Alvin Lucier (b. 1931)

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The Only Talking Machine of its Kind in the World
(1969) for speaker and tape-delay system


Presented by sfSound as part of the sfSoundSeries

Monday, August 28, 2006
at ODC Theater, 3153 17th Street
San Francisco, California

Chris Cogburn - speaker
Christopher Burns - computer and electronics
Matt Ingalls - computer and electronics

Notes on the text:
All text is spoken by Chris Cogburn. The opening poem read by Chris Cogburn is "There Are Raspberries" by Tomaš Šalamun (Poker; Ugly Duckling Presse, ©2003; Translated by Joshua Beckman and Tomaš Šalamun). The remainder of the piece consists of written text and improvised stories both generated and spoken by Cogburn. His movements between the two (written text and stories) was improvised along with Burns and Ingalls' computer generated delay and processing.

The Score:
Alvin Lucier - "The Only Talking Machine of Its Kind in the World" for any stutterer, stammerer, lisper, person with faulty or halting speech, regional dialect or foreign accent or any other anxious speaker who believes in the healing power of sound (1969)

"Ask friends to design a tape-delay system in the form of a totem pole, mandala, labyrinth, tree or any other visual configuration. Talk to an audience through a public address system for a long enough time to reveal the peculiarities of your speech. After the peculiarities of your speech have been revealed, your friends may begin building the tape-delay system into which your speech, tapped from the public address system, is fed. Talk, during the building of the tape-delay system, about that which will best reveal the peculiarities of your speech; but from time to time read from a text or tell a story of a people, real or imagined, who have not had or do not now have any idea about anxious speech. Continue talking after the completion of the tape-delay system until, due to the annihilation of the peculiarities of your speech by the tape-delay system, anxiety about your speech is relieved or it becomes clear that the tape-delay system is failing and will continue to fail to bring this about."

Chris Cogburn's Audio Library/website and MySpace page:

Matt Ingall's website:

Christopher Burns' website:

Chris Cogburn Bio:
Chris Cogburn
b. 1973 Eugene, Oregon, U.S.A.

Improvising percussionist Chris Cogburn is an active performer, educator and organizer currently living in Austin, Texas. Cogburn has had the fortune of collaborating with many musicians, poets, dancers and visual artists from around the world. Beginning in the summer of 2003, Cogburn has hosted an annual festival of improvised music called the No Idea Festival. For more information, see:

While at home in Austin, Cogburn teaches at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. He is also currently helping elementary school teachers integrate the arts and creative thinking into their core curriculum..

Chris Cogburn's current artistic projects include his inter-media group For Forms with poets Joshua Beckman and Jen Bervin, dancer Scotty Heron and avant-turntablist Maria Chavez; and frequent duo collaborations with Vancouver percussionist Jeffrey Allport, avant-vocalist Liz Tonne and Seattle-based pianist Gust Burns.