Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Everything we do is music. Everywhere is the best seat. -- John Cage

Like almost everyone else in Atlanta these days, I've formed a band.

We don't have a name. A name is a label and a label is a limitation. If we were to give the band a name, then by definition, everything else would automatically not be the band. That would be a limitation that we cannot accept, so the band officially does not have a name.

Similarly, the band does not have any identified members. Membership is elitist and non-egalitarian. This way, no one can reinforce their ego by saying, "I'm in the band," or worse, "You're not in the band." No one knows if they're in the band or not. For all you know, you might be in the band. If you were, you wouldn't know. I may not even be in the band - I formed it as an open structure and now, by design, have no way of knowing whether, once formed, it still includes me or not. Who would I ask?

We will probably never be offered a contract to record, but if we were, we would refuse. To record music is to take it out of the context of the moment in which it was performed, and to sell recordings would be to comodify the music, to make it into an "object" rather than an experience. Even if the sales were merely on-line downloads with no tangible substance - even if it were offered for free - it still would be a form of capital and not art in the pure sense that we envision.

We refuse to play live. Playing to an audience is ultimately pandering for approval or attention. Our music is too important to us to make it someone else's entertainment or an evening's meaningless lesiure. We will not alter or modify our music to match our perception of an audience's mood and preferences. So since we refuse to play live or to record, no one will ever hear us.

But before you call us snobs, realize that we also refuse to play alone. Playing for ourselves is self-indulgent and solipsistic. In fact, we refuse to play at all - we never have and never will play as much as a single note.

John Cage famously composed a piece titled 4'33", which consisted of 4 minutes and 33 seconds of silence. John Lennon and Yoko Ono once recorded Two Minutes Silence. We take minimalism even further by refusing to put a title or a time limit on it. And while 4'33" was four minutes and 33 seconds of John Cage not playing music, and Two Minutes Silence was John and Yoko, our silence is not by any person or persons in particular. It is all silence and no silence. It might be your silence. Further, both the Cage and Lennon-Ono pieces could only exist in the context of the music played before and after - it was 4 minutes, 33 seconds, or 2 minutes, of silence after the previous composition and before the next. The silence was defined by the preceding and succeeding music (emptiness defined by form). Our silence is absolute - emptiness existing in emptiness.

So there you have it - my band (which may no longer include myself): no name, no members, no recordings, no performances, no instruments, no playlists, and no commercial potential.

Eat your hearts out.

1 comment:

Uku said...

Hahhaa, great post! :)