When we think of silence, we think of meditative stretches of calm: hikes through deserted forest paths, an early morning sunset before the world awakes, a staycation at home with a good book. But we know other silences: awkward silences, ominous silences, and—in the case of John Cage’s infamous conceptual piece "4’33” -- a mystifying silence that asks us to listen, not to nothing, but to everything. Instead of focusing our aural attention, Cage’s formalized exercise in listening disperses it, to the nervous coughs and squeaking shoes of a restless audience, the ceaseless ebb and flow of traffic and breathing, the ambient white noise of heating and and the suspended black noise of death metal….
We're used to seeing "4’33” performed as a classical exercise, with a dignified pianist seated at the bench, ostentatiously turning the pages of Cage’s “score.” But there’s no reason at all the exercise -- or hoax, some insist -- can’t work in any genre, including metal. NPR’s All Songs TV brings us the video above, in which -- 64 years after its debut performance by pianist David Tudor -- death metal band Dead Territory lines behind their instruments, tunes up, and takes on Cage: “There’s a setup, earplugs go in, a brief guitar chug, a drum-stick count-off and… silence.”
Pretty hilarious, not to mention hands down the best death metal I've ever heard.
[h/t Rebecca Littman]