might ask, if I'm so damned imaginative why can't I think of good ways of getting what I want? Ignoring that last question, I'll elaborate on how I'm making this (2nd to) last-ditch attempt.

This "Variety Show" (sometimes called "Broken" or "Falling" "Elevator Uzak" or "Mood Elevator Uzak" or "Booed Elevator Uzak" [you get the idea]) consists of a metaphorical canoe trip through a metaphorical Amazon before the not-so-metaphorical narrow world of pop & classical music wipes out its last delicate species. [How's that for pretentious?] In other words, the "Variety Show" mixes & matches & contrasts & segues through as many tricks of the genre/culture reference trade as I can come up with ways to navigate without having to work too hard. The (improbable) appeal of this to the "public" (John & Susie Q.) whose mind I'd like to give some pleasant "irritainment" to is that it never stays in 1 place long enough for them to take a cheap shot at it. Dream On..

The triple "s" stands for: synthesizers, sampler, & sequencer. Yes! I finally have some of those great toys that make being a 1-man b(l)and so easy! In late '92, my ever-generous friend (as I'm fond of calling him) Dave Guercio, gave me his DX27S synthesizer keyboard because he wasn't using it much. One thing led to another &, largely thanks to the deals that my friend Sarmad Brody cut me, I've accumulated the rest! BLESS YOU TO ALL MY FRIENDS!


This record is dedicated to all those whose generosity & kindness has made keeping this far-out-nik lifestyle of mine going for so long: Rebecca Barten, John Berndt, Sarmad Brody, Florian Cramer, John Eaton, Jeanine Farrall, Neil Feather, Dave Guercio, Courtney McCullough, Owen O'Toole, Pam Purdy, Ed "Lizard" Rosen, Jake T. Unclean, Peter Williams, Gordon W. Zealot & even my parents & surviving grandmother (though I hate families..)!

This record is also dedicated to whoever I'm forgetting at the moment who really deserve to be on the above list & whose feelings are going to be hurt because I didn't mention them!


to write to us, for trading or dering, etc..:

idioideo at verizon dot net

to V.C. home page - to S.P.C.S.M.E.F home page - to N.A.A.M.C.P. home page

to A Mere Outline for One Aspect of a Book on Mystery Catalysts, Guerrilla Playfare, booed usic, Mad Scientist Didactions, Acts of As-Beenism, So-Called Whatevers, Psychopathfinding, Uncerts, Air Dressing, Practicing Promotextuality, Imp Activism, etc..

to Widémouth Tapes home page - to Widémouth Tapes Catalog - to Usic Essays home page

Last Updated: