Monday, September 26, 2011

Imaginary Landscape No. 4 by John Cage- A Listen by Mali

A tuning of building up noise starts off then almost immediately turns into an instant chaotic switching and changing of noises. The variety goes into stations of a calming beat to a foreign language station to news of the weather and even economic conditions. Some voices appear and disappear for just a second combined with clear and vague sounds.  In between the chaos, there is a mix of incomprehensible noises, the sounds of the transitions being made. The volume changes from high to low and low to high after each station switching, just as fast as the stations are also changing. There is a a prolonged silence about two minutes in the recording, an uncomfortable feeling that tricks the mind to think the piece has ended, but in fact it has not.  My mind, at this moment, seems to be lost and floating along this landscape of in and out of fragmented sounds and wanting to find the next sound, since the sudden noiseless spots are uncomfortable and interrupt the flow of the chaos.  A prolonged period of white noise and static sounds and then a slight comprehensible stations of music and news reports appears. The stations start being changed faster and faster and stops abruptly to other stations, almost as if they were choreographed formulaically. There are instances where you hear only a note, a sound, a word, or just a noise.  Towards the end, there seems to be another foreign language station with sounds and noises that go in and out of the background and sometimes even overlap. Every station change becomes a mystery because you are curious to what each station is, since each noise, sound, beat, voice, announcement is incomplete. The combination of empty spaces and variety of all these sounds and noises does not allow you to just stay on one station for longer than a few seconds to actually make out what is happening, what is enjoyable, and what is being said from one or a combination of two separate and competing sources. How can a piece of such chaos work and make the listener play the piece over and over and every time a new experience seems to come about? And would you ever be able to figure out the pattern, if there is in fact an order to the chaos of intersecting radio waves and airwaves?

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