February 17th, 2003

Williams Mix

Saturday, March 22, 2003, marks the 50th anniversary of the premiere
performance of John Cage’s Williams Mix (1951-53) for eight monaural
magnetic tapes, the first octophonic tape music composition in the
world, created and performed with eight speakers surrounding the

To celebrate this historic piece and its first performance 50 years ago,
Austin will create the Williams [re]Mix[…stallation], a continuously
performing octophonic sound installation to be installed at Engine 27,
implemented with Austin’s recently developed Williams [re]Mix[er]
(1997-2001), an interactive I Ching composing program. The program, in
operation, creates ever-newer versions and realizations of Cage’s
original work, calling on a recorded sound library of hundreds of
sounds. The program’s functionality is modeled on the compositional
processes used by Cage to create his Williams Mix, these processes extrapolated
and applied from Austin’s analyses of Cage’s 192-page score, his
sketches, and the eight monaural, analog tapes for the piece.

From February 14 to March 16, 2003, everyone is invited to

upload soundfiles via the web
for inclusion in the library to be
used during the new multiple Williams [re]Mix[ed] realizations to be
played during the installation.

History of the Williams Mix
Some good resources
Essay on the aesthetic behind the “silent” composition 4’33”
British composer charged with copyright infringement over silent track.

John Cage is one of those figures that generates great love and great hostility. I don’t know that I understand but a fragment of what he was all about, but he was a big influence on my work and thinking.

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