Last year, Rage Against The Machine managed to steal the top spot of the Christmas chart from the X Factor winner, Joe MacThingy. Personally I wasn't bothered about that campaign. We swapped a song released on a major label for a song, ahem, released on the same major label. It didn't exactly feel like the machine had successfully been raged against.
Last year's success has prompted several copy-cat attempts to flashmob the Christmas number 1 using online social networks. One of these campaigns has come up with the perfect riposte to the bland muzak churned out by Simon Cowell's televised music factory: 4'33" of silence, courtesy of the late John Cage. Not so much Rage, but Cage against The Machine.
It is easy to sneer at deliberate silence and dismiss it as pretentious. But there really is no need. All you need to do to understand 4'33" is listen to it, and think about what you can hear. It is music that specifically encourages thought - the perfect antidote to the X Factor's intentionally thoughtless ditties.
An official version of the release has been recorded by a diverse bunch: the Kooks, Orbital, Enter Shikari, Dan Le Sac, Scroobius Pip, Suggs from Madness, Billy Bragg and Imogen Heap. I suspect this may be the only time these acts find music they can unite around!
The single has been released today on independent (yay) record label Wall Of Sound. Check the official website for the download links, including a remix package featuring interesting takes on silence by Fake Blood, Mr Scruff, Adam F, Herve, Aeroplane, Alex Metric and Japanese Popstars.
Oh and all profits will go to charity. How could I have not won your support?!?!!
Cage's biggest non-Cowell rival appears to be The Trashmen's Surfin' Bird, made famous by Family Guy. Don't get me wrong, I like Family Guy, but I really don't see how a song famous because of a TV programme would be a better number 1 than, err, a song famous because of a TV programme.
Now if you don't mind keeping it down, I've got some listening to do.