Excerpts from “Silence”, John Cage

I often feel somewhat conflicted about John Cage. I think to be more accurate, I feel conflicted about Artists in love with John Cage and seeking to emulate him, in appearance, and not process. There is much that can be learned from Cage, his thought process as well as how he generated experimental music. His treatment of sound can be a delightful breath of postmodernism, especially when you have a chance to listen to Steve Reich, Iannis Xenakis and Karlheinz Stockhausen  at the same time.

Cage’s  approach to process, can be slightly overwhelming at first for those unfamiliar with working in sound. Even for those more practiced, there is a weight to his words that can intimidate a practitioner. Once you work your way past the medium specific jargon, you find yourself lulled into a rolling cadence by the layout of the page. Is it possible to hear the words as you read them? Has Cage managed to make me hear a rhythm while reading?  In the silence of reading, I have a meta experience as the eyes move across the words and there is a mental echo as each section breaks, even if it is mid-thought.

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