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Diary: How to Improve the World (You Will Only Make Matters Worse)
John Cage
Diary: How to Improve the World (You Will Only Make Matters Worse)
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Special Interest, Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (1) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (1) - Disc #2
  •  Track Listings (1) - Disc #3
  •  Track Listings (1) - Disc #4
  •  Track Listings (1) - Disc #5
  •  Track Listings (1) - Disc #6
  •  Track Listings (1) - Disc #7
  •  Track Listings (1) - Disc #8

An eight-CD collection of John Cage reading his epigrammatic notes should not be mistaken as subsidiary, or merely complementary, to the composer's better-known work. This is, like so much of his output, a composition in t...  more »

      
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CD Details

All Artists: John Cage
Title: Diary: How to Improve the World (You Will Only Make Matters Worse)
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Wergo Germany
Release Date: 1/11/2000
Album Type: Import
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Special Interest, Classical
Styles: Techno, Chamber Music, Historical Periods, Classical (c.1770-1830)
Number of Discs: 8
SwapaCD Credits: 8
UPCs: 4010228691221, 713746143022, 9783795760236

Synopsis

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An eight-CD collection of John Cage reading his epigrammatic notes should not be mistaken as subsidiary, or merely complementary, to the composer's better-known work. This is, like so much of his output, a composition in the form of a series of instructions. He read evenly from his writing, consisting mostly of reminiscences, anecdotal evidence of the absurd, aphorisms à la Oscar Wilde or Marshall McCluhan. The tapes were treated in postproduction according to the same sorts of random projections that direct Cage's more recognizably "musical" output. Some phrases are heard quiet, some loud, some distant, some close up. Frankly, the "quiet" passages are so quiet as to make an appropriate listening venue hard to pinpoint. Most remarkable is Cage's delivery, which is so flawless, so natural, as to be almost eerie in its wholeness. If only the same could be said for the liner notes, which are obscured by a roughshod translation. Such sloppiness is inexcusable, given that the collection repackages a box first issued in 1992. Surely someone could have cleaned things up in the meantime. --Marc Weidenbaum

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CD Reviews

An American Original
C. Gardner | Washington D.C., D.C. United States | 04/23/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"John Cage was an optimist par excellence. He recorded these diaries for CD at the age of eighty, and it covers his thought from 1964-1984. Using "chance operations," he devised differing type-faces for their publication, but that method is reproduced here in the channel placement and volume of his voice. His wry voice is oddly soothing as he reads his anecdotes, stories and ideas about Buckminster Fuller, Marshall McLuhan, Edwin Schlossberg, Marcel Duchamp, Erik Satie, Mao Tse Tung, H.D. Thoreau, Norman O. Brown, and assortment of his friends. Sometimes his pacific social anarchist views are naive, but when set in the context of the 1960s and surrounded by these wonderful, hilarious stories they give us a glimpse of this truly original American artist and philosopher. I listen to at least one of these CDs a week, for inspiration's sake...Here are some choice Cageisms:Two musicians who produce the same kind of music is one music too many.Changed, a mind includes even itself; unchanged, nothing gets in or out.Ready or not, we are being readied...Ultimately it's not a question of taste; it's the other way around: Each thing in the world asks us: "what makes you think I'm not something you like"?Looking for something irrelevant, I found I couldn't find it."