Sunday, January 14, 2018

plato's cave fifty (being a film journal)

Darren Aronofsky - Mother! - 2017
Finally watched this. First 45 minutes I thought this was one hell of a film... the restrictions of the camera, the fucking sound design is brilliant, the acting is beautiful, but it just got too strange and went to hell. I like Aronofsky's The Wrestler, but have not liked his other work. Listened to his Marc Maron interview recently and he seems to be an interesting fellow, there is a desire when viewing for more subtlety and the art of restriction.

Howard Deutch - Some Kind of Wonderful - 1987
We watched this on cable whilst visiting the parents (plus the Potters). Hadn't seen it. Not my kind of film but Eric Stoltz makes it worth watching and the music was not bad, for an 80s film. Also (tried) watching Baumbach's Kicking and Screaming recently with Stoltz. What is it with these Baumbach films?, also tried watching The Meyerowitz Stories and this question came up again, although I liked Adam Sandler in it.

Harry Potter 4 & 5 (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, 2005 & Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, 2007)
Watched at the rents. Even when they are not brilliant, these films are always very watchable. In addition to the magic of them, the cast begs the viewer to pay attention and to return to them. Any fan of British cinema, Mike Leigh etc... these films are worth watching (actors like : Richard Harris, Michael Gambon, Robbie Coltrane, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes, David Thewlis, Brendan Gleeson, Gary Oldman, Jason Isaacs, Timothy Spall, Emma Thompson, Domhnall Gleeson, David Tennant, Peter Mullan, David Bradley, etc). Interesting that they are written for children because I have trouble following the complicated twists and turns.

Harry Potter 6 (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, 2009)
Had seen this but didn't remember very well. Good film, starts getting more abstract and dark.

Harry Potter 7 & 8 (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Parts 1 & 2, 2010, 2011)
For some reason I had never watched these last 2. They were quite good. Abstract. Dark and heavy. I love Ralph Fiennes in them, when I was a young man I worked at a movie theater and took his movie ticket, quite an experience. He has some real life and screen presence, a wonderful actor.

Greta Gerwig - Lady Bird - 2017
I had reservations seeing this because I thought Frances Ha was a piece of millennial nonsense, and I really didn't find Gerwig appealing in that film. Attempted to watch the film without prejudice and I was deeply engaged with it. For starters : Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts, Saoirse Ronan, Lucas Hedges... it has a really great cast. More like actor's actors (Metcalf and Letts). They give such depth to this film, which has depth on its own. I think the film could have gone a bit further and gotten away a bit from being sentimental, but it is one that I will return to. Metcalf in Horace and Pete was truly brilliant! One of the most sublime performances I have seen. She is one of the most underrated living actors working today.

Ron Howard - Apollo 13 - 1995
The cast of this film (Bill Paxton etc) and hearing about it often on Marc Maron's podcast (a superb insight into the minds of actors and directors) made me decide to finally watch it, but alas it was not my speed.

Paul Thomas Anderson - Phantom Thread - 2017
This is a really beautiful film by Mr. Anderson. His (and the crew's) cinematography is breathtaking, the music by Johnny Greenwood, and of course the acting (Daniel Day-Lewis, Lesley Manville from many Mike Leigh films,  Vicky Krieps, Gina McKee from Naked, Brian Gleeson etc.) Would surely return to this film, like many of Anderson's films; one finds oneself feeling quite uncomfortable throughout, he is a master of this, not easy to do with what appears to be small efforts.

Paul Thomas Anderson - Boogie Nights - 1997
Saw this film when it came out in the theater, and a few years later on DVD. Had been a while though. It was streaming and I decided to revisit after hearing Anderson's recent interview with Bill Simmons and his new film. The film definitely lacks the subtlety, restraint and beauty of his other films, but it does have his virtuosity. It is hard to imagine a 27 year old pulling off that opening shot, up there in the history of the long take, I actually got so lost in it I couldn't tell if there was a cut. Burt Reynolds gives one strong performance even though supposedly they had trouble on the set, and William H Macy, Julianne Moore, Luis Guzmán, Don Cheadle, and of course Philip Seymour Hoffman!

