This delightful CD is a recording of a studio performance by William Blakeney in December 1998, in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, using the original tapes made from three masters: (1) bird sounds recorded by the composer in 1972 at various aviaries, (2) the composer singing and chanting his work, Mureau, based on Thoreau's writings, and (3) environmental sounds (brushing teeth, water sounds, etc.). At the beginning there is a charming conversation between the composer and a parrot -- Cage: "Did you have a good breakfast?"; Parrot: "What's your name?"; Cage: "My name is John. What's your name?"; P: "What's your name?"; C: "I told you. My name is John"; P: "My name is Harvey"; C: "That's what I thought. That's what it says up here. It says your name is Harvey"; P: "What's your name?"; C: "My name is John." The tapes for the live performance are played according to a score. These three masters have been placed on eight "source" tape recorders according to a complex timing score, e.g. "Put tape C3 on tape recorder 7 after 72 seconds" and so on. The eight sources were then mixed and matrixed at various quasi-random time intervals. This resulted in twelve sub-masters, which were in turn mixed and processed through various signal modifying devices, such as ring modulators, according to another chance procedure, so that the signal processing and the original sounds were independent in timing from each other. The surprising results were independent of the "taste" of any of the participants. Chanting, singing, birds processed and unmodified, appear all over the fantastical space, along with water sounds, squeezing electronic sounds, and granular ring modulations. There are additional conversations between Cage and other composers at the end of the CD.
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AllMusic Review by "Blue" Gene Tyranny
|Bird Cage, for 12 tapes & 1 performer in a space with freely moving people and birds|