KFJC 89.7FM
Album Review

Cage, John – “Variations I V ” – [Legacy International]

Thurston Hunger   7/23/2005   A Library, CD

Both Cage, and his frequent collaborator David Tudor
are gone now, but their legacy echoes in much of the
music KFJC adds, as well as in the sounds you hear
when walking down the street. Or better yet, in how
you hear them. Cage was adept at composition qua
composition, but was a man who thought as much or
more than he played. His curiousity and penchant for
experimentation were contagious, and would spread
like mushrooms wherever he went. This piece (listen
/play the track 1 1950’s educational-film-style intro
for specifics) was orchestrated by dancers tripping
diodes. Maybe even tripping dancers, who knows…
Two rooms (stereo separated here?) with mics and
record players and tape machines (THE post-modern
musical instrument…with the sampler evolving from
it). An eavesdropper’s delight of juxtaposed sounds
that melt in your mind/not your ears. The highlights
of a magical evening condensed into tracks here for
you. A woman describes her failed marriage while a
diva wails, typewriters and bombs provide percussion
to marches, a doctor talking about fatigue leads
into a horror soundtrack scream, that famous fuse
piece burns through the Nutcracker. It’s like a
vulcan mind-meld with one of the century’s most
significant artist.

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