John Cage

The City Wears a Slouch Hat, 1942

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This is an early recording of one of the late American avant-garde pioneer's early, outward-bound experimental projects that was recorded as a radio drama in collaboration with writer Kenneth Patchen. Originally produced in 1942 for CBS Radio, this work is a groundbreaking piece of avant-garde composition. The fidelity of the recording has suffered somewhat with age, and this reissue makes up for it in its beautiful packaging and notes. This work is similar to the collaborations with David Tudor on Folkways which saw Cage stepping further and further away from the role of classical composer into multimedia and conceptual happenings, and this is a historical document exhibiting such a direction in his work as early as 1942. Using the noise of the city in Chicago, Cage composed the soundtrack to this fiction about the Messiah visiting Chicago. A must-hear piece of a historical turning point in the American avant-garde, and no less.

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