March 13, 2012

A Steady Diet Of John Cage

I was going to skip the NYT's story about the 22-year-old student at Brown who also happens to be an up&coming electronic musician, because, hello, it's Brown; throw a rock, and you're gonna hit a whatever-slash-electronic musician.

But New Yorker music critic Alex Ross flagged this interesting quote about how Our Hero, Nicolas Jaar, whose dad is the contemporary artist Alfredo Jaar, was raised:

The elder Mr. Jaar and his wife also fed their son a steady diet of Keith Jarrett and John Cage, who is a likely influence on the album's sound-collage experiments. "My husband and I, we were always interested in the avant-garde," said Evelyne Meynard, Mr. Jaar's mother, a former dancer who trained with Merce Cunningham's company in the early '80s. "I always encouraged Nicky to understand that not only melody and harmony were interesting, but that atonal music and sounds and all that were also interesting.
As it happens, we also feed our kids a steady diet of John Cage: John Cage Cookies.

cage_cookies_gregorg-thumb-500x375-10089.jpg

I came across the composer's favorite recipe for macrobiotic, vegan, possibly gluten-free cookies last summer, and we've been eating them pretty regularly ever since. They're basically ground almonds, oats, maple syrup and jam. What's not to love, right?

The kids help make them, and eat them, and though she can't take them to preschool [nut-free, duh], it is endlessly hilarious and satisfying to hear this little kid talking up John Cage cookies.

It's enough to make me think every avant-garde or "difficult" figure needs to have a cookie or some kid-friendly snack, at least, named after him/her, because it'll inoculate the kids against any kind of intimidation later on. Yes, our kids are starting to hear Cage's music and whatever else I have in the playlist, so they'll have the base anyway.

But I can't help thinking how awesomely odd it'll be to grow up having your first associations with John Cage be about spooning cookies onto the pan. And I guess if they can't get into their top choice, Brown will be alright, too.

Nicolas Jaar, Electronic Musician and Student at Brown [nyt via alex ross]
Jaar's label/company/etc. Clown & Sunset [csa.fm]

1 Comment

Meanwhile, we've taught our kid to use "Merce!" as an oath. True story. But I admit they do like Kraftwerk. And Dave Brubeck, whatever that means.

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