Spoken Word with Electronics is an audio series delivering to you a two side recording of unusual stories paired with vintage modular electronic sounds


Episode #5: Audio Politics

Hello, everyone – I hope all things are continuing to be comfortable and well. This installment begins with the fourth part of an interview conducted with Paul Krassner. You can hear the entire interview here as one playlist – There will be two more installments added to this playlist in the next few weeks.

The 60s offered a dystopian reality for many women. This installment focuses on an awful moment in US history (still at risk to return) where a satire magazine would be among the only places found to provide sanity and safety.

When I interviewed Paul in 2017 for a comedy magazine I couldn't help but veer into the serious business of Paul running an underground abortion referral service. This wasn't being an abortion provider, merely indicating where such services could be found. I'll let Paul describe this best, but as an introduction, consider that there was ZERO public information on getting an abortion: no phone book, certainly no Internet (or social media, Google search, or any network), no public record. It had to be word of mouth, leading to many distortions, blackmail, and worse.

Below is probably the most concise he's ever been describing his role of running an underground referral service. Paul did this for a decade, earning him a sizable chapter in his FBI file. Paul is a hero to me for a lot of reasons, but this most of all. I'm very happy to share this audio:

Side A: Paul Krassner, "The Decade I Was An Underground Abortion Referral Service"

Flipside of the record: Kathy Acker, Now!

Side B for this episode is a tribute to Kathy Acker. Politically, we're at a perfect moment in time for a Kathy Acker revival. Audio from this comes from a reading she did from her novel "Don Quixote" in 1985. Music added includes a Soma ETHER, a D-2000 Drum Machine, and a variety of Eurorack.

If you've never heard Acker perform a piece, you're in for a treat. But be aware that there's some tough language — and she has a beautiful voice. I'd say this is NSFW, but does that even exist now? (Regards and respect to everyone needing to go into a place of work, presently, of course) If you have any kids in audible proximity you might want to be discrete.

Side B: Kathy Acker, "No Longer a Poor Woman" (From Don Quixote, Vocal, 1985) – Music added in tribute, 2020

As a bonus track, I've started to add a process to these spoken word pieces where I'll remove the vocal and then add one element to the piece to make an instrumental. Here, I put in a looping piano to the Kathy Acker track, and it changes considerably. I've been going on nightwalks for my sanity and peace every night. If your part of the world allows such movement, I highly recommend it. Here's a closing piece, Nightwalks During the Pandemic.