One of the weirdest avant-garde compositions of all time is John Cage’s 1952 work, “4’33″” (You pronounce it “four minutes and thirty-three seconds.”). Its original form consists of a pianist sitting at the keyboard and…doing nothing for four minutes and thirty-three seconds. Cage’s goal was to get people to listen to the sounds of the environment of the performance space without any music getting in the way.
Bizarre, maybe, but performance art is a thing unto itself. The piece–we can’t really call it a song, can we?–has been, er, covered a number of times (Frank Zappa, some DJs, a cat) in homage to Cage’s original intent. There was even a campaign to push the song to #1 on the UK charts for Christmas 2010 (It failed.) And yes, you can get it on iTunes–for 99 cents, of course.
The latest band to take up the challenge is this metal band, Dead Territory. It make seem like a gimmick, but if you watch and listen, Cage’s purpose becomes apparent. (Via NPR)