Unsettling the Score: Éliane Radigue

1960s: Days of Rage

In her studio, Paris, 1971.

“‘I only have one trick,’ Éliane Radigue told me a few years ago. ‘It is the cross-fade!’ She pulled her fingers apart as if stretching taffy and laughed. She was sitting on the couch in her apartment on rue Liancourt in Paris. Athena, con una Espada (Athena, as a Sword), a bronze sculpture by the late artist Arman, to whom Radigue was married from the 1950s until the late ’60s, stood by the wall. For decades, Athena shared the premises with an ARP 2500 synthesizer and a pair of huge Altec Voice of the Theatre speakers. Shortly after the turn of the millennium, though, they were packed away. What Radigue did before she divested herself of this equipment is exactly what she does now: listen. Her work in the twentieth century was electronic, made first with microphone feedback and then later with the ARP synthesizer…

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