Avant garde composer John Cage’s revered 1952 work 4’33” is set to be covered by the likes of Depeche Mode and New Order in an upcoming box set.
That might sound pretty interesting if you don’t know the history of the composition. It is, rather infamously, four minutes and 33 seconds in which the musician (or musicians) involved are instructed to not play anything.
The intention isn’t for complete silence, however, rather that the audience take in the ambient sounds of their surroundings. Yay, we get to hear 4’33” of tinnitus, 50 times!
Anyway, 50 acts have been brought together by, rather appropriately, Mute Records supremo Daniel Miller to all put their unique spin on Cale’s work for a box set. We daresay it’s the easiest cover that any of these acts will ever perform.
Pleasingly, profits from sales of the set will be split between the British Tinnitus Association and Music Minds Matter, charities to honour Inspiral Carpets’ founding member Craig Gill, who suffered from anxiety and depression as a result of his tinnitus in the years up to his untimely death.
The roster reads: A Certain Ratio, AC Marias, ADULT., The Afghan Whigs, Alexander Balanescu, Barry Adamson, Ben Frost, Bruce Gilbert, Cabaret Voltaire, Carter Tutti Void, Chris Carter, Chris Liebing, Cold Specks, Daniel Blumberg, Depeche Mode, Duet Emmo, Echoboy, Einstürzende Neubauten, Erasure, Fad Gadget (tribute), Goldfrapp, He Said, Irmin Schmidt, Josh T. Pearson, K Á R Y Y N, Komputer, Laibach, Land Observations, Lee Ranaldo, Liars, Looper, Lost Under Heaven, Maps, Mark Stewart, Mick Harvey, Miranda Sex Garden, Modey Lemon, Moby, Mountaineers, New Order, Nitzer Ebb, NON, Nonpareils, The Normal, onDeadWaves, Phew, Pink Grease, Pole, Polly Scattergood, Renegade Soundwave, Richard Hawley, Richie Hawtin, ShadowParty, Silicon Teens, Simon Fisher Turner, Michael Gira, The Warlocks, Wire and Yann Tiersen.
It’s called STUMM433 – a nod to both the Mute release numbering system and the composition’s title – and is set for release in April.
Here’s an example of what to expect, from Slovenia’s rather ace Laibach: