supporting: cage against the machine

by pieces of moments

From 2005-2008 the coveted No. 1 spot on the UK radio singles charts during the week before the Christmas holiday has been taken by the winner of Simon Cowell’s “X Factor” televised singing competition. Last year, 2009, a group of citizens plotted to get a Rage Against The Machine  (fitting, no?) song from 1992 to No. 1…and they did it.

I recently read Luke Bainbridge’s blog on the subject in the Guardian, and I have to say I agree with him. I’m not against pop, but I am rather annoyed by a Simon Cowell monopoly.

This year the race is on to once again keep the X Factor winner from taking No. 1…and you know whose music was chosen as the single to do the job? John Cage with his 4’33”. If you don’t know the piece, check out the video below – it’s the recording of the single (which, if you’re in the UK, you can purchase and contribute to their bid for No. 1). Imogen Heap participated, as did Dan Le Sac and Scroobius Pip. No, you don’t need to adjust your speakers…the musicians don’t play, per say, at least in the traditional sense. 4’33” asks the performer to refrain from creating sound on an instrument. Rather, it asks both the performer and the audience to engage in the silence, which, isn’t really silence at all. The result? You immerse yourself in the sonic world around you for those minutes and seconds.

I love that they chose Cage’s piece. What better way to suggest this holiday season we remember to stop and hear sounds of our lives rather than the constant barrage of music that keeps us from truly listening?