Monday, April 2, 2012

3' 44'' (Step Back)

My work, entitled 3' 44'' (Step Back), is heavily inspired by the ideas and compositions of John Cage, an experimental music visionary. In creating this work, I carefully focused upon and responded to Cage's idea of chance as a variable in the composition of music, by layering two separate sound recordings over one another, allowing no bias or control over the alignment, tempo, dynamics, harmony, etc. In doing this, I gave up acoustic control as the artist, leaving the most important decisions of musical composition almost completely up to fate. The only element of control I claimed over the finished piece was the length of the composition itself, which I strictly regimented to exactly 3 minutes and 44 seconds, a symbolically-driven reference to Cage's famous "silent" piece, 4' 33'', once again in spite of any acoustically-concious decision-making. I was inspired to this name by yet another idea of Cage's, the idea that there is no such thing as complete silence, and music can mean more than the term as it is commonly used. Music is all around us, as reflected by the profound moment of realization I had while undertaking this project; that sometimes the most beautiful music is the most subtle. Even on the unsightly (and unsoundly) D.C. Metro, was music to be found.