Monday, October 24, 2005


Bird Cage

Tonight, something I was not much looking forward to.  There are some Cage works that anybody can enjoy, and then there’s the rest ;-)

Bird Cage
“Twelve tapes, to be distributed by a single performer in a space where people are free to move and birds to fly” reads the 1972 score.  I guess in that respect, the performance is pretty straightforward.  I’m not sure if it was ever realized after the recording I have was made.  At any rate, what we end up is a sound collage of tapes, with speed, repetition and duration varied by chance operations, overlaid with the sound of birds.  I’m not sure what to say precisely here, other than that the sounds of the birds mix in well with the various sounds from the tapes (machine noises, electronics, talking) and I am left with the impression that there is less of a difference between the sounds of nature and the sounds of machines and people than you might expect.  Maybe one day you’ll be able to go to the record store and see “bathtub noises” and “cars engines” next to all the “nature sound” collections.  

Since there’s not much else to say, maybe it would be entertaining to make a list of some of the sounds I heard.
That’s only seven, I suppose.  Probably these were separated up into different groupings.  Additionally, I’m pretty sure some or all of the birds were recorded, because the chirping would suddenly cut out at certain points, not a very probable event in a real group of birds.  

It's an interesting idea that nature sounds and man-made sounds are not all that different. It could be fun to play different sounds to an individual and determine whether they could distinguish between it being natural or man-made. So many of the sounds we hear nowadays are man-made, that I imagine that there are a whole host of natural sounds we have not come across.
i really love bird cage. i think its a great piece in cage's more maximalist/all sound period.
did you end up liking it more after listening to it?

My not looking forward to it had less to do with conten than length. Still, it was easier to pay attention than I thought, since there was so much going on and so many peculiar sounds to hear.

Part of the time, I listened to it while I did dishes, a fairly noisy activity. I found that the sounds complemented each other well!

In general, it's just hard for me to pay attention to works of great length where the texture is pretty much the same throughout.
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