Exposé Online banner

Various Artists — Caged / Uncaged
(Cramps Records 0138652CRA, 1993/2002, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 1995-07-01

Caged / Uncaged Cover art

Produced by John Cale, Caged / Uncaged was created as the 'soundtrack' for the exhibition "Il Suono Rapido delle Cose" in Venice in 1993, and is – as the subtitle states – a Rock / Experimental homage to sonic experimentalist / pioneer / composer John Cage. Although many of Cage's albums are available on Cramps and it's associated labels, a thorough discussion of his lifetime of work and philosophies are certainly well beyond the scope of this publication. As the booklet states, this compilation of various New York artists might serve only to help bring Cage's attitude and beliefs about music to a broader audience. I believe most of the pieces here were written expressly for this project, in the spirit of Cage's work, although several seem a bit too familiar. Contributors include David Byrne, John Zorn, Elliott Sharp, Debbie Harry, Eugene Chadbourne and Jello Biafra, David Weinstein and Shelley Hirsch, Amy Denio, Lou Reed, Joey Ramone, Arto Lindsay and others. The tracks offered are separated by short spoken bits of poetry recorded by Cage in the late sixties and mid eighties in New York.

As one might expect, some of the material here works better than others, but overall the project is unique and interesting – maybe because there's no shortage of variety and none of the fourteen main tracks overstay their welcome. A six minute electronic piece by John Zorn contrasts with a 30 second collage of punk-rock and found sounds by Ars Hell and Mutt, or an electronically treated piece by Chris Stein. Chadbourne and Biafra's "Overpopulation and Art" leads into a three minute extract of Lou Reed's "Metal Machine Music," separated only by a fourteen second snippet of Cage himself. Two of the more engaging pieces are Amy Denio's "Dishwasher," where the rhythm of the wash cycle keeps time under the melody and lyrics, and Weinstein and Hirsch's haunting "Cheap Imitation." Overall, this disc – while initially somewhat of a challenge to the senses – does become more interesting and compelling with each successive listen. Highly recommended for the open minded.


Filed under: Reissues, Issue 7, 2002 releases, 1993 recordings

Related artist(s): David Byrne, Amy Denio, Elliott Sharp, Lou Reed, John Cale, John Zorn, Various Artists, Arto Lindsay

Latest news

2019-08-20
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more

2019-06-05
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more

2019-04-24
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Royal Hunt - Paper Blood – André Andersen’s goal to make the definitive progressive metal statement comes closer to fruition with his band’s newest undertaking of ten pieces and two bonus tracks. The quintet’s...  (2006) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues