Béla Halmos

Béla Halmos – Legyenes (2010, 19MB, 4:10 min)

I just love this and I can’t completely rationalise it. Everything about it –
the fantastic playing of Béla Halmos and companion, the earnest intensity
of the dancers, the crowd’s glorious vocal participation (especially that very
Eastern European tight-throated high pitched rhythmic women’s singing) just makes me
weak at the knees with delight.
It was recorded at the 29th National Dance House festival in Budapest in 2010.

Toby Tatum –The Golden Age

the golden age
The Golden Age (2011, 181MB, 5:34 min)

We’ve posted Toby Tatum’s work
before and it’s work with a definite charge to it and ambitious too.

I think this piece is more wholly successful than its predecessor but I’m still not totally convinced.
It’s something to do with the aim of conjuring a very precise & particular
dream-world which strikes me as an all-eggs-in-one-basket kind of approach,
in that the tiniest false note disrupts the sought for spell.
Therefore Tatum creates a very high bar indeed for himself and his performers.

If one compares similarly oneiric work by Cocteau, Lynch or Hadžihalilović,
however dense and rich the atmosphere gets, there is variation with humour
or banality preparing us for more poetry to come and somehow too, framing it,
setting it off.
That sounds more critical that I want to be for this is, in every respect, a
very nicely realised and haunting piece.

Next week, or the week after, we’ll post an interview with Tatum about his work.

Ruth Catlow – As I Looked Up…

as i looked up
As I Looked Up (2011, 32MB, 2:23 min)
A co-director of the formidable Furtherfield, Ruth Catlow charms
and something more – something to do with the urgency and vulnerability
of performance and the importance of memory, of a sense of place – in this
fragile & lovely elaboration of an Ivor Cutler song.
Things its difficult to put your finger on but which go right to our core;
pointing to – literally singing – those things being in the ‘artist’ job description…

First of three. Two more pieces, just as delicate, just as necessary, to come.

James Joyce has a Posse

james joyce has a posse
James Joyce has a Posse (2011, 32MB, 4:49 min)

And mentioning Curt Cloninger, as we did on Friday last, it’s nice to report he has made
a new video which is both gorgeous and engimatic, with a musicality which stems
not only from the actual sounds but the video’s very construction, that repeated
wistful, strange, ‘Portrait of the Artist’, title motif…
Cloninger is someone (Eddie Whelan the other who springs to mind) who has thoroughly incorporated
data-moshing as an expressive tool into their vocabulary, defying reports of its early death.

PS And just in passing – I’m fascinated by movies like this one, for which it’s very difficult
to create an adequate poster image.
Data-moshing is a particularly dynamic form of moving image work
where the motion is like the Cheshire Cat’s grin.
It’s not just data-moshing – it happens elsewhere.
It’s like some movies are, in some sense, “further away” in the line of image kinship
with the still.

Drake Music Commission – Distant Interiors

Distant Interiors (2011, 87MB, 2:16 min)

Drake Music is an organisation initiating and enabling a whole spectrum
of activity around disability and the arts (particularly music
but other artforms too).
This could be worthy, condescending and dull. It is none of these.
In recent years, under the inspired leadership of Carien Meijer,
DM has ensured it is situated primarily as a very forward looking
arts organisation which happens to work closely with disabled artists
to enable new and fresh work to emerge.
It has encouraged collaborations between disabled and non-disabled artists
and, in a sense, works towards its own future disappearance not only
by using technology to level the playing field but also by aspiring not
to pity or the sideshow but to serious, top level, work.

This is their first online commission, a remote collaboration between
video artist Melanie Clifford, composer Ailís Ní Ríain and artist Rebecca Key.

I like the fact that it is so confident in its austere and beautiful
language and aims, not to charm us, but to engage us.
The spiky and beautiful music is particularly exhilarating.

Can I get an Amen? – Nate Harrison

Can I Get An Amen
Can I Get An Amen? (2004, 34.3MB, 18:08 min.)

from Nate Harrison.
This documentation of an installation by Nate Harrison,
includes an in depth lecture on the history of a single breakbeat.
It follows this small fragment of a song from its origin in a 60’s soul
recording through the invention of house and contemporary hip-hop.
It also speaks very eloquently on the important issues of copyright in
remix culture. This is fascinating to listen to.

By Mica

Klaus Lang –Zwillingsgipfel

suess-map 2b
Zwillingsgipfel (2007, 122 MB, 8:02 min)

The music of the Austrian composer Klaus Lang ( not to be confused
with fellow Lang composers Bernhard or even David) is both very strange
and very beautiful. It’s a world where the tiniest gesture, the smallest
variation or nuance has great weight and presence. It’s no intellectual game
or posture though, but something, certainly for me, deeply affecting.
See what you think.
Bizarrely, I believe (and I’m open to correction) that “Zwillingsgipfel”
translates as “Twin Peaks”.

KMA – ‘Flock’ in Liverpool

device activated
‘Flock’ in Liverpool (2008, 152MB, 2:44 min)

How many times do you read artists’ descriptions of their own work
and think ‘naaaaa…’ totally failing to recognise their stated ambitions
in what appears to you to be, at best, somewhat pedestrian and at
worst, a total disconnect from what they write.
This is the complete opposite of that, utterly living up to the makers’
stated intentions, and an absolute spine tingler to watch even through
the distance of video documentation.
Check out the KMA site for a complete description of the piece,
an ‘interactive light installation’ based around Swan Lake,
but not until you’ve watched this beautiful bit of documentary.
Particularly touching is the genuine joy in participation it evokes.

Very hard to pull off and very moving to see.

Bernhard Lang – I Hate Mozart

I Hate Mozart [excerpt] (2006, 11MB, 4:03 min)

Excerpt from the 2006 production of Bernhard Lang’s opera
I Hate Mozart written for the Viennese Mozart Year festivities
of that year.
It’s interesting in a number of ways. Lang’s musical language is based upon the
loop, but loops treated within a fairly hardcore art music environment.
Sounds like a recipe for pretension or disaster. Strangely it’s neither,
but most compelling.
Secondly, the piece is that rare beast, too often promised and so rarely
delivered, a genuinely comic opera and all the more impressive for being
cast in an apparently recalcitrant & unforgiving musical language
for such a purpose.
Hats off, Mr Lang, hats off.