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'Hunger Games' audio easter egg: obscure '70s electronic gem from Laurie Spiegel

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A piece from pioneering 1970s electronic composer Laurie Spiegel is featured in The Hunger Games. The 9-minute song is called Sediment.

laurie spiegel
laurie spiegel

If you've seen The Hunger Games you might have noticed the eerie, atmospheric music playing during the film's "cornucopia" scene. It turns out that the piece — called Sediment (YouTube below) — was composed 40 years ago by Laurie Spiegel, who played it on an analog synth and did the mixing with two stereo reel-to-reel decks, unplugging her refrigerator during takes in order to keep everything in tune.

In the 1970s Spiegel was a member of the downtown New York arts community along with Steve Reich (whose music is also, incidentally, featured in The Hunger Games), and began writing software for music composition at Bell Labs before founding New York University's Computer Music Studio. Later, after receiving a prototype Apple II 48k from Jef Raskin in the late 1970s, she developed Music Mouse for the Macintosh in 1985 — dubbed an "intelligent instrument," and one of the first music applications available for the platform. It's great to see Spiegel getting some shine in such a big film, and while Sediment isn't featured on the official soundtrack, a reissue of her 1975 album The Expanding Universe is set for the fall.