No exit

A four-channel electro-acoustic composition

No exit metaphorically transplants the sound processing technique of Alvin Lucier's 1969 electro-acoustic composition I am sitting in a room from physical space to the hermetically sealed echo chamber of Donald J. Trump's psyche.

In Lucier's work, an audio recording of the composer reciting text is played back in the same room in which it was recorded, which is in turn re-recorded. After multiple iterations of this process, the resonant frequencies of the room are amplified to the point where the speech is no longer intelligible, having been transformed into pure tone.

In No exit, a recorded excerpt of an address delivered by Trump to the graduating class of the United States Coast Guard Academy on May 17, 2017 is successively reprocessed through layers of digital reverb until speech is replaced by the resonant frequencies of the filter. However, no information is lost in this transformation because, unlike the Lucier text, Trump's speech has no meaningful content to begin with. The Oxford dictionary of English (3rd edition) defines language as “the method of human communication, either spoken or written, consisting of the use of words in a structured and conventional way.” Donald Trump's idiosyncratic concatenation of English phonemes never rises to the level of language, since it defies both structure and convention, and fails to satisfy the purpose of language, viz. communication, since the speaker is incapable of acknowledging the existence of consciousness outside his own.

In order to enrich the overall sonic texture of the work, an accompaniment of sampled piano, derived from pitch and rhythmic analysis of the processed speech, is layered on top of the recitation, providing necessary and merciful distraction from its unrelenting insipidness.

Play mp3: No exit (stereo mixdown)