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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