Charles Bernstein (b. 1950)

Early Recorded Works: Homemade Tapes, 1975-1976

Accused Cassette, 1975

1. Accused (45:06): MP3
In 1974, City College's History Department erupted into a bitter political dispute in which older faculty members Stanley Page, Edward Rosen and others accused their younger colleagues of disruptive leftist agitation. In this work, I perform the 1975 CUNY faculty senate report on the matter.

2. Afternoon Tape (28:34): MP3
          Greg interrupts Phyllis; it's caught on tape.
          Greg and Charles reflect on the problem.

1975 Cassette

Side One:

1. #4: a portrait of one being in family living (1975)
(22:11): MP3

  • narrative
  • Casablanca (collage)
  • father: speech
  • David Cooper (the family)
  • narriative ("why can't it")
  • Casablanca ("one woman É")
  • narrative (on O! Pioneers)
  • parents ("my jewells"
  • narrative ("valued you too much")
  • David Cooper (paranoia)
  • Billie Holliday (tyring)
  • Casablanca (insistence)
  • Billie Holiday (beaten)
  • narrative (alone, my fear)
  • Billie Holliday (what?)
  • Poe (from Pym)
  • Fats Waller
  • Poe (in the light ahead)

    """#4" will be featured, alongside an essay and a series of edits, remixes and transcripts in the forthcoming volume "Counting Each Step of the Sun" released with independent label/publishing house Edition in late 2009.

2. Class (1975)
(10:59): MP3
the title track on the cassette Class; stereo recording (note: earlier digital version was mono).

Side Two

  1. Early Poems (4:15): MP3
  2. to be an married (0:40): MP3
  3. Asylum (11:35): MP3
  4. Lo Disfruto (8:04): MP3
  5. my/my/my (11:13): MP3

Coco-Rimbay Cassette

  1. Three-voice Performance of Sentences from Parsing (1975) (Bernstein, Susan Bee, Greg Ball) (6:56): MP3
  2. Asylums/Parsing medley (with Bernstein, Susan Bee and Greg Ball) (1975) (11:51): MP3
  3. Coco-RImbay (1975) (Bernstein & Edmund Chibeau) (13:40): MP3
  4. Sen-Sen (1975) (Bernstein, Chibeau, Bee) (4:34): MP3
  5. Goodnight (from Class) (1976) (0:53): MP3
  6. My/My/My (from Class) (1976) (4:57): MP3


    1. Piffle (Breathing)" 1976, (7:00)

    with Susan Bee [Laufer] and Greg Ball

    2. 1-100, 1969, (3:00)

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

    4. Class, 1976, (10:30)

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


    6. "Soul Under" (from Shade) c. 1980 (2:48)

    Class (cassette), which 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". "Class" uses improvised repetitions by way of the rewind button on a mono cassette player; its primary sources being Marlon Brando in Elia Kazan's "On the Waterfront" (1954), screenplay by Budd Schulberg; and two songs by Lew Brown and Jay Gorney from "Stand Up and Cheer" (1934): "Baby Take a Bow", sung by James Dunn, and "I'm Laughing", sung by Tess Gardella. "1-100" was conceived and performed in the Fall of my sophomore year at college.

    Track 6. "Soul Under" (from Shade) was recorded at the Saint Mark's Church New Year's "No Reading", Parish Hall, New York, January 1, 1980. It was included on Sugar, Alcohol & Meat (2x LP, Giorno Poetry Systems, 1980).

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    1. Draperies, December 10, 1998
    2. Readings, December 10, 1998

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