John Cage

Fontana Mix

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Él Records issues this hip little compilation of early and prime electronic work by John Cage. The title track (named for his landlady), recorded in 1958, has been out of print for decades and makes its debut appearance on CD here. Cage fans will note this is one of the very few recorded occasions where the composer delved into formal musique concrète. This version was recorded for magnetic tape alone. "The City Wears a Slouch Hat," with Cage accompanying poet Kenneth Patchen on one of his radio plays, has been issued before. Well-known pieces that are also included here are "Music for Carillon No. 1" and "Williams Mix" (both from 1952), as well as "First Construction in Metal" (1939). These three works appeared on the German Wergo label as part of its multi-disc package entitled 25 Year Retrospective Concert. The two selections from "Music of Changes" are from a recording made by David Tudor in 1953. Taken together, these seven pieces are a small but representative element of Cage's "way of hearing" in the early decades. Even today, the "Fontana Mix" itself sounds quite revolutionary and futuristic.

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