Moses, Parts Ⅰ through Ⅴ

Moses, parts I through V, by salamandir/Randy Johnson copyright 1982how this piece of music came into existence is as much of a story as the music itself.

randy and i had both been working in the Eμ studio for about a year, in 1982, and we were both creating extremely weird music. secretly, i recorded a very long track, in stereo (which, in those days, actually meant two tracks, a left and a right channel) of weird vocalisations made by us while creating other music. i then reversed the track, and recorded it along side the original, which gave me four tracks. then i took all four tracks, reversed them and spliced them on to the end, so it was even longer, and a palindrome. then, i duplicated the process with another long track of miscellaneous rantings, strange noises and other unusual vocal sounds, so that, when i was done, i had 8 tracks of extreme vocal chaos.

when i was satisfied with the level of chaos, i ran the whole thing into the mixer, one track per channel (as usual), although i hooked up the output of the mixer so that, instead of playing only the channel whose “solo” button was depressed, (thus “muting” all of the other channels), the only time it played anything was when the “solo” button for each individual channel was pressed… essentially turning the “solo” buttons on the mixer into a “keyboard” of sorts.

although the “keyboard” was nothing like any ordinary keyboard: from one moment to the next, you couldn’t be sure what sort of noise was going to come out of each particular key: sometimes it would be forwards, sometimes it would be backwards, sometimes it would be screams, other times it would be total silence… multiplied by 8 (which was how many tracks had their “solo” buttons modified).

randy and i then took turns recording entirely new tracks, playing the mixer “keyboard”, to winnow down the chaos to a tolerable level. we each recorded two tracks, and the final track was me playing the “keyboard” forwards for the first half of the track, and then randy playing the “keyboard” backwards for the rest of it.

my impression is that this whole process would be a good deal more difficult these days, because of the limitations of digital mixers, although i could be wrong. my impression is that i hooked up some outputs to some inputs in a way that was allowed because it was an analogue mixer, that aren’t allowed — aren’t even thought of — with digital mixers, although, honestly, my experience with digital mixers is limited.