art despite technology

Music for an Exhibition

“Can't You Feel It?”

Composer: Anthony Gustav Morris

Ref: AGM-2014-08-01
Commission (Anon), 12 Minutes
Aug 2014
Status: Score and parts available (rental)


A multimedia exhibition accompaniment using orchestral parts and looped tape excerpts from a CIA research doctor's interview with a housewife who has taken LSD.
Orchestra with solo Cello
In the 1950's various government agencies, as well as members of the public were experimenting with a new drug.
To quote Wikipedia :

"Lysergic acid diethylamide (/daɪ eθəl eɪmaɪd/), abbreviated LSD or LSD-25, also known as lysergide (INN) and colloquially as acid, is a psychedelic drug of the ergoline family, well known for its psychological effects which can include altered thinking processes, closed- and open-eye visuals, synesthesia, an altered sense of time and spiritual experiences, as well as for its key role in 1960s counterculture. It is used mainly as an entheogen, recreational drug, and as an agent in psychedelic therapy. LSD is non-addictive, is not known to cause brain damage, and has extremely low toxicity relative to dose.[3] However, acute adverse psychiatric reactions such as anxiety, paranoia, and delusions are possible."

Some of these experiments were filmed. In one particular case, the CIA placed a carefully selected (normal) "housewife" and asked her to volunteer to take the drug, on camera. The resulting recording is fascinating as it seems that any social inhibitions when speaking are removed. She talks with a sincere and honest innocence that can be heard in her voice disarmingly clearly. Most people speak in a manner that is masked by inhibitions, practice, the need to project some perceived traits of personality, one wants to make an impression or brand speech as representing a belief and so on. When words are heard from someone seemingly liberated from any social context for communication they speak from one soul to another and this is fascinating.


This minimalist composition with a repeated chord structure that is conventional to the extreme, underscores the repeated text and each time it is heard it is as if a new understanding can be derived.
I am really against recreational drug abuse in all cases except possibly in extreme old age when life has become deservedly in need of some relief. The fascination with this material is the laying bare of humanity, the removal of the need to act, the need to impress, behave, there remains just the natural tonality of the voice as she speaks with total honesty about how she really feels. Something that is so rare and beautiful...
Anthony G Morris
First Performance: In preparation
Available Media:
stacks_image_1314

Photo: US National Archives