夢枯記036 Joëlle Léandre (John Cage) | The Wonderful Widow of Eighteen Springs et al.

contrabass solo & duo with lê quan ninhcdmontaigne1995
http://www.joelle-leandre.com http://www.lequanninh.net

Yumegareki 036
It is well known that John Cage brought about a variety of “revolution” in the 20th century, particularly in the method of music, action and recognition; transcendence of modern sense of ego, approaches to the Eastern thoughts, such as the philosophy of Lao-tse and Chuang-tse, and Zen, coexistent and synchronic world, yearning for anarchism and utopian world. Also included is the music for the sake of nothingness, silence, incompletion, impossibility, chance, uncertainty, usefulness and process. The list goes on and on. What impressed me most in his concept of nothingness is his dry nature, deeply rooted in his intelligence. For Cage, things such as “nothingness,” “silence” and “anonymity” seem to be the existence of heavy substance, just like rocks in the garden of Ryoanji Temple. I also think that he regarded human intelligence as an important nutrient, while exercising strict self-discipline in the pursuit of the “anti-intellectual.” The dry texture is his vivid and sensory creativity or a light cheerful attribute that sticks to his creativity. It is fresh and cheerful, covering the contour of his delicate and sensitive skin. Still, he seems to encompass something more than his extraordinary intelligence. He might have wanted to move these heavy rocks of intelligence.  

Just like the way Cage dared to incorporate his dry nature into the music activities, if I could detach my ego or what Cage called “nothingness” or “anti-intelligence” from music and feel the resonance surrounding the shadow of Cage’s music body, a universe-like space would appear where the different species meet through the margin of my body which flexibly responds to different situations. Is it a space located deep inside of our body where each individual “existence” lives and revives in “relationship,” or a place where the unrelated are intertwined in an invisible manner or a space where unrelated relationship is perceived? And those who come down to this deep internal spring of existence, where everything is surrounded by the sound of the water surface at night, must be the gods of the ancient times. Their arrival would trigger dry nostalgia, creating “umbilical cords” among the people who penetrate to our body. Cage’s revolution was the dry texture of life, or nostalgia for the ancient times when “death” was closer to us. At the same time, it was an entry point to the future that drifts in the massive universe, just like the surface of the Mars means both the future and the ancient past of the earth for mankind.

Remembering Ryuanji Temple that I recently revisited, I listened several times to “RYOANJI” of this album. Japan is very humid which is quite opposite to the dry
intellectual texture of Cage. But it is also the country that gave rise to the famous rock garden of Ryoanji, “Karesansui,” a unique representation of the “dry universe.” It is designed to accentuate the existence of water through the sense of dryness. But in the space of the dryness, you can feel the damp mosses grow on the garden rocks. As Daniel Charles mentioned in the article, this micro-organic movement makes you feel that even the macro substances, the heavy stable rocks, could move. This music seems to represent Cage’s novel viewpoint; transforming the heavy presence of Ryuanji rocks with a long history and culture into a relationship of motion of all things that are present in this moment. I am not sure whether Cage had gone through a mental process of this dramatic transformation, from a humid landscape to a seemingly dry-up world. It appears that Cage’s original dry nature of intelligence matched with the moisture of the mosses. Moss is similar to the life of mushroom. The thirst of Cage’s intelligence might have been complemented and moistened by the living body of mushroom. Cage might have regarded the dry presence of this rock garden as a space of movements of countless micro sounds surrounding the garden. He might have transcribed these invisible movements of water in “karesansui” into sound.
The sound of contrabass played by Joëlle Léandre is like mosses and mushrooms that live in moisture groveling on the ground. Percussion of Lê Quan Ninh accentuates it like the intelligence of Cage. Mosses and rocks, dry and moist, micro and macro, existence and relationship, reality and dream, and life and death. I feel I am falling into what Cage called “intersection of dualistic thinking.” The East-West border gets blurry and Joel’s voice began to flow drily and magically, crossing and floating at the midpoint. If the gods come down to the space where the concept of principal and auxiliary is eliminated, the rock garden could embrace and enjoy this music. It will take the “wisdom” of music to truly break ourselves from the conflicting, dog-eat-dog relationship.

ひと月ほど前、写真フェスティバルをみに京都へ行ったとき、朝一番で龍安寺を訪れた。今回はあらかじめコレクションの棚でジョン・ケージ氏(以下ケージ)の『RYOANJI』の入っているこのアルバムをみつけて、まずは龍安寺の石庭をいま一度みてから聴いてみようとおもっていたのだが、多忙のため連休明けからストレス性の下痢や腰痛に悩まされるなどで、残念なことに聴くまでにかなり時が経ってしまった。ジョエルさんは様々な重要な音楽家との共演や親交も豊富で、現代において欠くことのできないベーシストという感じは以前からどことなくあった。このジョエルさんのアルバムは5曲のうち4曲がケージによるもの、最後の一曲がジョエルさんのケージへのオマージュらしき曲と思われる。この『RYOANJI』(1984)はコントラバス、ヴォイス、パーカッションで演奏されるヴァージョンで、いくつかのヴァージョンがあるようだ。パーカッションを担当されているル・クァン・ニンさんは、僕のベースの師である齋藤徹さんのミッシェル・ドネダさんとのトリオツアー…もっと読む...