Pop Culture
Feb 06, 2024, 06:28AM

No Longer in the Preceding Tonality

A 2022 Max Raskin interview with documentarian Ken Burns vs. a 2009/2010 Bob Gluck interview with composer Éliane Radigue.

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Ken Burns: All of a sudden everything became heightened and something was revealed. Oh, my goodness.

Éliane Radigue: You can guess where you are, but maybe you are no longer in the preceding tonality.

Burns: I am, of course, slicing and dicing it up.

Radigue: This was in 1955-57.

Burns: You bet. 150 versions.


Radigue: I told him that horizontal, slightly sloped sliders in particular are easier to work on for many hours.

Burns: He's written a brilliant script. But everybody tells me that.

Radigue: Of course we all knew how to use tape recorders.

Burns: It just requires so much concentration and hearing.

Radigue: I remember coming back at night and enjoying the changing sights, the subways, and the metallic sculptures at Times Square station.


Burns: Sometimes it’s just really having mental ideas and then suddenly something emotional drops down from your head to your heart, and you say, “Yeah.” Tens of thousands of them.

Radigue: By accident, I discovered that you could slightly change the sound by putting one finger very lightly on a knob on the recording system. But life was too tough and I missed Paris.

Burns: I worked in a record store, and so by that time, because the Beatles were no more, I was a Stones fan and I liked a lot of R&B—still do a lot—and soul music.

Radigue: I remember one of those concerts, which took place in a swimming pool.

Burns: That's not the way things ever work.


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