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Headpin Talkie (2017)

for stereo or 4-channel live electronics

Duration: variable, ca. 5-50 minutes

[may be performed separately or with 100 Not-Songs for JOHN CAGE]

Premiere of stand-alone version: The Chicago Electro-Acoustic Music Festival, April 2019

This work originated by chance – quite literally. In honor of John Cage’s centenary, Tony Arnold, Ross Karre and I created a multimedia work for soprano, video and live electronics called 100 Not-Songs (for JOHN CAGE). We wanted the new work to be related to both Cage and Chicago, where we would film the video components and realize the project in 2017. To help guide our location research, Chicago’s MCA kindly made available a piece by Cage from their collection, A Dip in the Lake: Ten Quicksteps, Sixty-One Waltzes and Fifty-Six Marches for Chicago and Vicinity (1978 ). In this piece, Cage selected locations in and around Chicago using chance procedures applied to a map. Headpin Talkie uses field recordings collected from 100 of these sites between 2015-2017 to create imaginary soundscapes populated by once real sounds from Chicagoland. Headpin Talkie’s live electronics create a unique “sound walk” through these places for each performance: all aspects, including the choice of location, durations of segments, the number of pathways occurring at a time, and their spatialization is chosen during the performance.

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