Holy Ghost Vacuum or America Faints

As 21st-century musicologists continue to sort out the maze of 20th-century repertoire, a name that hopefully will resurface is George Cacioppo. Another Midwest maverick in the tradition of folks like Kenneth Gaburo and Salvatore Martirano—whose music is slowly being acknowledged as being equally fascinating as the music produced on the two American coasts—Cacioppo was a key voice in the legendary ONCE Festivals of the 1960s. His 1966 Holy Ghost Vacuum or America Faints for solo electric organ is ostensibly written for the organ’s loudspeakers—keyboard and pedal combinations were devised especially to trigger beats and difference tones. In Cacioppo’s own performance, documented on a rare mono reel-to-reel tape from Ann Arbor, the result is beyond creepy; almost a twisted synthesis of late Feldman and the Doors, and predating both.

—FJO