Laurie Spiegel, a trailblazing electronic experimentalist and composer, is getting her landmark (and long out-of-print) work The Expanding Universe re-released. To mark that occasion, The New Yorker spoke with Spiegel about her process, her amazing-sounding apartment, the current electronic avant garde, her time at the infamous Bell Labs and a bunch of other stuff, too.

“I guess both Steve [Reich] and Phil [Glass] were coming out of African rhythms and Indian music—but we had stuff right here, down home here in the ol’ U.S. And the banjo is a particularly interesting instrument because it has the high string next to the low string like Indian instruments.”

On the current compositional trends in experimental electronic music:

“They just start something and then they add another layer and another layer or they just iterate…. And yeah, there are repeating materials in ‘The Expanding Universe’ pieces, but there are also endlessly evolving melodic sequences that don’t repeat, and I’d like to hear a lot more of that stuff.”


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