Tuesday, January 21, 2003


"If something is boring after two minutes, try it for four. If still boring, then eight. Then sixteen. Then thirty-two. Eventually one discovers that it is not boring at all." - John Cage.

BBC World Service Arts in Action correspondent Michael White talks of the legacy of composer John Cage at AinAsoundclips. Sadly NFE missed the first three-note chord of Cage’s monumental ‘ASLSP’ (‘As Slow As Possible’) at Halberstadt in Germany on 5 January this year. Fortunately you can catch up with them at Organ2/ASLSP. And make a note in your diaries now: the next two notes can be heard on 5 July 2004. The piece is projected to take a thousand years to complete. Cage can be found at New Albion. And there’s a network of JC sites documented by the ever-productive Malcolm Humes.

Josh Ronsen, instigator of the Boulez Project (about which more will follow on NFE) also has a very good Cage Page. This includes 27 [at present] sound files. The John Cage Discussion List is the place you should be if you are overly fascinated by any of this.

No doubt you will also have heard the delightful news that puveyor of vile and offensive musak, millionaire Mike Batt, recently agreed to pay £100,000 to the John Cage Trust for alleged copyright infringement on 4’33”. As if The Wombles wasn’t a bad enough thing to inflict on the world, Batt is the man behind the execrably dire 'classics'-pap crossover, The Planets – his contested ‘composition’ (actually Cage’s), ‘One Minute Of Silence’ appears on their latest album.

Still, the man is not without humour. Having coughed up he has now released the work as a double-A-side single, and he comments wryly: "Mine is a much better silent piece. I have been able to say in one minute what Cage could only say in four minutes and 33 seconds."

So there really is hope of redemption… Talking of which, I must ask Josh if he’d accept a token Mike Batt CD to trash as a part of his mail-art performance piece -- in exchange for a recovered Boulez one, of course. Meanwhile, quite a bit of what you might never need to know about Cage’s most famous work is provided by AzStarNet.

"As far as consistency of thought goes, I prefer inconsistency." - John Cage

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