Untitled (the melody is pursy as is tore into this heart of mine)

2023, 15:57 min.
Tyler Maxin

This audio study repurposes the abandoned 16-bit software EVPmaker, a granular synthesizer developed in 2000 for use in communication with the beyond. Through randomly scrambling and recombining phonemes, the program allows supernaturally-inclined listeners to hear meaningful phrases, and possibly consort with the discarnate—an extension of the electronic voice phenomenon (EVP), a parapsychological research movement popularized by the Swedish opera singer Friedrich Jürgenson and Latvian academic Konstantīns Raudive.

The piece uses the voices of four country superstars, each a fixture of radio space who forged unique relationships to the paranormal: Porter Wagoner (1927-2007), Conway Twitty (1933-1993), Loretta Lynn (1932-2022), and Tammy Wynette (1942-1998). Appropriated, discombobulated musical segments—an upper-register steel guitar solo reminiscent of John Hughey, an Appalachian folk hymn, and a ‘90s pop-country CD—also each make an appearance. The non-committal title is from a commonly mistranscribed lyric from Porter Wagoner’s “Out of the Silence (Came a Song)” (1967), an early B-side by Dolly Parton who claimed she wrote the tune in a graveyard.

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