Ergodos II (for John Cage)

James Tenney

Ergodos II (for John Cage)

Ergodos II (for John Cage) was Tenney’s last work at Bell Labs, and it is a fitting, zen-like conclusion to the nature of his formal and aesthetic investigations (from Polansky, The Early Works…). The piece is indeterminate in form. It consists of one tape, 18 minutes long, that may be played in either direction (that is, all the sounds could be heard in their reverse directions). Or, the tape might be subdivided into two or more segments of approximately equal length, and these segments played simultaneously (over one to N pair of loudspeakers, for the N segments) (from Tenney, Computer Music Experiences…). This was the first piece Tenney did at Bell Labs that employed the stereo capability Mathews had just added to Music IV. The instruments [that is, the computer-designed software instruments] and algorithms are almost identical to Phases, and Ergodos II has the same rich and beautiful quality, but there is finally complete ergodicity. There is, in any way that we might reasonably define it, no form. (from Polansky, The Early Works…) The arrangement on this recording is the 18-minute form. Listeners are encouraged to make their own performance versions.

[source: ART 1007]

The version on the CD Selected Works 1961-1969, Artifact Recordings, ART 1007, was digitally remastered from the original analog master.