Werner Dafeldecker, Valerio Tricoli: Williams Mix Extended


Together with »Cinq études de bruits« (1948), by Pierre Schaeffer and Karlheinz Stockhausen‘s »Studie II« (1954), »Williams Mix« (1952/53) by John Cage, belongs among the key works of early audiotape music. During these early years, in which the appearance of the synthesizer and sequencer were still a long way off, electro-acoustic music was produced directly on audiotape in what was then the newly-founded studios: by recording existing sounds (environmental noises, voices, music instruments, etc.), the generation of electroacoustic sounds by the simplest of means (vibration and noise generators, beat buzzers, etc.), processing through filtering, transformation of the replay speed and direction and, finally, by the temporal sequence and overlapping of material.

Although John Cage left the score of »Williams Mix« with his publisher C.F. Peters New York, so that other artists could produce new pieces, this opportunity has yet to be exploited. In this sense, Werner Dafeldecker’s and Valerio Tricoli’s project of once again realizing »Williams Mix« represents a premiere. Its significance not only lies in the digital appropriation of analog production methods by contemporary artists, in the sense of a historical practice of performance, but far more in the redemption of John Cage’s demand which was to understand audiotape music as a living part of musical encounter and analytical interpretation, and to accordingly update it by way of the new technologies.