CAGE, JOHN: Imaginary Landscapes

 
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The entire series, composed between 1939 and 1985 gathered together on one CD. No.1, the first to use the gramophone as a performing instrument (alongside three piano notes and a cymbal) is visionary; Nos.2 & 3 (1942) for amplified springs, percussion, electric buzzers and, again, vari-speed turntables, clatter and explode like rather psychotic junkyard skirmishes; No.4 for 12 radios was another landmark and, for No.5 (1952), Cage moved to straight ahead plunderphonics, using 42 taped recordings of extracts from (jazz) gramophone records instead of radios. 6 (1982) mixes the sound of crumpled, torn and waved paper with wood and water. These are new performances of the pieces by the maelstrom percussion ensemble conducted by percussionist and old Cage hand Jan Williams. Performances are all fine. The first 5 landscapes are the most radical and imaginative and occupy about half the time, No.6 is 26 minutes long, and is the one that sounds most meditative and 'Cagean' ('I have nothing to say and I'm saying it'). A good collection with useful notes.




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