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The nature of the original Time Lag Accumulator

Hi - I am sending this again as it was too long for the list serve (I chopped of the balance)

It's also interesting too that in my researches I found that the time-lag accumulator term was first used as an _expression_ for a physical space made for an the Magic Theatre Exhibition curated by Ralph Coe in 1968 - so the accumulator in question may have been a punnish reference to the Reich Orgone Accumulator. The first references to it are in 1968, and refer to a physical construct. The construction of the room sounds similar (in the sense of sandwiched boxes) to the O.A. The book of the exhibition (which is a classic of its type) has reference to Riley's performances but reserves the term for the the artchitectural space.  The human component live recorded was part of Mescalin Mix. I can't find an earlier reference than here. But TLA is a great name for what he made. (I know that I sound like damning with faint praise here, I'm not, I'm trying to unravel contemporary history)

From Coe's  program notes

The "Time-Lag Accumulator" is closer in concept to his musical concepts than might be supposed at first. It includes the layering up of networks of sound ( though by unplanned voice participation rather than instrumentation), repeats cyclically

In his time-lag accumulator Terry Riley skims off the surface or conversational fragments (or anything whistled, screamed, sung, or uttered) and asks us to study for an instant what is spoken, parlaying a casual activity into reactivated consciousness If sound is used for “portraiture" and wager in Jones's “Sonic Games Room." here it is used in another way. as “history" — recent history repeating itself.

There is a photo in the thing as well, but I don't have it any more. Someone with access to interlibrary loans might be able to get it (hint hint). Quite amusing is the grumblings of the technicians

"The Riley earned us more problems than the rest of the exhibition combined. The biggest difficulty with the Riley was in keeping the two modified tape recorders installed on the top of this piece in working condition.  The recorders . . . required almost daily adjustment. A further problem with the Riley was the glass doors. We had to replace four doors and one interior mirror. However, we had larger g1ass holding clips made and installed, and believe that this problem has been eliminated. We had two 110- volt circuits with this piece and placed it first in the total exhibition as a means of controlling the influx of visitors. We further found that visitors had to be told what to do, such as talk, yell or scream so that this exhibit would mean something to them. Just prior to this piece we had a repeating tape of some of Terry Riley's music with a sign explaining this."

there's lots more in there.

More text extracts below the stars, but it kind of looks like perhaps Riley stumbled upon a cool term and used it afterwards in the sensu music - certainly it isn't on the cover of Reed Streams 1965, but it is on the cover of RICA featuring Poppy Nogood in 1969 - though in lower case this time.
"Poppy Nogood and the Phantom Band » was first performed in the summer of 1987, at two festivals, in Pennsylvania and Amaganaett, New York. The work is played on the soprano saxophone and electric organ (both played by the composer, rerecordlng). A time-lag accumulator produces an echo of variable size and duration."

Food for Schroedinger's argumentative cat perhaps

Regardless, RICA, PSD, RS are amongst my favourite moments of recorded time. And Riley has first siezure rights on the performative aspects of the technique, much as the first in every generation of compositional or performative technique plays or composes pieces that appear obvious after the even, and make a kind of Bayesian exclusion zone of pretty things that can no longer be done "because X did it"


Time Magazine June 6th 1968, Vol. 91 Issue 23, p86.

How about a trip that will dissolve the floors of memory and identity, becloud the boundaries separating reality and illusion, return the traveler momentarily to his primal, psychic self—all without benefit of hallucinogens? Such was the offer being made last week by Kansas City's Nelson-Atkins Gallery. To bring off the most spectacular environmental light show ever staged, the gallery had assembled $400,000 worth of materials and labor in its "Magic Theater," a kind of transistorized tunnel of light designed by eight leading U.S. light, kinetics and environmental artists.

When they realized how silly they looked, they progressed to Terry Riley's Time-Lag Accumulator. There each viewer individually recorded laughs, hoots and remarks on a tape in one of twelve anterooms. The tape was then played back simultaneously with tapes made by his companions in a central room, creating "a collage of noise."

from a review in Art Scene 1968
"This was apparent with a series of aluminum frame doors which comprise a labrynth of antechambers. The musician, Terry Riley, had invented a "Time-Lag Accumulator" where the spectator's voices became a patchwork of noise later to be synthesized in a central chamber. On my visit nothing happened. Later I was told that the tape loops needed almost daily cleaning. They had jammed the day before. Such breakdowns - unknown to previous art - are the heritage of electro-mechanical art"

in Artforum, Volume 7, Issue 2 1968

"I never did get the full effect of Terry Riley's Time Lag Accumulator, because the first time I ventured through it there were several dozen other, equally crowded and confused, "participants" with me, and the second time, alone, its recording was turned off, Basically it was a tall glass and alumnium labyrinth, with twelve cubicles surrounding, and each opening into, a central compartment. The outer cells contained microphones which registered the words and sounds of those who (eyes glazed, arms outstretched like robots seeking egress) passed through — these noises, then, were recorded on tape and then replayed within two minutes in the inner chamber. Like Jones's sound chamber, the Accumulator had the laboratory mystique — a little human reactor, driven by a human mechanism. I suppose there are potentials for humour and surprise in this contraption, depending of course, on the willingness of its activators to be deceived, perhaps at their own expense. The explanation we are offered in the program text — that that "Riley skims off the surface of the conversation and asks us to study for an instant what was spoken, parlaying a casual activity into reactivated consciousness," won't fool anybody any more"

South Dakota Review of a 1970 reinstauration of it

In Terry Riley's Time-Lag Accumulator (1968), like Jones's piece originally part of the Kansas City Nelson  Gallery's "Magic Theater," the sounds made by the spectators within the environment's space are recorded on tape and, thanks to several tape-delay systems of various lengths, played back at times varying up to two minutes later; so that the space itself becomes a responsive but perversely irregular echo chamber that as Ralph T. Coe puts it, "skims off the surface of conversation and asks us to study for an instant what was spoken, parlaying a casual activity into reactivated consciousness.

Interiors 1970 ditto
One of the oeuvre's which ought to be fun is Terry Riley's "Time-Lag Accumulator, a kind of labyrinth of glass and aluminum phone-booth-like chambers in which the visitors pop in and out, listening to a "collage of sounds" consisting of a scrambled replay of sounds made by themselves and preceding visitors. The labyrinth itself suggests games like musical chairs