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Category Archives: US Culture

Performance Artist Laurie Anderson describes the process of getting her voice synthesizers and experimental electronic musical instruments through Customs at the typical US airport:

“ (Anderson:) I was carrying a lot of electronics so I had to keep unpacking everything and plugging it in and demonstrating how it all worked, and I guess I did seem a little fishy — a lot of this stuff wakes up displaying LED program readouts that have names like Atom Smasher, and so it took a while to convince them that they weren’t some kind of espionage system.

So I’ve done quite a few of these sort of impromptu new music concerts for small groups of detectives and customs agents and I’d have to keep setting all this stuff up and they’d listen for a while

and they’d say: So uh, what’s this?
And I’d pull out something like this filter, and say,

now this is what I like to think of as the Voice Of Authority. And it would take me a while to tell them how I used it for songs that were, you know, about various forms of control, and they would say, now why would you want to talk like that?

And I’d look around at the SWAT teams, and the undercover agents, and the dogs, and the radio in the corner, tuned to the Super Bowl coverage of the war.

And I’d say, take a wild guess.

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