Two Minute Silence

With a nod to John Cage, Thom Yorke has teamed up with the resurgent Bryan Ferry, Mark Ronson, Bob Hoskins, tennis player Andy Murray, and British Prime Minister David Cameron for a charity single called “2 Minute Silence” that will indeed feature two-minutes of silence instead of the usual charity single’s saccharine sentiments and blandly catchy chorus. It goes on sale 11/7, aka Britain’s Remembrance Day. Royal British Legion Director General Chris Simpkins explains: “Rather than record a song, we felt the UK public would recognize the poignancy of silence and its clear association with remembrance.” Here’s the 11-second teaser.

(Via Ateaseweb)

Download “2 Minute Silence” on 11/7. “Funds raised will support serving and ex-serving troops and their families.” More info at Facebook.

Comments (15)
  1. I can’t quite get passed the feeling that if anybody BESIDES Thom Yorke would have done this it would be a failure. But Kudos to Thom for once again for thinking outside the box, and for a good cause.

    • well as the post clearly says in the first line, american composer John Cage did do this. check out 4’33”

      • To be fair, 4’33 isn’t meant to be silence. It’s meant to be the ambient noise of wherever the listener happens to be. It sounds like Thom flat out wants the silence to be the point here.


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  2. Clever! And for a good cause, so cheers all around!

    So how many takes do you think it took? With all those fellas in the recording studio trying to be silent, surely someone cleared their throat or shuffled their feet, and just like that you gotta start the 2 minutes all over again. Wokka Wokka!

  3. But in regards to the completely silent track, I feel like now more than ever this sort of thing, and the original John Cage piece, is totally relevant. With iTunes and iPods, you have so much music in one location, and you can shuffle the entire library so that it will play random songs from hundreds of albums for as long as the battery life will allow. That’s a constant stream of noise, and so many people are having that as they ride the train or walk around or are doing some other work, so imagine how it must feel to have a completely unexpected wash of 2 or 4:33 minutes of silence coming from the speakers, to be suddenly aware of all the noise that the music was blocking out…and then back to the remix of Toxic, or whatever comes up next on the ol’ shuffle.

  4. This isn’t clever. This is lazy. Write a fucking song if you’re want to release a fucking song.

  5. Why would I download this when I can just put my earbuds in and not plug them into anything?

    (I guess the point here is that they’re asking people to make a donation and this is a clever way of doing it.)

  6. I’m sure a real song would have raised more money, but who gives a fuck about a good cause when you’ve got a stunt to perform?

    Also, pootie tang did it first.

  7. So thom yorke is so powerful now that he can literally sell us nothing… all hail

  8. Pitchfork better explains this:
    “In Britain , a two minute silence is annually observed at 11 a.m. on November 11 to honor British servicemen and women who have been killed or injured on duty.” This makes the 2 minute silent single make more sense. It didn’t just come out of nowhere

  9. Has it leaked yet?

  10. To John Cage silence didn’t mean a total absence of sound but rather an absence of sounds that are imbued with a specific meaning. Cage made a distinction between music as a form of communication and sound which is non-communicative. People tend to value the communicative form higher than the non-communicative form probably because the ideologies that shape our society value the rational (meaning) over the non-rational (meaningless). As such Yorke and Co introduce an uncomfortable silence into and endless cycle of communication (perceived as rational). Any can do (and have done) a benefit song – NOT everyone can make silence eloquent.

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