Thursday, August 30, 2007

at last a new dawn, three rooms, cello recycling/cello drowning & breizhiselad described by paul celan

musical examples of melancholia and the divine:

"peter wright plays disconnected avant guitar gloop distilled through a series of electronic filters and single malt, heavily influenced by guitar pop, free jazz/improv, atonal guitar noise, cats and city trash.. he was born at 43.3170s, 172.6330e and currently lives at 51.4450n, 0.1510w.
(some) influences: saul bass, sergio leone, akira kurosawa, stanley kubrick, the kinks, tape loops, radiohead, john coltrane, bowie with eno, andrei tarkovsky, jim jarmusch, twin peaks."

"this is the sound of misery and death, and ultimately, of hope and redemption"
from his site.

discography (select):
-at last a new dawn, 2007
-crater lake, 2007
-folk songs and blackness, 2006
-air guitar 7", 2006
-red lion, 2006
-unvarnished, untreated, unzipped, 2006
-pariahs sing om (3cd set), 2006
-desolation beauty violence, 2005
-yellow horizon, 2005
-red lion 'tour edition', 2005
-distant bombs, 2004

paul celan, inhabited, dishabited from threadsuns, 1968
(pierre joris):

inhabited, dishabited,


the obedient darkness: three
bloodhours behind the

the coldlight-ocells, s-
mothered by blinding,

the thirteen-
plumby nothing:
over you, with
the luckskin,
it folds itself

the ascent.


"originally composed as sound installations, these three delicate pieces - or rooms, as the title states - are the result of very personal investigation regarding the interaction between physical spaces and the experience of listening. the selected compositions on the disc seem to emanate themselves from these spaces to continuously create room(s) for the listener, intensifying quietly and subtly our awareness"

discography (select):
-three rooms
-from shelter
-with my back to the world: agnes martin (DVD)
-here-ings: a sonic geo-history (CD/book)
-in memory of the four winds

paul celan, whitesounds from threadsuns, 1968
(pierre joris):

whitesounds, bundled,
over the table
with the bottle post hence.

(it listens to itself, listens
to a sea, drinks it
too, unveils
the roadheavy

the one secret
butts forever into the word.
(whoever falls off that, rolls
under the leafless tree.)

all the
on all the
that announce themselves now.


aaron martin & machinefabriek: cello recycling/cello drowning, 2007 * *

"the ‘cello recycling’ project was originally commissioned for use in an art gallery; zuydervelt took cello improvisations from aaron martin and built them into the slow-burning post-ambient monster that is ‘cello recycling’. however here we see the original piece accompanied by aaron martin’s take on rutger’s work, where he ‘drowns’ the original piece in a bath of murky water taking into submerged directions it has never before drifted. the two pieces together are perfectly complimentary showing two sides to a tarnished coin – one giving us pent up emotion, fizzing and shuffling awkwardly until it explodes majestically, the other giving us peaceful reflection as seen through the eyes of a serial killer who has just completed his final gift to the world. an inventive and incredibly beautiful look at the cello as an instrument and noise making tool."

paul celan, in the noises from threadsuns, 1968
(pierre joris):

in the noises, like our beginning,
in the ravine,
where you fell to me,
i wind it up again, the
musical box-you
know: the invisible,
inaudible one.


eric cordier: breizhiselad, 2006 * *

".....masterpieces of the traditional music of french brittany. apart a few field recordings all the material on this record originates in extracts from two songs of the a side of a 10" 1960s reissue of a 78rpm. the story begins when a breton cousin discovered the record at his grandmother's house. on first listening, i found it to be horrible - but a work of genius. horrible because of the catechism-like vocal arrangements but a work of genius in terms of the beauty of the melody and the conviction of the singers. another particularity is the importance of the disc itself, whose vinyl surface is nearly erased, polished under a sea of cracks. my project has been to transpose this traditional music into the tape music medium with a view to preserving what is strong in the source material and erasing the sugary, churchy treatment of these originally popular songs." eric cordier

paul celan, speechwalls from threadsuns, 1968
(pierre joris):

speechwalls, space inwards-
spooled in upon yourself,
you holler yourself through all the way to the lastwall.

the fogs are burning.

the heat hangs itself inside you.

