The Rambler :: blog

Monday, September 22, 2003

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"But enough of the contemporary musical scene; it is well known. More important is to determine what are the problems confronting the contemporary mushroom." [Cage, 'Music Lovers' Field Companion', Silence, 274-6]

Kenneth Goldsmith in this month's The Wire talks about his epiphany on reading Silence. I had one of those too - it's that sort of a book, really. I think what I get most from it is less Cage's philosophy towards sound - of which every composer has one, so why would Cage be different? - and more his philosophy towards actions, of which sound, and the production of sounds, are just subsets. The magic of Silence is contained in the stories of mushroom picking, which become music in Cage's book; the interconnectivity between everything and music. Music as part of everything. At a time when the European avant garde were rapidly pushing music towards the cosmic, Cage brought sound back to earth and made it vital and relevant. I've linked it before (here), but the Indeterminacy page is wonderful - the whole set of stories, accessed at random.

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