This Music, The End




Berkeley, Summer 1964


In the morning Gregory woke Fred and offered him breakfast. Judith slept in. Fred declined, said he had to hurry back to return the car. He seemed tense again and anxious to leave without explanation.

At the station Gregory was culling for the first cut in the Bluebird contest. Most entries had come in written out on music paper or something like it, but several were tapes. He put one on the recorder. It proved a mixture of sounds, some like music, some like the noise of life, some suggesting words. Greg could tell that the juxtaposition of repetitious found noises, rattles and ticks, to sounds like music would become lyric if he listened often enough. Shortly a phrase was repeated like a theme, "21 years old." Gradually he identified another thread, repeated in increasingly recognizable form, like those variations where the basic tune only appears near the end. Sometimes reversed, sometimes slowed, sometimes inverted, always tortured emerged: his own voice.