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Tom Wolfe, THE ELECTRIC KOOL-AID ACID TEST, Farrar Straus and Giroux, Inc., 1968, Copyright 1968 by Tom Wolfe. excerpts ( JH picked out all passages describing experimental sound activity or sound equipment ) Typed by Barb Golden, Aug. 17, 1994. 680w

He had hi-fi speakers up on the roof of the house, and suddenly out here in God's great green mountain ozone erupts a manic spade blowing on a plastic saxophone, namely, an Ornette Coleman record. p.51

The terrain Kesey was most interested in, in fact, was inside the house. The house was made of logs, but it was more like a lodge than a cabin. The main room had big French doors, for a picture-window effect, and exposed beams and a big stone fireplace at one end. Kesey had all sorts of recording apparatus around, tape recorders, motion-picture cameras and projectors, and Sandy helped add still more, some fairly sophisticated relay systems and the like. Often the Perry Lane people would drive over __ although no one had moved to La Honda so far. Ed McClanahan, Bob Stone, Vic Lovell, Chloe Scott, Jane Burton, Roy Seburn. Occasionally Kesey's brother Chuck and his cousin Dale would come down from Oregon. They both resembled Kesey but were smaller. Chuck was a bright quiet man. Casual and down-home. Dale was powerfully built and more completely down-home than either.

Kesey was trying to develop various forms of spontaneous expression. They would do something like...all lie on the floor and start rapping back and forth and Kesey puts a tape-recorder microphone up each sleeve and passes his hands through the air and over their heads, like a sorcerer making signs, and their voices cut in and out as the microphones sail over. Sometimes the results were pretty__

__well, freaking gibberish to normal human ears, most likely. Or, to the receptive standard intellectual who has heard about the 1913 Armory Show and Erik Satie and Edgard Varese and John Cage it might sound ... sort of avant-garde, you know. But in fact, like everything else here, it grows out of...the experience, with LSD. The whole other world that LSD opened your mind to existed only in the moment itself__Now __ and any attempt to plan, compose, orchestrate, write a script, only locked you out of the moment, back in the world of conditioning and training where the brain was a reducing valve...

So they would try still wilder improvisations...like the Human Tapes, huge rolls of butcher paper stretched out on the floor. They would take wax pencils, different colors, and scrawl out symbols for each other to improvise on: Sandy the pink drum strokes there, and he would make a sound like chee-oonh-chunh, chee-oonh-chunh, and so forth, and Kesey the guitar arrows there, broinga broinga brang brang, and Jane Burton the bursts of scat vocals there, and Bob Stone the Voice Over stories to the background of the Human Jazz__all of it recorded on the tape recorder--and then all soaring on __whatö__acid, peyote, morning-glory sees, which were very hell to choke down, billions of bilious seeds mulching out into sodden dandelions in your belly, bloated__but soaring!__or IT-290, or dexedrine, benzedrine, methedrine__Speed!__or speed and grass__sometimes you could take a combination of speed and grass and prop that ... LSD door open in the mind without going through the whole uncontrollable tumult of the LSD...

...all of us sliding in and out of these combinations of mutual consciousness, intersubjectivity, going out to the backhouse, near the creek, with tape recorders and starting to rap __a form of free association conversation, or even a monologue, with everyone, or whoever, catching hold of words, symbols, ideas, sounds, and winging them back and forth and beyond...the walls of conventional logic... pp52-53

Hagen was a benign but inspired con man in a sweet way. He had a special gift for haggling, bartering, hassling, and Hagen would turn up with his car crammed with gleaming tape-recorder equipment, movie equipment, microphones, speakers, amplifiers, even video-tape equipment, and the audio-visual level started rising around here__ p.57


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