Toshiya Fujita - Lady Snowblood - 1973
For some reason had not seen this film. My good friend mentioned to see it as every frame was like a painting, which is indeed true. The opening sword exchange (and the rest that follow) was so beautiful, with the snow and lighting and movement. A beautiful film indeed.

Jane Campion - Holy Smoke - 1999
First time seeing this. Always a pleasure to see Harvey Keitel. As with The Piano, he elects to drop his drawers in the film, funny how he did this in so many films in the day.

Various Seinfeld episodes. Reinstated my Hulu account and have started going through various Seinfelds. Use to watch these when I was a young man but only various ones. Attempting to be a bit more systematic this time. Watched recent season of Curb your Enthusiasm lately, can't get enough.

Craig Brewer - Hustle & Flow - 2005
Terrence Howard is very good in this.

Yorgos Lanthimos - The Killing of a Sacred Deer - 2017
Finally saw this. Very strange film, goes without saying. Had just watched The Lobster for the second time recently and was looking forward to this. Themes going through both films are of interest to me, like the monotone speaking of Colin Farrell, the use of extreme modern classical music, putting the viewer in constant "discomfort", Kafka/Walser-like story telling. One scene that really stood out was the daughter singing a pop tune by a tree in a total monotone delivery. I would buy a 7" of that.

Fred Schepisi - Six Degrees of Separation - 1993
This film came out the year I graduated from high school. I don't think I saw it then but remember seeing it in the 90s, but didn't have a clear memory of it. Film is unwatchable, has a good cast, and I love the Kandinsky painting featured from the Guggenheim collection Several Circles (1926), moronic that they have this painting as a two-sided work that doesn't actually exist.  It is funny, but the fact that they misrepresented the Kandinsky, sums up how insincere this film is.

Michael Cimino - Heaven's Gate - 1980
Tried watching this film about 12-15 years ago after a good friend recommended it, and I couldn't get through it. Didn't like the pallet of the film, found it not to be captivating. I return to it an old dog and still feel the same although I vowed to finish it. Cimino is one of the best, and it has a perfect cast (Jeff Bridges, Isabelle Huppert, John Hurt, Christopher Walken), but something about this film just doesn't work. Westerns and slow films are what got me interested in film-viewing, but it lacks passion. Would rather watch McCabe & Mrs. Miller. My dog Leviathan didn't like it either, wouldn't stop growling and moaning. Not sure what are we missing?

Powell & Pressburger - A Canterbury Tale - 1944
I needed a guaranteed great film to make up for the few in the last week that didn't do much for me. Any Powell Pressbuerger will do.

Paul Thomas Anderson - There Will Be Blood - 2007
Fourth or fifth time with this beauty. My god this is a great film, more the kind of western I would like to sit with. So many intense scenes with Plainview.... hard to watch at times. Greenwood's music during the oil fire catastrophe works so perfect with the editing and action. Masterfully done film.

The art of memory's daily viewing and listening (and sometimes reading) on instagram
Last year or so I started rating films on imdb. here they are

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

music rotating around the invisible birds in the year of our lord 2017

Tarrl Morley Esq. of Ingenting Kollektiva
30 releases that kept me alive this year:

- Henning Christiansen - Schafe statt Geigen (Sheep instead of Violins) and “Verena” Vogelzymphon(Bird Symphony) - Holidays Records

- Henning Christiansen - Op.192 Umwälzung - Fluxorum Organum 1990 Eurasienstab Ist Immernoch Angelpunkt - Penultimate Press

- Werner Durand - Schwingende Luftsäulen  (Vibrating Air Columns) - Ants
To be played simultaneously with:

- Tony Conrad - Ten Years Alive On The Infinite Plain - Superior Viaduct

- Terry Fox - 552 Steps Through 11 Pairs of Strings - Edition Telemark

- Joe Jones - In Performance - États-Unis

- Jon Gibson - Two Solo Pieces - Superior Viaduct

- Mary Jane Leach - Pipe Dreams - Blume

- John Butcher - Resonant Spaces - Blume

- Walter Marchetti - Antibarbarus - Alga Marghen

- The Khan Jamal Creative Arts Ensemble - Drum Dance to the Motherland - Eremite Records

