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Lexical Music

by Charles Amirkhanian

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Mugic 05:38
Muchrooms 05:12


When Charles Amirkhanian’s Lexical Music was released on pioneering Bay Area record label 1750 Arch Records in 1980, it was heralded as a masterpiece of the then nascent text-sound poetry scene. The New York Times called Amirkhanian “expert at the sort of things his imitators do not do half so well as he.” Lexical Music is a sort of high water mark for American text-sound poetry; it sounds like nothing before or since.
Single words lose their meaning through repetition; nonsense phrases build into intricate hypnotic grooves. The wavering line between intelligible text and pure sound weaves throughout. Amirkhanian’s dry wit shines through, an absurdist touchpoint, and explores the nature of language and how our verbal comprehension is altered in the face of repetition, density, and acoustic space, both real and imagined.

"Amirkhanian masterfully challenges and plays with the borders between intelligible text and organized sound throughout the six works here." Andrew Timar, The Whole Note.

"One of the striking things about Amirkhanian’s work is the sense of humor and playfulness that courses through it…Despite often containing serious elements from his own life, humor is a pervasive influence, and a vitality that isn’t often found in other American text-sound work."
David Menestres, Music & Literature.


released February 3, 2017

01 Mugic (1973) (5:28)
Voice: Charles Amirkhanian
Engineer: Henk Lubberhuisen
Recorded at VPRO Radio, Hilversum, Netherlands

02 Seatbelt Seatbelt (1973) (14:50)
Voices: Amirkhanian, John Duykers, Karl Goldstein, Janice Giteck, Susan Napper
Engineer: Robert Shumaker
Recorded at 1750 Arch Street Studios, Berkeley, California

03 Dutiful Ducks (1977) (2:02)
Voice: Amirkhanian
Engineer: Robert Shumaker
Recorded in Montgomery Chapel, San Anselmo, California, 1978

04 Muchrooms (1974) (4:58)
Voice: Amirkhanian
Engineer: Henk Lubberhuisen
Recorded at VPRO Radio, Hilversum, Netherlands

05 Mahogany Ballpark (1976)* (9:35)
Voices: Amirkhanian, Böske Antheil, Carol Law, concierge de Man Ray, voices in the Public Domain
Location Recordings: Paul Oppenheim (San Francisco), Charles Amirkhanian (Paris)
Engineer: Robert Shumaker
Final mix made at 1750 Arch Street Studios, Berkeley, California

06 She She and She (1974) (8:27)
Voices: Amirkhanian, Han Reiziger, Piet Koremans
Engineers: Bert Vervoorn, Piet Koremans
Recorded at VPRO Radio, Hilversum

*in collaboration with visual artist Carol Law

Master tape engineered by Robert Shumaker at 1750 Arch Street Studios, Berkeley, California, and produced under the composer's supervision

Remastered for CD by Andrew Weathers

Executive Producer: Charles Amirkhanian

Producer: Andrew Weathers

Front Cover: Charles Amirkhanian in a performance at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 1975. Slide image by Carol Law. Photo by Michael Karibian

Album design concept: Carol Law and Mark McGowan

CD Layout: Gretchen Korsmo

Original LP released January 1980

OM 1023-2


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