Composer-video artist Betsey Biggs, currently completing graduate work at Princeton, presented some lovely work at the Sacramento State Festival I returned from last week. Her latest piece, Ton Yam I, was based nostalgically on the idea of California, and used as sound material only slowed, looped, and altered samples from the Beach Boys’ song “God Only Knows.” (The title read backward makes the point.) More bloggable is a Morton Feldman anecdote she mentioned in her talk that I hadn’t heard before. It seems that one of his assignments was to send a student composer out with one task for the week: to come back with one perfect chord.
On an unrelated note, the knee surgery I endured yesterday put a miraculous end to the pain I’ve been suffering from a torn cartilage for the last month and a half, and also hopefully from the perception-fogging effects of the accompanying pain medication. This has no relevance to the blog, but if you’ve been trying to contact me for any practical purpose lately and I seemed more than usually recalcitrant, it may be because I was operating at about 50% efficiency. (I normally operate at about 60%.) I look forward to the world coming back into focus. I guess.