Pop Polystylism


Is there a connection between John Cage and the role-palying game Arcanum? Seattle Weekly's Gavin Borchert offers another case of the link between avant-garde technique, technological change, and the pleasures of commercial culture.

Fifty years ago, avant-gardists like Earle Brown and John Cage were leaving the ordering of musical events up to the players. Now this once-arcane technique is being used by game composers for far more commercial purposes. Composers call it "branching music"?musical themes or tags linked to specific game events, designed so that any tag can lead un- jarringly to or from any other tag, creating a continuous flow, whatever the player's choices.

Thanks to Arts Journal.