The Squid's Ear Magazine

  Rapid SSL





  American Express

© 2002-2016, Squidco LLC

Four percussionists perform John Cages's 1991 numbered work "Four4" in four movements using flexible time brackets in a sensitive and authoritative rendering of this fascinating work.

Four4 (Allen / Burn / Patterson / Wastell)
John Cage

Four4  (Allen / Burn / Patterson / Wastell): John Cage (Another Timbre)
Label: Another Timbre    
Released in: UK    

"This version of the very late Cage piece for four percussionists (it was composed in 1991, a year before his death) was realised by a quartet of improvisers, at least two of whom perhaps wouldn't immediately strike you as percussionists. The group consist of Simon Allen, a straight percussionist I believe, whose music I have not come across before, Mark Wastell, who plays the tam tam on this disc, percussion with a minimal slant, Chris Burn, who plays the inside piano, albeit it in an often percussive manner, and Lee Patterson, whose sound sources are not detailed but I hear things fizzing in glasses of water and other things burning here, so a percussionist only in a fairly wide sense of the term. This matters not though. Cage's score essentially allows the musicians a fair amount of scope. They get to pick the sounds they use, and with a few chance elements thrown in, they play a small selection of sounds that they chose before hand in time brackets randomly chosen by Cage using a computer programme. So throughout the seventy-two minute long work extended sounds of one kind or another slip and slide across each other, sometimes two or three sounding at once, quite often none sounding at all, and so we get to follow Cage's instruction to just sit and listen until the next sounds arrive.

The thing about this piece, as I find with the majority of Cage's late "Numbers" scores, is that how good it is, or how exciting/beautiful/interesting (delete as appropriate) it may sound is entirely reliant on the advance selections made, firstly the selection of the musicians- a poor quartet with little understanding of the work would sound terrible very easily here, and then the selection of sounds by each musician. Some advance consideration must be made, albeit it perhaps subconsciously, about how the sounds might all fit together. So all of the sounds here are generally either soft, extended, droning choices, or gritty repetitive patterns that add texture, but the occasions when two or more sounds don't fit together nicely are few and far between, though when they do occur they stand out a mile. the sounds here on this new realisation are rich and finely detailed, perhaps not so far from the sounds the musicians usually improvise with.

The sounds are all quite lovely, often hard to assign to any one of the quartet, but they glow with a warmth that gives the CD a feeling of slow, methodical beauty. There are several lengthy silences in there as well, and coming between the little gusts of acoustic sound they are always a welcome breather from the storm. These 'silences' or rather, opportunities to just listen are often quite long, and sometimes feel unexpected, but such if the random nature for the composition. The element of surprise is what makes this kind of composition realisation so intriguing.

So, this isn't just a disc for Cage completists. The sounds are often thoroughly beautiful, and where they cross and blend their attraction is only enhanced. The choice of improvisers to create the music allows a flexibility in the sounds, choices made that perhaps would never have been made by a quartet of more traditional contemporary composition musicians. A very nice CD then that brings a fresh look to Cage's numbers pieces."-Richard Pinnell, The Watchful Ear

Read more about this item
The Squid
At The Squid's Ear!

Related Categories of Interest:

Compositional Forms
John Cage
Percussion & Drums
lowercase, micro-improv, sound improv
Staff Picks & Recommended Items
London & UK Free Improvisation Scene

Search for other titles on the Another Timbre label.

Other Recommended Releases:
Xenakis, Iannis
GRM Works 1957-1962 [VINYL REPRESS]
(Recollection GRM)
Wastell, Mark
Vibra: Trent (3" CDr)
(Linear Obsessional Recordings)
Poliks, Marek
Hull Treader
(Another Timbre)
Kudirka, Joseph
'Beauty and Industry' - ensemble works played by Apartment House
(Another Timbre)
Rolfsson, Matilda / Richard Sanderson / Mark Wastell
Live at l'Klectic
Denyer, Frank
(Another Timbre)
Lely, John played by Anton Lukoszevieze
The Harmonics Of Real Strings
(Another Timbre)
Broken Consort
Iddon, Martin
(Another Timbre)
Common Objects: John Butcher / Rhodri Davies / Lee Patterson
Live In Morden Tower
(Mikroton Recordings)
Cage, John (Cornford / Monteiro / Curgenven / Fages / Farmer / ...)
Cartridge Music
(Another Timbre)
Davis, Matt & Mark Wastell
Derby 11.05.2002 / Liverpool 10.05.2002

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought:
Glover, Richard
Logical Harmonies
(Another Timbre)
Mandingo Ambassadors
Beuger, Antoine / Michael Pisaro
this place / is love
Beuger / Jurg Frey
Pride, Mike
Drummer's Corpse
(Aum Fidelity)
Pride, Mike
Birthing Days
(Aum Fidelity)
Romen / Fagaschinski / Schneider
Here Comes The Sun
(Mikroton Recordings)
Monochrome Bleu Sans Titre
(Creative Sources)
Davies / Mukarji / Lazaridou-Chatzigoga
(Another Timbre)
Schiller, Christoph / Birgit Ulher
(Another Timbre)
Cavallanti, Daniele & Tiziano Tononi's
Rings of Fire
(Long Song Records)
McAuley, Jim
Gongfarmer 36
(Long Song Records)
Neumann, Andrew
Why I Left The Surf... [For Concrete]
4tet (Jing / Wintsch / Oester / Pfammatter)
Different Song - Step Into The Future
Price: $15.95
Out of Stock

**Adding this out of stock item to your basket with other in stock items may delay shipping or incur additional shipping charges.


Shipping Weight: 3.00 units

Quantity in Basket: None

Product Information:

Label: Another Timbre
Catalog ID: at34
Squidco Product Code: 14015

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2010
Country: UK
Packaging: Jewel Tray
Recorded by Simon Reynell in Belsize Park, North London on January 14th, 2010.


Simon Allen-percussion

Chris Burn-percussion

Lee Patterson-percussion

Mark Wastell-percussion

Highlight an artist name or instrument above
and click here to Search

Track Listing:

1. Untitled Track 01 20:06

2. Untitled Track 02 17:51

3. Untitled Track 03 19:40

4. Untitled Track 04 16:48