(in terms of a review; read paul celan's descriptions (they are more than suitable), and run right out to buy these, they are beyond my words)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

la pianiste II, twilight of the mind

isabelle huppert on adorno on schumann's fantasie in c major

michael haneke: la pianiste 2001

Monday, August 27, 2007

la pianiste

michael haneke: la pianiste 2001
christian berger
starring isabelle huppert
special effects coordinator: lászló kovács

other haneke/berger films:
-caché 2005
-71 fragmente einer chronologie des aufalls (71 fragments of a chronology of chance) 1994
-benny's video 1992

"god can thank bach because bach is the proof of the existence of god" isabelle huppert

Sunday, August 26, 2007

quelques chiens, quelques canards et quelques grenouilles

abbas kiarostami: five dedicated to ozu 2003

dogs episode:
abstraction from gradual overexposure (annihilation), with the subtle sound of waves.
"this (everything moving towards an absolute brightness) suggests eternity, birth, life, and resurrection" kiarostami

ducks episode:
800 ducks pass by the camera (the best kind of direction a director can achieve) with the sound of their feet producing a gentle, beautiful symphony.



moon and swamp episode:
in this sequence; we see the moon reflected in the water, clouds passing by (through water), outbursts of thunder and lightning, finally leading to dawn. helping these fine liminal moments along, we hear the sounds of dogs, frogs and other animals of the night, mixed with the soft rhythm of rain, gradually becoming more audible. the moments of black give the sounds an importance we are not accustomed to in today's cinema.
on (not) understanding a film: "nature is full of secrets, and discovering these secrets should not be easy" kiarostami

in abbas kiarostami's five dedicated to ozu (2003), we find a beautiful example of an artist with strength enough to take his hand out, and let nature become the artist.

many of these theartofmemory posts lately have dealt with the relationship between film (narrative or non-narrative), literature/poetry, photography, painting and sound-art.
much of this drive toward abstraction seems to be in the air at the moment, and i don't know if there is much of an influence on narrative film from the drone/sound-art field (there is the other way around), but it is hard not to look at much of contemporary film and sound-design (bela tarr, nuri bilge ceylan, gus van sant for example) without thinking of many of the fine recordings i have been enjoying over the years.

in watching kiarostami's five, i immediately thought of the sound work of chris watson, and his virtuoso recordings of nature.
besides his cd releases, chris watson has been one of the main sound recordists used by david attenborough for his programmes: the life of birds, the blue planet, life in the undergrowth, the life of mammals and life in cold blood.

here are some of chris watson's recordings:

-storm (with bj nilson) 2006
-number one (with kk null & z'ev) 2005
-weather report 2003
-outside the circle of fire 1998/2003
-stepping into the dark 1996

(information on five taken from the documentary around five: abbas kiarostami's reflections on film and the making of five, 2005)

((on a side note, any information/thoughts regarding sound art and film would be greatly appreciated. it seems there are few out there discussing it.))

(((title: some dogs, some ducks and some frogs)))

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

which he distorted by decorating with images

new video out by m swiezynski
(number one in a series of 10/12 items due on dvd in 4-8 weeks)
train films, magic hour films, animals & nature films and studies
of weather, not good in any manner))

(for more information, please contact mr. arthur o. memory esquire, booking agent and purveyor of iniquities)

ps. if watching film on youtube (with very bad image quality), headphones recommended

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

flug (flight)

photos by sharon harper of train travel in germany

(you can see my excitement in finding these)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

of mirrors and of the labyrinth

from with borges (by alberto manguel):

two nightmares haunted borges throughout his life: of mirrors and of the labyrinth. the labyrinth, first discovered as a child in a copperplate engraving of the seven wonders of the world, made him fear 'a house with no doors' in whose centre a monster awaited him; mirrors terrified him with the suspicion that one day they would reflect back a face that was not his own or worse, no face at all. (page 53)

'every writer creates his own precursors'. with this statement, borges adopted a long lineage of writers who now appear borgesian avant le lettre: plato, novalis, kafka, shopenhauer, remy de gourmont, chesterton...

in 'pierre menard, author of don quixote' he argued that a book changes according to the reader's attributions. when the text appeared in sur in may 1939, several readers assumed that pierre menard was real; one such reader even went as far as telling borges that there was nothing new in what he had outlined, that it had all been noted by previous writers. pierre menard is, of course, an invention, a superb and hilarious imagining, but the notion of a text that changes according to the reader's assumptions is old. from fakes such as macpherson's ossian, over whose verses werther wept as if they belonged to an ancient celtic bard, to the 'real life' adventures of robinson crusoe and sir john madeville that led enthusiasts of archaeological truth to explore the island of juan fernandez and to unearth the ruins of what might have been cathay; from the 'song of songs' studied as a sacred text to gulliver's travels catalogued dismissively as a children's book..... (pages 62-64)

he amused himself with such subversions. 'imagine', he would say, 'reading don quixote as if it were a detective novel. (page 64)

like so many of his texts the words compose a list, since, he says, 'making lists is one of the oldest activities of the poet'. (page 70)

from borges et l'architecture by cristina grau (from the interview with borges):

le labyrinthe de kafka est un labyrinthe intime. le heros ne sait pas qu'il se trouve dans le labyrinthe. et sans doute kafka non plus ne le savait-il pas. (page 143)
(the labyrinth of kafka is an intimate labyrinth. the hero does not know that it is in the labyrinth. and undoubtedly kafka did not know it it.)

