snapshots and observations

Monday, 13 December 2010

cage against the machine. 4.33

last week i was at the recording at dean street studios of the track 4.33
it's a re-recording of the famous john cage piece which is four minutes
thirty-three seconds of silence.
the recording was by a group of artists and music industry people who
have called the project 'cage against the machine'

the hope is to make 4.33 become this year's xmas no.1

the website explains everything. please have a look. if you'd like to
help out some worthy causes and help keep the x-factor winner's song 
away from the coveted xmas number 1 slot, then please buy the single.
( i believe there are also some remixes out there too )

i was there to document the day, so here's my report...

firstly, on the wall of the stairwell at dean street studios was painted a big golden
board. the idea was that everybody involved would sign it on their way in.
the first three to sign were three of the main organisers...
ronnie t, eddy temple morris and joe from the band 'ou est le swimming pool'

in the lounge area at the studios, joe and eddy checked their emails as more artists
confirmed that they would be participating

i had a look in the studio where the 4.33 would be performed
heaps of speakers for some reason

i liked that one of the sound engineers was setting up all the mics so the 
silence could actually be recorded

top man austen

the mics looked very impressive
even if they weren't going to be used much today... or maybe recording silence
is just as hard work for mics and sound engineers ?

there was sheet music for the artists to follow
it was quite easy to remember the lyrics

here are john cage's notes on the piece

and this page shows that the 4.33 consists of three different parts

here's another view of the empty studio... this time with drums in place

here's the control room, with christian in the corner

making a sneaky call before the madness began

this is dick carruthers, the video director
having a close look at the sheet music

i think this is my favourite photo of the day
i like the way it's framed. the mic at the top, the speakers in the background,
and if you look closely the expression on dick's face as he flicks through the blank
sheets of the sheet music... it's like this is the moment he realised just how
genius this whole thing is... a load of people coming together for charity to
record 4.33 of silence and he was going to make a video of the whole thing.

he points out some details to christian

he makes some calls

he barks out some instructions to his crew

and in spite of all the pressure on him, he still finds time to laugh
dick is a top bloke. he's made some of the best music videos of all time.
he organised the whole shoot. pulled together the crew, made it all happen
and although it was the first time we'd met, he treated me like an old friend,
he gave me access to all areas and just left me to it.

here's eddy again, by all accounts he's a bit of a legend.

the first artist to arrive ( unfashionably early ) was mr hudson
i like mr hudson. i like his music and i like his style

it made for some nice pics, just mr hudson in an otherwise empty studio
funnily enough he was making more noise than a studio full of musicians would make later.

i had a good old chat with him
we chatted about music, trainers, kanye west and about good manners.

mr hudson was far and away the nicest bloke i met all day.
at one point he came up to me and politely asked if i'd like a slice of sponge cake !
he played guitar, piano, he sang requests that people who were watching on the internet
emailed in. yeah... mr hudson is a nice chap.

so... just before the rest of the recording artists turned up, we had a meeting.
here's christian ( who is also a video director )
holding a board showing photos and names of all the artists involved

i've no idea who this bloke is. but he looked cool. probably a singer.

no idea who this is either... but i liked her hair

the bloke on the left owns the record label which is putting out 4.33
maybe it's as well that my photos are in black and white...
as he was dressed from head to toe in bright pink.
he entered the spirit of silence by not speaking. he communicated by using
a series of cards with phrases printed on them.

i've no idea who this is i'm afraid but he seriously looked the part, as did his friend
on the left of the frame... they both had amazing tattoos

these two lads have a sneaky run through before recording started

once again, maybe i'm showing my age i don't who these people are
then again, the bloke holding the sheet music looks a bit like gooner jeff

ok, this is during the recording

so is this

here's a view from my fisheye lens
see the post-its and phones on the piano ?

they showed the artists who were phoning in their silence ( i kid you not )
after the recording ronnie thanked these people and they were still there on the phones.
they actually phoned up and were silent for 4.33
supposedly billy bragg was on his tour bus in scotland and made the whole bus
stay quiet !

it was madness
( sorry )

after the recording i grabbed a slice of pizza ( thanks domino )
and did a sneaky shot of sing, who is a friend of my friend g-film
sing rivalled mr hudson on the nice bloke front

on the way out i passed the name board
which had filled up more than somewhat.
i should have signed it myself to be honest because after all, i'm on the recording,
or at least you can hear my cameras.

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