Zuhahlter started out as a class assignment in which we were instructed to make a field recording of environmental sounds and transcribe it for traditional acoustic instruments. Instead of taking the obvious route, sitting on the New Haven Green and recording the passing cars and mutterings of nearby conversations, I decided to spend five minutes listening to my then-roommate communicate with his friends on AOL Instant Messenger. The piece thus takes its title from my roommate's AOL screenname, which according to him means "pimp" in German. The saxophonist, by tapping rapidly on certain keys of his instrument, is able to mimic the sound of a computer keyboard and mouse with almost frightening accuracy, while the pianist chimes in with the familiar three- and four-note cues that AOL uses to indicate when a message is sent or received. Initially intended as a throwaway piece, Zuhahlter has ironically received the most performances of any of my acoustic pieces and has achieved something approaching cult status among those familiar with it. A true postmodern period piece for the information age.