borges and maría kodama stroll along the seine, 1983

on a side note; a great book on the labyrinth is hermann kern's through the labyrinth, prestel 2000

Thursday, August 16, 2007


in the precedent section mention was made, amongst other pleasant objects, of this comeliness and beauty which proceeds from women, that causeth heroical, or love-melancholy, is more eminent above the rest, and properly called love. the part affected in men is the liver, and therefore called heroical, because commonly gallants, nobleman, and the most generous spirits are possessed with it. his power and extent is very large, and in that twofold division of love, those two veneres which plato and some other make mention of, it is most eminent and (par excellence) called venus, as i have said, of love itself. which although it be denominated from men, and most evident in them, yet it extends and shows itself in vegetal and sensible creatures, those in-corporeal substances (as shall be specified), and hath a large dominion of sovereignty over them. his pedigree is very ancient, derived from the beginning of the world, as phaedrus contends, and his parentage of such antiquity, that no poet could ever find it out.......

his power and sovereignty is expressed by the poets, in that he is held to be a god, and a great commanding god, above jupiter himself; magnus daemon (a mighty spirit), as plato calls him, the strongest and merriest of all the gods according to alcinous and athenaeus.
amor virorum rex, amor rex et deum, as euripides (love is) the god of gods and governor of men; for we must all do homage to him, keep an holiday for his deity, adore in his temples, worship his image (numen enim hoc non est nudem nomen [for this is a deity and not merely a name]), and sacrifice to his altar, that conquers all, and rules all.

i had rather contend with bulls, lions, bears, and giants, than with love; he is so powerful, enforceth all to pay tribute to him, domineers over all, and can make mad and sober whom he list; insomuch that caecilius, in tully's tusculans, holds him to be no better than a fool or an idiot that doth not acknowledge love to be a great god..........

the third partition, page 40-41 of robert burton's the anatomy of melancholy, seventeenth century

m swiezynski from st. francis series

m swiezynski reinterpretations of bergman's the silence

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

melancholia, music, books, film & the sound of duchamp's large glass

(some nice business that has come my way)

vikki jackman: of beauty reminiscing

asher: the depths, the colors, the objects & the silence


-larsen and friends: abeceda (with david tibet, jòhann jòhannsson, baby dee, and the amazing julia kent)
2007 important
(a great band and performance, especially the lovely cello playing of julia kent)

-jgrzinich / mnortham: the absurd evidence
1998 orogenetics
(some intense business)

-rosy parlane: jessamine
2006 touch
(one mother-hubbard of a cd, full of mysteries)

-asher: the depths, the colors, the objects & the silence
2007 mystery sea
(stasis and velocity mixed together to create delicate, distant melodies, and overwhelming textures)
and invariably the blue
three untitled pieces
(these three untitled pieces sound like actual dust moving through time in slow motion, and brought to mind man ray's photo of duchamp's large glass covered with dust. i like thinking about the sound that dust makes, and the sound the large glass makes which we are not privileged enough to hear....[unless we listen to asher's three melodies})
the anguish is not the same
(in miniatures asher has managed to find old recordings of chopin himself playing the piano [and some others], mystically transformed by the wires of time. often in this cd, the wires take over and we hear nothing but static and time.)

-ubeboet: red and black remixes
(with some lovely tracks by asher, arturas bumsteinas, mathieu ruhlman and dead letters spell out dead words)

-taylor deupree & christopher willits: listening garden
2007 line
(more in the realm of distant melodies, and good for drinking tea)

-stephan mathieu: the sad mac live at mutek 2002
2002 (here)
(the second track is something quite amazing)

-bill thompson: hogmanay on the north sea (2005) and other works
(some very subtle transformations of sound)

-nick drake: family tree
2007 tsunami

-josef van wissem: stations of the cross
2007 incunabulum
(solo lute, field recordings and music for airports, magickly imagined by aleister crowley [many tracks recorded in airports])

-vikki jackman: of beauty reminiscing
2007 faraway press
(another great album from andrew chalk's label)

-yuichiro fujimoto: the mountain record
2006 ahornfelder

-walt dickerson: walt dickerson 1976
1976 trio/whynot

-alice coltrane: a monastic trio 1968, huntington ashram monastery 1969, ptah, the el daoud 1970, journey in satchidananda 1970, universal consciousness 1972, world galaxy 1972, lord of lords 1972

