Topic: New podcast: Conversartion with Alvin Lucier

New podcast: Conversartion with Alvin Lucier


A key figure in post-Cage experimental music, Lucier is one of a kind, a composer who, as James Tenney says, makes his fellow musicians find themselves “having to revise our basic (and often unconscious) assumptions – our self-evident axioms about music.” Driven by a curiosity to understand “how things work” (an innocent and unprejudiced curiosity that Tenney compares to that of a child), Lucier always seems ready to disappear within sound. It is as if his fascination with the sound phenomenon leads him to avoid interfering in its manifestation. His work is thus by no means based on self-expression or on compositional interventions. Instead, he allows sounds to “be themselves” without pushing or directing them in any way.

To coincide with his 85th birthday, SON(I)A features a conversation with Lucier (that took place in Boston in 2014) in which he talks about the need to listen carefully, the composers that have accompanied and influenced him over the years, and the role of space and technology in his work, among many other things. Near the end, he also explains some interesting facts about “I am Sitting in a Room”, one if his best known and most enigmatic works. Many happy returns, Mr Lucier!

Background music: "Music on a Long Thin Wire 1", 1977

00:00 Not just listening
00:46 Revealing implicit sounds
02:53 Let it happen: on "Music for Piano and Magnetic Strings"
07:18Transparency of sounds
08:35 The question of space
10:48 Music that happens in a loudspeaker
13:16 Letting the players play
14:59 "I'm Sittting in a Room"... live: something wonderful about real time
17:30 "All I wanted to do is to tell people what I was doing"