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Depeche Mode, New Order, Wire, Afghan Whigs & more interpret John Cage’s 4’33” for new box set

Laibach's 4'33" film
Laibach’s 4’33” film

Mute Records is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a new box set featuring the label’s roster, past and present, offering interpretations of composer John Cage’s famous piece, 4’33”. It’s titled STUMM433 and there are over 50 artists on board, including Depeche Mode, New Order, Wire Afghan Whigs, Moby, Goldfrapp, Liars, Lee Ranaldo, Richard Hawley, Lost Under Heaven, Carter Tutti Void, ADULT., Cabaret Voltaire, Nitzer Ebb, Mick Harvey, A Certain Ratio, and more.

If you’re unfamiliar with “4’33”,” it is famous for being “silent”:

Composed and premiered in 1952, 4’33” is a piece for any instrument or combination of instruments. The score instructs the performer or performers not to play their instrument for the duration of the piece (generally four minutes and 33 seconds). As challenging and thought-provoking now as it was when it was premiered, 4’33” completely changed popular thinking on silence, sound, composition and listening.

Mute Records founder Daniel Miller (whose two groups, The Normal and Silicon Teens, contribute to this) says “John Cage’s 4’33” has been present in my musical life for as long as I can remember as an important and inspiring composition. When the idea of every Mute artist doing their own interpretation of the piece came up during a conversation with Simon Fisher Turner, I immediately thought this was the perfect way to mark the label’s MUTE 4.0 (1978 > TOMORROW) series.” Every interpretation comes with a filmed accompaniment, and you can watch Laibach‘s interpretation of “4’33” — which references the famous photo of “Duchamp Playing Chess with a Nude (Eve Babitz)” in the Pasadena Art Museum as well as John Cage’s Duchamp-inspired “Chess Pieces” — and check out the list of all contributing artists, below.

The STUMM433 box set will be released in May and net profits from the release of STUMM433 will be split between the British Tinnitus Association and Music Minds Matter. These charities “were chosen to honor Inspiral Carpets’ founding member Craig Gill who suffered from anxiety and depression as a result of his tinnitus in the years up to his untimely death.”

Laibach covered songs from musical The Sound of Music for an album on Mute last year.

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STUMM433 contributors
A Certain Ratio
A.C. Marias
The Afghan Whigs
Alexander Balanescu
Barry Adamson
Ben Frost
Bruce Gilbert
Cabaret Voltaire
Carter Tutti Void
Chris Carter
Chris Liebing
Cold Specks
Daniel Blumberg
Depeche Mode
Duet Emmo
Einstürzende Neubauten
Fad Gadget (tribute)
He Said
Irmin Schmidt
Josh T. Pearson
Land Observations
Lee Ranaldo
Lost Under Heaven
Mark Stewart
Michael Gira
Mick Harvey
Miranda Sex Garden
Modey Lemon
New Order
Nitzer Ebb
The Normal
Pink Grease
Polly Scattergood
Renegade Soundwave
Richard Hawley

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