No… not Jesus Christ…
I’m talking about the other J.C.—prophet of sound art, John Cage. This year has been a bash with centenary festivals everywhere you turn. The importance of this man to modern music and sound is undeniable. Cage’s voice still resonates from the past and continues to influence the work of composers, artists, and theoreticians today. Communities all over the world have their own unique ways of commemorating his legacy.
This Friday, September 7, The New School will honor Cage with a concert featuring members of the Sonic Arts Union. If J.C. was a prophet of sound, then you could say that these guys were sonic apostles. They incorporated Cage’s lessons and ideas into their own practices, and ultimately became major players in the sound art scene as well. Three quarters of this group, Robert Ashley, Alvin Lucier, and David Behrman, will be joined by Chris Mann for a performance that will blow your mind…
Really, take a look at the program notes that Lucier submitted for his piece:
MUSIC FOR SOLO PERFORMER (1965)
enormously ampli[fi]ed brain waves and percussion
Music for Solo Performer was the first work in history to use brain waves for musical purposes. During a performance, a performer sits with electrodes affixed to his or her scalp. The signal from the electrodes is routed through at least sixteen audio amplifiers and loudspeakers deployed throughout the space. The speakers are directly coupled to percussion instruments, including tympani, drums, gongs, cymbals and found objects. During the performance one or more assistants channel the amplified alpha waves to loudspeakers and percussion instruments in various combinations.
Music for Solo Performer was first performed on May 5, 1965, at the Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University. John Cage assisted in the performance.
The set-up alone for this event is a massive undertaking. James Fei, Associate Professor of Electronic Arts at Mills College in California, will oversee its technical completion.
The event is free and there are no tickets. It is simply first come, first seated. So get there early!
If you can’t make it out to this event, there are other ways to get down with my main man, J.C. This app has received the official seal of approval from James Briggs III, audio engineer to the stars. It simulates a prepared piano, an instrument popularized by none other than, you guessed it, John Cage.
Ashley, Robert. “The Influence of John Cage.” (2011)
Cage, John. Silence. (1961)
Kirn, Peter. “John Cage at 100: A Celebration in Words, Listening, and Prepared Piano iPhones.” (2012)
Pritchett, James. The Music of John Cage. (1993)
two newses. whaddya want first? fine, here comes: no bigboy festival in 2011 [ducks]. yeah, we be sorry. but that’s where news #2 is comin’ in …
WATCH IT. meaning us. we have plans, be it tentative, for smaller thingz. it’s a looo o o ong year and who knows what it/we might be bringin’?
that is all (fer now).
putting the finishing touches on the archives yes! it’s coming. In the meantime, rebecca bray and jimmy garver have posted their own documentation of their very popular project SILOSPHERE. fun times were had. fun times will be had:
The good people at free103point9, spearheaded here by Maria P, have posted some archives of various events recorded at this year’s festival. There are special interviews and documents of events and everything great. Here’s the original event descriptions of what they covered:
- “Oversharing on the Radio” / Benjamen Walker
- Silosphere” / Rebecca Bray & James Bigbee Garver
- “A Thousand Voices” / Ioana Jucan, Quyen Ngo and Ryan Lester
- David Kestenbaum
- “Documentary Square Dance: The Place + Memory Project / Big Shed” / Shea Shackelford, Jennifer Deer, Jesse Dukes
- “Frequent Mutilations” / Andrew O’Connor
- “Mutator” / Lea Bertucci, Ed Bear
- Neil Feather during “Thunder Wheel Array”
- Nelson Loskamp during “Chaircut”
- “North Avenue:NOISE” / Steve Bradley, “vibrating.AIR”/ Steve Bradley, Jason Sloan
- David Goren during “The Shortwave Shindig”
- “Getting Closer” / Eitan Isaacson, Jenny Asarnow
- “How to Score in Radio” / Lawrence Lanahan, Bruce Wallace
Visit the free103point9 site for the archival akshun.
Felix Kubin on the cover of the June 2010 issue of the Wire (ripped from thewire.co.uk), not long after wearing the same suit at and doing summa zee following at da 2010 MegaFESTTT: