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Enjoy The Silence: In The Studio With Cage Against The Machine Campaign
Zoë Howe , December 13th, 2010 08:10

Zoe Street Howe reports on the 'Cage Against The Machine' campaign, and finds that Band Aid'-style 4'33 recording isn't just a silent X Factor protest

An abundance of musical luminaries crammed themselves Band Aid-style into Soho's Dean Street Studios yesterday (Monday 6th December) to re-record John Cage's silent piece 4'33 as a charity Christmas single.

Artists taking part in 'Cage Against The Machine' included John Foxx, Orbital, Madness, Anne Pigalle, Kooks, Ed Tudor Pole, Bishi and Scroobius Pip vs Dan Le Sac - as well as Billy Bragg, Jon McLure and Imogen Heap who contributed to the silence over the phone - and while there was some arm-waving and the odd lighter being held aloft, the assembled collective managed to contain themselves and stayed completely silent for the duration. Pete Doherty, perhaps unsurprisingly, failed to show up, but everyone managed to muddle through all the same.

Iconic chanteuse Anne Pigalle explained that she was instantly intrigued by the concept: "Anything as an antidote to the generic pap pop music on offer, yes please, I'm in! But specifically, Cage's 4'33 genius piece is / was about imagination and poetry, a way to make you think and feel, so much needed today.

"The idea of music being more than just sound, or rather sounds and silence being music in itself, is a revolutionary concept that goes further than art and can enter the field and domain of thought suggestions, subconscious realisation and psychology matters; music being known for its therapeutic qualities, etc, these are all subjects that deeply interest me."

'Cage Against The Machine' is the brainchild of London artist Dave Hilliard, who started his campaign to get 4'33 to number one this Christmas on Facebook. The track, which is released on December 13th, is hoped by many to prevent the X Factor from topping the charts this Christmas, but as Dan Le Sac explained, there's much more to it than competing with Simon Cowell.

Dan Le Sac: "It's such an important record. Some media have gone for the 'anti-X Factor' angle, but I don't care about battling that. What I do care about is the charities, we've already worked for Calm (Campaign Against Living Miserably), we write their agony uncle column. It's a really important charity for us, it deals with things we've had to deal with. Men being grumpy basically. And I care about stopping tinnitus with the British Tinnitus Foundation, and being able to help people through charities like Nordoff Robbins. So we're getting to be involved in something that actually can make some meaningful changes."

Read David Stubbs' Black Sky Thinking piece on Cage Against The Machine by clicking here.