Cut-up Technique

'The Cut-Up Technique was popularized in the late 1950s and early 1960s by writer William S. Burroughs, and has since been used in a wide variety of contexts.'*

In this animated clip Burrough's explains some of these early experiments

Voice (on clip above) is from: William Burroughs – Origin and Theory of the Tape Cut-Ups, Animation by Ana Nawarro (QUEDEAR)

'In the 1950s, painter and writer Brion Gysin more fully developed the cut-up method after accidentally re-discovering it. He had placed layers of newspapers as a mat to protect a tabletop from being scratched while he cut papers with a razor blade. Upon cutting through the newspapers, Gysin noticed that the sliced layers offered interesting juxtapositions of text and image. He began deliberately cutting newspaper articles into sections, which he randomly rearranged. Gysin introduced Burroughs to the technique at the Beat Hotel. The pair later applied the technique to printed media and audio recordings in an effort to decode the material's implicit content,hypothesizing that such a technique could be used to discover the true meaning of a given text.' * Edited/ Cut n Paste from:

The Cut Ups - William S. Burroughs and Antony Balch

Musical influence

'Burroughs cut-up techniques have been major influence on many musicians/ singers/ lyricists including Kurt CobainDavid BowieIan CurtisLou ReedPatti Smith and Tom Waits.

From the early 1970s, David Bowie has used cut-ups to create some of his lyrics. This technique influenced Kurt Cobain's songwriting.[3] Thom Yorke applied a similar method in Radiohead's Kid A (2000) album, writing single lines, putting them into a hat, and drawing them out at random while the band rehearsed the songs.'

Listen to: 'The "Priest" They Called Him' (1992), an album collaboration between William S. Burroughs and Kurt Cobain.

On The Road - "Old Bull Lee."

Burroughs was fictionalized in Jack Kerouac's autobiographical novel On the Road as "Old Bull Lee." "Old Bull Lee" is played by Viggo Mortensen in Walter Salles screen adaptation, On The Road.