Eve Libertine to perform John Cage Song Books with Scratch Orchestra

Former Crass vocalist Eve Libertine is to help Scratch Orchestra disembowel Cage’s magnum opus along with a sharp younger generation of performers.

One of Cage’s most ambitious works, Song Books comprises over 48 actual songs and 42 instructions for ‘theatre’ (Fluxus-like ‘actions’ for the most part) which are performed at random start times within a set period. The scores are very diverse and cover almost every approach to experimenting with notation that Cage used: from conventional music to the most abstract. The libretto is also very varied and covers most of Cage’s interests from mushrooms to anarchy. Each ‘song’ is designated to be either with or without electronics. Each one is also to be cognisant of ‘the space between Satie and Thoreau’ or not, which seemingly defines Cage’s notion of the avant-garde in a nutshell.

The project intends to raise the question of the place of visual performance within experimental musics. The older core performers were in the Scratch Orchestra which was deeply imbued with a visual dimension going back to founder Cornelius Cardew’s earlier composition ‘Treatise’ and brought to the fore in Scratch performances by the activities of the Slippery Merchants. It is also an attempt to bring Scratch experience into a critical collision with a contemporaneous John Cage in collaboration with a younger generation of performers and composers.

 “Cage achieved mythical status but Cardew was a legend”. – John Tilbury (AMM)

Performers will include ex Scratch Orchestra members

  • Stefan Szczelkun;
  • Peter Ellison
  • Carole Finer
  • Linn D
  • John Tilbury

And special guests

  • Eve Libertine,
  • Geri McEwan
  • Ali Warner,
  • Renate Biruls,
  • Portia Winters
  • Jane Alden (USA)
  • Robbie Lockwood and Lucy Galland (video and electronics)
  • Grundig Kasyansky & Robbie Lockwood (electronics)

A transcript of an interview on Cage with John Tilbury will be available on the night.  The project is seed funded by University of Westminster, IMCC.

  • ‘Song Books’ by John Cage
  • 7pm 11th March 2012
  • Cafe Oto
  • 18 – 22 Ashwin street, Dalston London, E8 3DL
  • Tickets £5 from Cafe Oto or Wegottickets.
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