Listening 09-07-08

Posted in listening, music, personal with tags on July 9, 2008 by Lightborne

What I’ve been listening to lately:

1. Nneka – Victim of Truth
2. Afrika Bambaataa & Soulsonic Force – Planet Rock The Album
3. Bill Callahan – Woke on a Whaleheart
4. Dexter Gordon – A Swingin’ Affair
5. Marc Ribot y Los Cubanos Postizos
6. Bud Powell – The Amazing Bud Powell Vol.1
7. Ellen Allien & Apparat – Orchestra of Bubbles

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The sad tale of Jeremy Blake

Posted in Film, mysterious with tags , , on July 3, 2008 by Lightborne

I just spent a whole hour engrossed in the story of the artist Jeremy Blake. It started as a momentary information search…. I was writing about the abstract sequences in P.T. Anderson’s Punch Drunk Love and decided to quickly look up the artist responsible, but I really hadn’t expected to come across a story as strange and sad as I did. The first curious inkling came when I found that he died in 2007, which led me to dig deeper, which finally brought me to an article from Vanity Fair that describes the whole weird tale.

The Golden Suicides by Nancy Jo Sales on VanityFair.com


Still from Blake’s “Winchester Series”. Taken from another article about the events on NYmag.com

Irregular Film Club no.4

Posted in Film, irregular film club with tags , , , on July 3, 2008 by Lightborne

Next week will see the fourth installment of my irregular film club. We’re going to be watching Darren Aronofsky’s The Fountain (I think its about time for a reappraisal) and Claude Lelouche’s C’etait un Rendezvous (which has to be seen to be believed).

The Irregular Film Club

Presents

Darren Aronofsky’s
The Fountain

fountain

Misunderstood genius or misjudged folly? You decide on:

Thursday 10 July

7.30 pm – Room 056

plus bonus feature:

Claude Lelouche’s infamous C’était un rendez-vous (1976 – 9 mins)

The cult film that perversely survives mostly because of its whispered fame amongst petrol heads and car clubs. It is surrounded by myths (Lelouche’s arrest after the first screenings, the question of who drove the car, whether its really real or not, the communication failures that could have led to multiple deaths), that are overshadowed by the audacity, simplicity and insanity of the film itself.

rendezvous

Open to members and students of the University of Warwick Film & TV Studies Dept.

For more info:
www.lightborne.co.uk/irregular

Michael Pigott – outstanding in his field.

Posted in image, personal with tags , , on May 8, 2008 by Lightborne

Michael Pigott – outstanding in his field.

Andrew Bird at IndigO2 – 26 April

Posted in live performance, music, video with tags , , , on April 29, 2008 by Lightborne

Denise and I were at an Andrew Bird gig in London this weekend, and it was really wonderful. We also saw him at Koko last November, where he played with his band (which includes electrical looping multinstrumentalist-but-mostly-drummer Martin Dosh, who is a great artist in his own right). This time he was playing solo, and by gosh it’s an impressive (and thrilling) sight and sound. I’d like to write something longer about exactly why its so thrilling, having seen his solo performance twice now, but I’m stuck in about seven other things at the moment, several of which have to be done by tomorrow. But enough whining…

I harbour a sort of zealous urge to introduce as many people as possible to the brilliance of Mr. Bird, so this is a little of what the gig was like:

Video taken from a balcony with a Flip flash camcorder. Bird plays ‘Why’
and ‘The Naming of Things’, and begins to play new song ‘Oh No’ from
the album he is currently recording in Nashville, but the camcorder
runs out because I wasted all the space recording my shadow on a train
station platform in Lewisham. Notice the shoes in the lower right of
the frame.

Listening 10-04-08

Posted in listening, music, personal with tags , on April 10, 2008 by Lightborne

I’m mired in essay marking and trying to finish my chapter on Tarkovsky and time pressure at the moment, so here’s a quick list of what I’ve been mostly listening to while working this week:

1. Paul Curreri and Devon Sproule (thank you James)
3. Arthur Russell – First Thought Best Thought
4. DJ Krush – Jaku
6. Ruckus Juice & Chitlins Vol.1: The Great Jug Bands
8. Blackalicious – The Craft
9. Sharkey & C-Rayz Walz – Monster Maker
10. Stan Getz – Cafe Montmartre
11. Les Primitifs du Futur – World Musette

(with the jug bands winning by a considerable length in terms of repeat listens)

The Pre-Socratics were totally awesome.

Posted in Film, Philosophy with tags , , , , , on March 31, 2008 by Lightborne

I’m currently trying to finish my chapter on Tarkovsky’s film theory and how useful it can be. One very specific issue (Tarkovsky’s use of the elements to create detectable flux and pulsations within the frame) leads me to the work of Heraclitus, one of the Pre-Socratic philosophers.

Tarkovsky, at least as I understand him, was all about flux or change being the dominant force on both our lives and in the universe. This is why his theory is so compatible with the work of Henri Bergson. For both, time passes as a process of continuous change – one alteration is not distinct from another, so any determinations as to beginnings and endings must be arbitrary. How do we decide where one process stops and another begins? There is a fundamental difference between a conception of time as the successive series of states of a system, and as a single continuous process It becomes less a question of arbitrariness, and more one of perspective. One conception sees time as a vast, unfathomable accumulation of states (this was so then etc.), the other as a singularity, a monism – just one thing. That one thing can be either gigantic or tiny, depending on the point from which you are looking at it. It is this way of conceiving of time that links Bergson and Tarkovsky, and now, I find, Heraclitus, who lived about two and a half thousand years before either of them.

Tarkovsky uses water, wind, fire and earth (particularly in the form of mud) a lot. They often serve as a way of visually rendering flux/process/change/pulse/rhythm/vibrations. One of Heraclitus’ main concepts was the idea of ‘Nature’s Bonfire’. He used fire to express the way that he believed the universe worked – a process of constant change. Fire captures both the idea of constant destruction and process, and of the impossibility of distinguishing the ending of one state from the beginning of another. Can you imagine breaking flames down into discrete sections?

“This world neither any god nor man made, but it always was and is and will be, an ever-living fire, kindling in measures and being extinguished in measures.” – Heraclitus

His other catchphrase was panta rhei – ‘everything flows’. Nothing is ever at rest, ever in a constant, unchanging state. Everything is rather in constant motion/process/change (even if it appears to be immensely solid and everlasting like a mountain – this again depends on perspective. A mountain would certainly appear immensely solid and permanent to an organism of a height about 5 – 6 feet, with a life span of around 90 years.)

But then, Jonathon Barnes, grumpy english philosophy dude, says that Heraclitus is easily read whatever way you want because his work is so fragmentary and aphoristic. He writes that “Heraclitus attracts exegetes as an empty jampot wasps; and each new wasp discerns traces of his own favourite flavour.” Barnes also explains Heraclitus’ theory of flux as “the furniture of the world is in constant, if imperceptible change.” I like ‘furniture of the world’ – I imagine a nervous God constantly re-arranging his living room.

Heraclitus
Heraclitus, on his mobile.

Heraclitus 2
Heraclitus, trying to crack open a walnut.