-pharoah sanders: summun, bukmun, umyum 1970, thembi 1971, wisdom through music 1972
(catching up on my jazz. anyone who is interested in jazz and has not heard walt dickerson or alice coltrane; it is some of the best.)


hiroshi sugimoto: aegean sea, pilion , 1990
seen at the hiroshi sugimoto exhibition at the de young, san francisco

my favourite sugimoto books:
-hiroshi sugimoto: seascapes
1994 museum of contemporary art, los angeles
-hiroshi sugimoto: architecture of time
2002 kunsthaus bregenz
-hiroshi sugimoto: architecture
2003 museum of contemporary art, chicago
-hiroshi sugimoto: theaters
2006 walter konig
-richard chartier + taylor deupree: specification fifteen
cd commissioned by the hirshhorn museum for the sugimoto exhibition


with borges by alberto manguel (found via inbetweennoise)

on borges' blindness:
-sometimes he (borges) himself chooses a book from the shelves. he knows, of course, where each volume is housed and he goes to it unerringly. but sometimes he finds himself in a place where the shelves are not familiar, in a foreign bookstore for instance, and here something uncanny happens. borges will pass his hands over the spines of the books, as if feeling his way over the rugged surface of a map in relief and, even if he does not know the territory, his skin seems to read the geography for him. running his fingers over books he has never opened before, something like a craftman's intuition will tell him what the book is that he is touching, and he is capable of deciphering titles and name which he certainly cannot read. (i once saw an old basque priest work in this way among clouds of bees, and to tell them apart and assign them to different hives, and i also remember a park ranger in the canadian rockies who knew exactly in what part of the woods he found himself by reading the lichen on the tree trunks with his fingers.) i can vouch for the fact that there exists a relationship between this old librarian and his books which the laws of physiology would judge impossible. (pages 30-31)

some other nice jorge luis borges books i have enjoyed:

-borges and his fiction: a guide to his mind and art by gene h. bell-villada
1967/1999 univ. of texas press
-conversations with jorge luis borges by richard burgin
1968 holt rinehart winston
-borges on writing edited by norman thomas di giovanni, daniel halpern, frank macshane
1972/1994 the ecco press
-jorge luis borges: a literary biography by emir rodriquez monegal
1978 dutton
-the lessons of the master: on borges and his work by norman thomas di giovanni
1988/2003 continuum
-with borges on an ordinary evening in buenos aires: a memoir by willis barnstone
1993 univ. of illinois press
-borges et l'architecture by christina grau
1993 centre george pompidou
-jorge luis borges: conversations edited by richard burgin
1998 univ. press of mississippi
-jorge luis borges: this craft of verse
2000 harvard univ. press (book + cd set)
-borges: the time machine
2001 colleccion jorge luis borges fundacion san telmo
-jorge luis borges: a catalogue of unique books and manuscripts by charles vallely
2003 lame duck books/volume gallery
-borges: a life by edwin williamson (still have not read)
2004 viking
-a personal anthology by jorge luis borges
1967 grove press
-jorge luis borges: collected fictions, selected poems, selected non-fictions translated by andrew hurly
1998-1999 viking
-some fiction translations by norman thomas di giovanni
1970s dutton press

****(some) films****

william wyler: detective story, 1951 (unbelievably good)
nicholas ray: in a lonely place, 1950 & michael cutriz: casablanca 1942 (both on 35mm)
lamont johnson: the last american hero, 1973
nuri bilge ceylan: climates, 2002 & climates, 2006 (see below)
hal ashby: shampoo, 1975
kelly reichardt: old joy, 2006
bennett miller: capote, 2005
steve buscemi: interview, 2007 (not much compared to his other films)
cristi puiu: the death of mr. lazarescu, 2006
vittorio de sica: two women, 1960 (on 35mm at BAM, one of his best)
chris noonan: babe, 1995 (a great ending john cage would have enjoyed [because of the silence])
-david lynch: inland empire, 2006 (35 mm & dvd) (see below)

stills from nuri bilge ceylan's film distant (uzak), 2002 (recommended by asher).

such stunning photography (done by ceylan) and sound design. the sound in ceylan's films has the feel and complexity of many of the sound artist's often listed in this blog. it is so nice to see a reciprocity between sound-art and cinema (and/oar's trilogy of director discs is another example, or the sound work of asher).
another great example is david lynch's inland empire.
in lynch's film there is a moment (at 1 hour and 39 minutes) that sounds so much like keith berry's soundtrack to 58º north, i like to think that they both encountered the sound together, and both used it in different ways.
but then, lynch's eraserhead (1977) can be considered one of the first great abstract soundworks.
and i like to think of sugimoto relaxing in front of one of his seascapes, listening to richard chartier and taylor deupree.