Today is the 100th birthday of author William S. Burroughs. One technique
that he pioneered was the audio tape "cut up;" a random collection of
word bits achieved by turning on and turning off a tape machine at random
intervals during newscasts. His efforts towards this end occurred years
anyone else worked in this way, and it would later become a major component
in industrial music, particularly in the 80s.
This is one of the few early examples of such work ever to be published. I
have long wanted to truly date it, as "Early 1960s" is as close as anyone
got to a date, and I'm sure Bill had no idea himself. The source appears to
be New York City radio, flipping across the dial. WINS is mentioned at one
Of course, fragments are fragments, and the aim was to achieve combinations
of fragments that would tend to transcend the meaning of what was spoken
and to create new meaning. But as close as I can get to a date for this is
late April, early May 1965, owing to references to snipers in the Dominican
Republic during the Civil War there.
Can anyone else get closer, or am I on the wrong track?
David N. Lewis