Tuesday, November 25, 2008

John Cage: Silence, Sound, Remix

John Cage / Wim Mertens: So that each person is in charge of himself from Ubuweb.

Collections & Re-Collections Re: & Not-Re: John Cage by Arthur Durkee (2006 remix version).

This is a piece I first composed for radiobroadcast in the 1990s, when I was at WORT-FM Madison, WI. It was a birthday broadcast for Cage, which became an annual performance broadcast tradition, on or around his birth date in September. The piece uses Cage's techniques of chance operations to play back and mix multiple prepared and live sources that are all performances, recorded or live, of John Cage's compositions. This remix, which is a mix of three previous versions, heavily relies upon Cage's own voice, reading in studio and before a live audience. As his arthritis grew worse, later in life, Cage began to use writing and reading as his main means of performances, as it became too painful or difficult to play musical instruments or operate electronic devices. So he came to treat the lecture as a form of musical composition, in its own right. My piece is both a celebration of and homage to Cage, his ideas, and his audible work.

(If you listen closely, you'll hear some Marshall McLuhan in this mix. Cage and McLuhan mutually influenced one another.)

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Blogger Dave King said...

Thanks for that. Listening to him - which I could do all day - it struck me that what he was saying about sound could be applied with very little rephrasing to poetry.

8:09 AM  
Blogger Art Durkee said...

Yes, Dave, exactly! Thanks for catching that; it is why I posted these excerpts from his work.

His performances/lectures were exactly that. Some of them are very poetic, and in my opinion put a lot of the avant-garde poetry world to shame; if only by having prefigured them by decades.

10:19 AM  

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