Tuesday, March 22, 2011

John Cage / Cage Against The Machine 4'33"

As you know, there was an Internet campaign to make John Cage's 4'33" the Christmas number one, partly to annoy people who like X-Munter and partly because it would just be funny to have four and a half minutes of awkward silence on Christmas Day Top of the Pops. I downloaded the entire single to play my part in this important struggle, although being in Ireland I was essentially backing Ralph Nader in the Christmas number one battle here between some shitey X-Factor song and 'Horse Outside'* by the Rubber Bandits.

Some of the mixes on this display an astonishing lack of understanding of the basic concept. I mean, it is meant to be a silent piece of music, bar the ambient noise of where it is performed or recorded, so there should not be loads and loads of extraneous noise. Of the ones that kind of get it, the 'Herve Tidies His Studio Mix' is interesting, but he may have been tidying his studio a bit more noisily than normal. The 'Alex Metric Enters The Batcave Mix' is similarly ambient, but with both of these there is the slight suspicion that all the ambient sounds are being made by the people who did the sound effects for Hot Fuzz. 'Fake Blood's Needle Drop Mix' is maybe truest to the basic idea – it sounds like a DJ playing nothing bar the sound of a needle sliding around a blank groove, with occasional very quiet snippets of background sound. So Fake Blood wins.

image source

An inuit panda production

* Foreign readers who have not encountered this are recommended to investigate the video on YouTube. Even if you do not find if funny or like the music you will probably find it intriguingly bizarre.

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