Search PennSound

Charles Bernstein


1. Piffle (Breathing), 1976 (Stereo, 7:00)
    with Susan Bee [Laufer] & Greg Ball

2. 1-100, 1969 (2009 remaster from original reel to reel tape) (3:00): MP3
earlier version: MP3

3. My/My/My, 1976 (Stereo, 5:00)

4. Class, 1976 (Stereo, 10:30)

5. Goodnight, 1976 (Stereo, 1:00)
    with Susan Bee [Laufer]

Courtesy UBU Collection. Stereo remastering 2009 by Danny Snelson.

Full set of early tape works (1975-1976) collected here.

Class was published in 1982 by Widemouth Tapes in Baltimore, a project of Michael Tolson, a.k.a. Tentatively, a Convenience. It was mastered at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Der Haag, The Netherlands, by the composer Eugene Carl. Except for "1-100", all the pieces were made in 1976, using both reel-to-reel and cassette recorders. In the works from 1976 I was interested in creating tapepoems via collage and overlaid tracks that were in many ways similar to my written poems of the time.

"Piffle (Breathing)" is the most formally self-reflective, trying to bring the process of making the piece to the fore: it's me breathing and making the commentary.

"My/My/My" is a three track realization of a poem from 1974, which has this epigraph from Satchidananda "Count these number of things you call mine. This is the distance from you to enlightenment". (The poem was collected in Asylums [New York: Asylum's Press, 1975] and the text is here.)

"Class" uses improvised repetitions by way of the rewind button on a mono cassette player. Its primary sources are Marlon Brando in Elia Kazan's On the Waterfront (1954), screenplay by Budd Schulberg and music by Leonard Bernstein; and two songs by Lew Brown and Jay Gorney from "Stand Up and Cheer" (1934), which starred Shirley Temple: "Baby Take a Bow", sung by James Dunn, and "I'm Laughing", sung by Tess Gardella. The intro and outro music is from Steve Reich's Drumming.

"1-100" was conceived and performed in the Fall of my sophomore year at college.

See also:

Michael Hennessey on "Class."

Counting Each Step of the Sun published, in 2009, an annotated version of "1-100" & a restaged version of "1-100" and "#4" by Danny Snelson, along with his transcription of "#4." This site no longer operating (orignal link), but TOC here, and individual files are here, e.g.:
•1-100 (remix/commentary) by Carl Lindh, Ola Ståhl & Peder Alexis Olsson: pdf
•Danny Snelson restaging of "1-100" & #4": MP3
•Snelson transcription of "#4"
•Snelson remix of "1-100": MP3
Recordings and transcription of 2009 Bernstein interview for Tapeworks

Sampled by Leslie Winer on "Round-up Ready" (2015/2021) on When You Hit Me You'll Feel It: YouTube

Jesper Morris (age 8) version of "1-100" at PennSound's Deformance page.


© 1982 Charles Bernstein. PennSound/Ubu Digital edition © 2003 and 2009.
2003 digital versions were in mono.

These recordings may be used for noncommercial and educational purposes. Distributed by PennSound. Used with the permission of Charles Bernstein