Billy Corgan Performs an 8+ Hour Ambient Interpretation of Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha

Billy Corgan, the frontman of The Smashing Pumpkins, made this announcement on his Facebook page last week:

On 2/28 I’ll be doing a show at Madame ZuZu’s Teahouse [in Chicago]; start time noon, and due to nature of performance it’ll last 8-9 hours… As with all our events there is no charge. Performance will be centered around an ambient/musical interpretation of Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha; built by modular synthesis, on the fly. Readings of the text to go hand in hand with whatever is created; + the first @Hexistential poster, and event t-shirts too. Hope to see you there.

One fan quickly responded: “Film this, please. This sounds like a truly special event, one that I’d be humbled to take in, even if a recording is the only way to do so.” Luckily, his wish was granted.

Above and below, you can watch Corgan’s long ambient interpretation. And, in our Free eBooks and Free Audio Books collections, you can find a copy of Herman Hesse’s existential novel from 1922. As you watch the video, you’ll encounter what SPIN describes as “a reading of the book itself, combined with modular synth blips, bloops, and textures.” Settle in and enjoy.

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Comments (3)
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  • John says:

    This sounds like an effective torture method to me.

  • Steohen Gunther says:


    Not only pretentious and claptrap but also eight hours of drivel.


  • VoiceFromAnotherEra says:

    Once there was a man whote wrote some of the most creative songs of our generation.

    What we did not know was these songs were a fluke. A rare moment in time when everything aligned. When it all clicked for him and everyone working with him. This time would never come again.

    The songs of this ten year era were far more than the sum of even the man himself. But he, and most of the musical world, was and remains incapable of understanding and grasping the magnitude of what he had inadvertently done.

    To do so consciously was our assumption. Clearly this is not how it happened.

    The stars aligned once and never will again quite the same way. We can only remember those days and draw inspiration from those rare times when we can. In a new world where a lasting presence of the truely great work would have been more needed than ever.

    A genius most definitely. But sadly the potential can only be tapped a handful of times in an artist, then seems to remain out of reach forever.

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