The Way We Were

The Way We Were was an audio installation featuring Barbra Streisand’s album The Way We Were played on different formats (turntable, cassette tape, 8-track, reel-to-reel, CD) through 8 different speakers arranged in a 40-foot circle, powered by vintage amplifiers. The albums were started synched together. Although the difference in speed was imperceptible, the albums soon dropped out of synch with each other, and became progressively more so as the piece played. 

It was really quite wonderful. Barbra harmonizes perfectly with herself. At first it sounded like a chorus, then like she was singing a round. Even when all the albums were completely out of synch it was never discordant, more like a forest, with creatures singing to each other across a distance. 

I didn’t do this piece to make a commentary on Barbra Streisand. To me she’s the exact midpoint of all music. Not interesting but not boring either, which made it the perfect music for the random, machine-based remixing this piece would do.