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Earth Sound Earth SignalEnergies and Earth Magnitude in the Arts$
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Douglas Kahn

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780520257801

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520257801.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 18 May 2022

Alvin Lucier

Alvin Lucier


(p.106) 8 Alvin Lucier
Earth Sound Earth Signal

Douglas Kahn

University of California Press

The topic of natural radio returns with Alvin Lucier’s Whistlers (1966), sourced from the LP Out of This World (1953) issued by Emory Cook. The popular scientific fascination with whistler sounds and earth-scale aesthetics is noted in relation to experimental music. The use of recorded material relative to performing live is examined in its genesis, its inclusion at the First Festival of Live Electronic Music, and an attempt at a performance with Pauline Oliveros using real-time reception. Lucier’s other natural radio compositions are examined: Sferics (1981) and Navigations for Strings (1991), the latter related to the Omega Navigation System, which broadcasted in the frequency range of natural radio and which Lucier considered pollution in an electromagnetic wilderness.

Keywords:   Alvin Lucier, Whistlers, Sferics, Navigations for Strings, Omega Navigation System, Emory Cook, Pauline Oliveros, live electronic music, First Festival of Live Electronic Music

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