John Cage – Lollipops – El Records

Where does John Cage exist? Begin and end? The answer to that question lies somewhere.

“If my work is accepted, I must move on to the point where it is not.”
John Cage
“Without John Cage, much of what happens in modern music and art would not be possible.” Frank Zappa

When you think about the way a lot of music conforms to strict guidelines, following rules, seeking approval it perhaps says a lot that you have to go backwards to find an artists of John Cage’s stature.

The edges are folded into popular culture, adopted, softened and made more palatable.

Finely tuned disturbance.

This compilation includes the 25-Year Retrospective Concert performed at the New York Town Hall on May 15, 1958 and was recorded live. Indeterminacy: New Aspect of Form in Instrumental and Electronic Music alongside long-time musical collaborator, David Tudor, along with the original tape realisation of the Fontana Mix sound collage, assembled by the composer in Italy. Plus, Double Music which explores the percussive qualities of metal; and Cartridge Music, a manipulation of phonograph cartridges, where, Cage warns, “all sounds, even those ordinarily thought to be undesirable, are accepted.” If that sounds dangerous. It is.

The idea of combining electronics with the human voice is now commonplace but back in the 50’s, and before, it was much more revolutionary, certainly defying convention. The idea of purely electronic waves of unstructured sounds still reverberates across its own unique time and space. Cartridge Music (1960) is a radical, challenging testament to commitment. I suppose you could describe listening to these pieces as an experience. Certainly one you will not forget in a hurry. Lollipops is an important document about the exploration of sound, its innate qualities, the reaction of emotion: ‘the purpose of this purposeless music would be achieved if people learned to listen, that when they listened that they might discover they preferred the sounds of everyday life….’

Strange times.

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