Background Noise Reflection
I appreciate starting with Cage & how his work delivered pedestrian sounds into the spotlight . . . as illustrated by his statement that "everything we do is music." Having been born after these ideas came into the world through Cage's work, it's hard for me to imagine what the world was like before that. I find myself often romanced by the idea that everything we do is music - this typing I'm doing right now? It's a beautiful sound. I kept thinking as I read this book how Cage is somewhat akin to Marx or Freud in the way that he grandfathers a movement which spawns others to follow suit and even more to de- or re- construct the ideas that began with Cage.
I think Tim's insight into thinking about the Buddhist ideas of thus-ness are spot on. While I was reading about Cage I kept wondering if he studied Zen as his work embodies the very notion of exploring both what is present and what is not. It's a strange concept to try to explain because it's something that doesn't make any kind of linear or logical sense. As it turns out, Cage did study Zen to a certain degree although it's my understanding that he never became a practitioner of it.
I'm rather fascinated with the research of musique concrete with the advent of tape recorders replacing phonograph records & how a collective curiosity managed to explore all the new ways sound could be manipulated. Again, I try to imagine what the world was like before you could play something backwards or have reverb put on an existing sound. It's so easy to sculpt sound in this way today I keep thinking, "what was this like when it was totally new?" If anyone has the chance to listen to the radio lab piece on the musicality of language, there's a story about a composition that caused rioting upon it's debut that's both entertaining & enlightening. How humans sonic-ly evolve to new sounds is fascinating to me. When does a reverb transform from being a really weird and maybe uncomfortable sound into an attractive sound?
It reminds me that in this digital age we're in a new era of sonic evolution ourselves.
Now that I'm farther into the book, it's hard to comment specifically on the first assignment because the first chapter really sets the stage for what's to come. I'm also still not a huge fan of the writing style although I'm decidedly less crabby about it now that I've moved farther into the book.
I'm anxious to hear what others thoughts are on the book & the historical perspective given.