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Uncaged John

An attempt to decode his mysteries -

'Cage is a time-travelling machine.'

John Cage - Three 2 - Twenty Three - Six - Twenty Six - The First Recordings. (c) 1999 OgreOgress Productions

'Truly fertile Music, the only kind that will move us, that we shall truly appreciate, will be a Music conducive to Dream, which banishes all reason and analysis. One must not wish first to understand and then to feel. Art does not tolerate Reason.'

Albert Camus (1913-1960) French-Algerian philosopher, author
repr. In Youthful Writings (1976), 'Essay on Music', Sud (Algiers, June 1932)

Reviewing two CDs by John Cage (1912-1992) is a somewhat daunting task. Obviously no conventional rules apply; no ordinary yardstick can be used to measure the unmeasurable, no mundane radar screen suffices to keep track of his myriad tangents of sound and silence.

In this case, finding out what is being performed by whom, and the name of the recording company (for whom) is a major undertaking in itself. Let me reduce matters to a simpler platform. There is a Green CD [listen -- track 1, 0:03-1:15]. It opens, and out falls a multi-coloured sticker, 'Free Tibet'. There are no programme notes; there is simply one single piece of black and white paper upon which the contents are itemised without explanation. The inside of this black and white cover is red and gold -- the deliberate colours of Zen Buddhism? After hearing a lecture given by Nancy Wilson Ross on both Zen and Dada in the late 1930s, Cage remained in his way a lifetime student of both.

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Copyright © 28 August 2002 Jennifer Paull, Vouvry, Switzerland


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