This week in my first writing class, we listened to all 45 minutes of Alvin Lucier’s “I Am Sitting in a Room,” in which he transfers an analog tape recording of his voice back and forth until his speech totally dissolves and “the resonant frequencies of the room reinforce themselves.”
Even though it gave me a headache for the rest of the day, I really did enjoy listening. It reminded me to dig up this 30-second loop cassette of someone’s answering machine message that Ben J gave me:
But instead of just posting the message, I thought, hey, I have two cassette decks and an hour to waste! Why not create my own version of Lucier’s piece:
(This is only every other repetition, since that was the easiest method. I did no digital editing except to uniformly boost the volume.)
Obviously, this exercise did not create as melodious a work as the original, but it was still fun. While listening to Lucier’s and while making this, I heard familiar high-pitched tweeting sounds that I eventually realized are the same analog-to-analog artifacts we have to edit out of “Phoning It In” for the podcast.