On September 5th, 2010, I debuted my version of John Cage’s Williams Mix at Space4Art in San Diego as part of Bonnie Wright’s Fresh Sound series. This was part of a concert which also featured J Lesser, Negitvwobblyland & Dieter Mobius. I played first, but there were many latecomers, so I played a second time after intermission (and John Cage birthday cake). Everything worked out beautifully, both performances were very satisfying. The reviewer from the SD Reader had the following to say:
“Williams Mix is a masterpiece of kaleidoscopic sonic assault — especially as played through the massive sound system assembled for the event. At times, it seemed that the piece was mimicking a short-wave radio scanning all of the channels available in Hell, with an epileptic hand manning the dial.
Fusillades of white and pink noise came shooting at the audience from all directions, while fragments of speech, acoustic instruments and ambient sound of all variety wrapped around the brain in the process.
In a very real sense – everything that followed – and some very brilliant things did follow – suffered in comparison. Measuring up to Cage – even something he composed in 1952, is no easy task.”
I completed Williams Mix only a few days before the concert. It took me from January to early August to measure all of the events on the 192 page score. After that I wrote software in Pure Data to perform the score, and started collecting the 500-600 sounds required to perform the piece. I collected about 100 sounds myself, the following musicians, artists and friends contributed from their sound collections: Cooper Baker, Bobby Bray, Clay Chaplin, Kent Clelland, Greg Davis, Greg Dixon, Tom Djil, Sam Dunscombe, Jeff Kaiser, Scot Gresham Lancaster, J Lesser, Elainie Lillios, Carl Stone, Stephan Mathieu, Rick Nance, Maggi Payne, Michael Trigilio, Doug Van Nort.
I will be playing Williams Mix again at UC San Diego on the November 5th Palimpsest concert, and will also be giving a short talk and performance at UC Santa Cruz on October 15th.