- Giusto Pio - Motore Immobile - Soave

- Éliane Radigue - Occam Ocean 1 - Shiiin

- Knud Viktor - Ambiences / Images - BIN

- Tomoko Sauvage - Musique Hydromantique - Shelter Press

- John Cage - Klang Der Wandlungen - Eeition RZ

- Rob Mazurek - Chimeric Stoned Horn - Monofonus Press/Astral Spirits

- Martin Kuchen - Lieber Heiland, lass Uns Sterben - SOFA

- Jürg Frey - Collection Gustave Roud - Another Timbre

- Jürg Frey - Ephemeral Constructions - Edition Wandelweiser

- Jurg Frey - L'ame est sans retenue I - Erstwhile Records

- Roland Kayn - A Little Electronic Milky Way of Sound - Frozen Reeds

- Jaap Vink - Jaap Vink - Recollection GRM ‎/ Editions Mego / INA-GRM

- Ellen Fullman - The Long String Instrument - Superior Viaduct

- Ryuichi Sakamoto - Async - Milan

- Basil Kirchin - Worlds Within Worlds - Superior Viaduct

- Phill Niblock - Rhymes With Water - God Records

- Carl Michael Von Hausswolff - Still Life - Requiem - Touch

- The Necks - Unfold - Ideologic Organ

- William Basinski - A Shadow In Time - Temporary Residence Limited

Films / Television

- David Lynch - Twin Peaks: The Return

Matthew Swiezynski Sod. of Ingenting Kollektiva

- Keith Berry - Elixir - Invisible Birds

- Tony Conrad - Ten Years Alive On The Infinite Plain - Superior Viaduct

- Taylor Deupree ‎- Somi - 12k

- Werner Durand - Schwingende Luftsäulen  (Vibrating Air Columns) - Ants

- James Hamilton - Scathe & Approacher  - The Keraunograph Organisation

- Carl Michael Von Hausswolff - Still Life - Requiem - Touch

- Alex Keller and Sean O’Neill - Kruos - Elevator Bath

- Basil Kirchin - Worlds Within Worlds - Superior Viaduct

- Lumine - All The Unnamed - La Scie Dorée

- Stephan Mathieu - Radiance IX - XII - Schwebung

- N.A.D.M.A. ‎- Uno Zingaro Di Atlante Con Un Fiore A New York - RCA Italiana ‎/ Die Schachtel

- Hermann Nitsch - Orgelkonzert Jesuitenkirche 20.11.2013 - Trost Records

- Charlemagne Palestine - The Lower Depths - Alga Marghen

- Charlemagne Palestine - Strumming Music - Aguirre Records

- Arvo Pärt - Für Alina - The Ajna Offensive / Mississippi Records

- Krzysztof Penderecki ‎- Kosmogonia - Cold Spring, mastered by Denis Blackham

- Akira Rabelais - Spellewauerynsherde - Boomkat Editions

- Éliane Radigue - Occam Ocean 1 - Shiiin

- Ryuichi Sakamoto - Async - Milan

- Colin Andrew Sheffield & James Eck Rippie ‎- Essential Anatomies - Elevator Bath

- Time Machines/Coil ‎- Time Machines - Dais Records

- Jaap Vink - Jaap Vink - Recollection GRM ‎/ Editions Mego / INA-GRM

- Everything Tarrl has above when I can get a chance to buy and listen. Excerpts unreal.

Films / Television

- David Lynch - Twin Peaks: The Return

- Aki Kaurismäki - The Other Side of Hope

- Christopher Nolan - Dunkirk 

- Guillermo del Toro - The Shape of Water

Saturday, December 9, 2017

gaspard de la nuit

(Invisible Birds Archive of Nothing - Soundtracks, volume one)

Music by Tarrl Morley and Matthew Swiezynski. Recorded in San Francisco in 1998 using a 78 rpm recording of Ravel’s Gaspard de la Nuit (interpreted by Walter Gieseking), a reel to reel deck, and restraining techniques. The music was also used as a soundtrack to Mr. Swiezynski’s 16mm film Juliette from the same year.

