The Electrolux Suite

1974    Dur. 6:04    Stereo

This was my first composition, written in the fall of 1971. Our family did not own a piano at the time, which would be necessary for notating and arranging the music, but we did have an Electrolux canister vacuum cleaner and a Hohner melodica (small handheld wind-blown keyboard instrument) which somebody had left at our house. So I reversed the hose on my mother’s vacuum cleaner to make the air blow outwards, then I duct-taped the melodica to the end of the hose to create an organ-type contraption. It was everything I needed.

After composing The Electrolux Suite I put together an 8-piece group to perform the piece at my high school, and we also performed it on our local television station CFPL-TV (London, Ontario) on a program called Midweek Magazine. In the meantime my mother discovered I had blown out the motor in her vacuum cleaner due to the melodica impeding the air flow, and she was mad as the heck. I tried to plead that it was all in the name of art, but that was a nonstarter. It cost me 50 bucks to have the vacuum cleaner repaired. And before long a second-hand upright piano appeared in our house. I continued to compose music and our floors were very clean.

This recording of The Electrolux Suite is version #2, performed by Smorgasbord in 1974.