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    Wednesday, October 06, 2004

    Don't fiddle with your speakers, it's s'posed to not sound like that

    I visit BBC's Music site every couple weeks. They have a good section on Experimental music. Many of the links they provide are offsite, but occassionally they'll have a great article on a particular artist or genre.

    Today's new headline caught my eye because it includes a photo of Leon Theremin, the Russian inventor who created the theremin. The photo highlights the BBC's "Quick Guide to Experimental" article (a quick read if you're interested).

    What I find most amusing, however, is the sound sample they provide to introduce the article: John Cage's 4'33" which is 4 minutes and 33 seconds of silence. It was a "groundbreaking" piece that Cage debuted in 1952 where the musicians are instructed to remain silent for the duration of the performance. On one hand, I can see what is getting at here:

    "There are probably as many reactions / meanings / interpretations of 4'33" as there are possible realizations. And that will always be the undisturbed, elusive, quite timeless beauty of this piece. Aside from all these considerations, it is charmingly warm and disarming to simply share this peaceful moment (unselfconsciously) with the rest of the audience."

    But for BBC to provide a Real Audio stream of silence that lasts almost five minutes? I'm not sure if this is brilliance or a webmaster's idea of a joke.