Why the ensemble did not try and get the music published that year is a mystery but Invisible Birds is very proud to be issuing it now, as it resonates so very strongly with the label's vision.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

plato's cave forty nine (being a film journal) : influence

(factory photograph of David Lynch)

Re watching David Lynch films (post Twin Peaks The Return obliteration), and reading Chris Rodley's fine book Lynch on Lynch, I compiled a list of influences on Lynch.  I remember reading long ago that a primary influence on Lynch was blasting at deafening volumes Krzysztof Penderecki's work (I can no longer remember where I saw this interview), that seemed much more evocative to me than the paintings of the champagne drunk Bacon. It got me curious what else got his goat. I probably missed some.

- Robert Aldrich's film Kiss Me Deadly

- Robert Altman's film Images

- Kenneth Anger's film Rabbits Moon

- Frank Bacon's paintings

- Angelo Badalamenti's music

- Bernd and Hilla Becher's photography (Lynch's factory photos)

- Ingmar Bergman's films esp. Persona & Cries and Whispers (The whispering that ends Twin Peaks the Return is a clear reference to his work)

- Arnold Böcklin's paintings

- David Bowie

- Marlon Brando's One-Eyed Jacks (Twin Peaks' house of pleasure, across the border)

- Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí's film Un Chien Andalou

- Frank Capra's films

- Jean Cocteau's films esp. Orphée and Le Sang d’un poète (very obvious with all the backwards and trick photography seen in The Blood of a Poet)

- Maya Deren's films

- Marcel Duchamp (Étant donnés is very clearly seen in films like Blue Velvet)

- Germaine Dulac's film The Seashell and The Clergyman

- Blake Edward's film Experiment in Terror and the Henry Mancini soundtrack

- Federico Fellini's films, esp. 8 1/2 and La Strada

- Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Mervyn LeRoy, Norman Taurog, and King Vidor's film Wizard of Oz

- Judy Garland (from Well now, I'm not gonna talk about Judy. In fact, we're not gonna talk about Judy at all, we're gonna keep her out of it to our hero Garland Briggs)

- Barry Gifford's writings (present in two Lynch films)

- Ron Hardy's film The Wicker Man

- Jimi Hendrix's Purple Haze

- Werner Herzog's films esp. Stroszek

- Alfred Hitchcock's films, esp. Vertigo and Rear Window

- Edward Hopper's paintings and work

- Roy Huggins' The Fugitive TV series

- Franz Kafka's writings (“The one artist that I feel could be my brother is Franz Kafka.” Lynch on Lynch)

- Bushnell Keeler, painter. Lynch friend and mentor

- Oskar Kokoshka's paintings

- Stanley Kubrick's films, esp. 2001, The Shining and Lolita

- Charles Laughton's film The Night of the Hunter (shot by Stanley Cortez)

- René Magritte's paintings and Surrealism in general

- Chris Marker's film La Jetée

- Roy Orbison's music

- Krzysztof Penderecki's music

- Philadelphia the city, his biggest influence

- The Platter's music

- Roman Polanski's films esp. Chinatown

- Jackson Pollock's paintings

- Otto Preminger's film Laura

- Elvis Presley's music

- Jacques Rivette's film Out 1

- Mark Robson's film Peyton Place

- Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone

- Douglas Sirk's film Written on the Wind

- This Mortal Coil's music

- Jacques Tourneur's film Out of the Past 

- Jacques Tati's films, esp. Mr. Hulot's Holiday and Mon Oncle

- Edward G. Ulmer's film Detour

- Bobby Vinton's singing in Blue Velvet

- Billy Wilder's films Sunset Boulevard and The Apartment (very clear references esp. the minor character Gordon Cole in SB)

- W.C. Fields' acting, esp. It's a Gift

- Robert Wise's films esp. The Sound of Music and West Side Story (WSS includes Twin Peaks' Richard Beymer and Russ Tamblyn)

- Frank Lloyd Wright's architecture and design

- Neil Young's song Love and War

- The 1950s in general

Monday, October 30, 2017

Oiseaux Invisibles sale on bandcamp

Invisible Birds is having a 55% off sale for the next 30 days. Use the code "oiseaux" to get the discount on digital or merch. Need some space in our cramped apartment, and a bit of cash for such is life. thanks for the continuing support!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

se concentrer sur le noir

Caspar David Friedrich / Jean Dubuffet

was away for trip in Mexico.... back and back to business

Saturday, September 16, 2017

plato's cave forty eight (being a film journal) it is happening again

Mark Frost and David Lynch - Twin Peaks: The Return - 2017
Seascapes, Avant-Garde Scrub editing and Transcendental Electricity in Part Three

Purple burst of liquid light transcends to Sugimoto / Vija Celmins / Michael Snow like
Seascapes with a bass heavy oceanic drone not unlike Thomas Köner.  Nearness & Infinity.

Hiroshi Sugimoto Lake Superior, Cascade River - 1995

Vija Celmins Untitled Ocean - 1970

Michael Snow Wavelength - 1967

Scrub editing by Duwayne Dunham and David Lynch. I have never seen editing quite like this. The edits move freely through the shots like a scrubbing tool or a disc jockey scratching a vinyl record, back and forth, sometimes fluid, sometimes not. Visual ellipsis, like parts of the film got destroyed and edits needed to be made (P. Adam Sitney on the films of Joseph Cornell). In addition; foreign shots are added in, interrupting and causing havoc, in these already scrubbed moments. Scrubs go between being smooth and hypnotic to jarring and nearing out of control. This editing effect is used to an astounding effect in Part Eight, especially around the gas station/convenience store, but basically introduced in this section with Cooper and Naido. One of the outstanding achievements in this new series is the disorienting editing techniques used. People disappearing in flickers also appears numerous times. The history of avant-garde film has unconventional editing techniques more commonplace; works by Kurt Kren, Saul Levine or Peter Kubelka, but here the subtleties and complexities of this scrub technique (for lack of a better word) is quite novel. In addition, seeing these techniques in television is really quite crazy even with all the unconventional tv of the day.
If one looks close at these techniques an attempts a description; we start a slow zoom into a character (Naido), with edits here and there to remove frames, interrupted with reversing back to a previous part of the zoom, again interrupted with edits. Camera movements and hard cuts between different camera set ups further extend this technique. The overall feeling of a solid decision is present, no randomness… this decision adds such gravity to the editing. Lynchian drones and Badalamenti melodies are an  undercurrent to this fuckery and slowly Electricity makes itself present (last image) which has such a profound presence in this 18 hour work.

As we exit to the cosmic bell, the sound design is beyond sophistication, with distorted banging and drones followed by sonic electricity, then to near silence as Naido falls into space (second image).

Vija Celmins Night Sky #2 - 1991

Vija Celmins  Night Sky #18 - 1998

Jules Janssen Photograph de la surface solaire * - 1884

Ernest Mouchez La Photographie astronomique a l'observatoire de Paris - 1887

The scenes of Cooper and Naido in space resonate quite clearly for me as I am a follower of artist's and scientists depicting space, like Vija Celmins and early cosmos photography (see Dans le champ des étoiles. Les photographes et le ciel, 1850-2000).

James Turrell Meeting at MoMA PS1, photo by Chi Yun

Post cosmos, we enter a James Turrell like interior, which leads us back to Electricity (third image) and a lovely ring-like tone to a deep drone.

Images of Electricity
Face and body morph as Cooper moves through the outlet, rendered even more otherworldly with scrub editing.  Electricity further manifests itself with Mr. C, and then he barfs black corn Garmonbozia.

Dougie Jones electrical disintegration in the Red Room reminds of Hans Holbein anamorphic painting The Ambassadors from 1533. The strange and often times childlike special effects throughout the 18 part series are so very beautiful and novel. They are mostly very painterly, like Dougie Jones appearing as black smoke in the Rancho Rosa empty house fuck pad; Jade gives two rides (third image).