Konono No 1

Konono No 1 Promotional Video (2005, 14MB, 4:20 min)

I was a bit wary of the rather glib “Congotronics” marketing
surrounding the absolutely fantastic music coming from Konono No 1
and other bands (including the Kasai All Stars) from Kinshasa,
Democratic Republic of the Congo*** – there’s so often a touch
(or more) of paternalism in these things as western rock luminaries
find some beautiful flower of music and well intentionedly but stupidly
trample and traduce it as they make it “palatable” for western consumers.

However I was completely won over by this article, which makes clear
producer Vincent Kenis’s deep knowledge of and devotion to the music
and its performers.
Furthermore it’s the kind of scholarly yet readable account of something
that one so often yearns to find on the net & so rarely does.
Watch the vid then read the article.
I bet you end up buying some of the music.

*** the much trumpeted comparison with avant-rock &c is marketing horseshit of the highest order of course – why the hell should two things that have developed in virtually completely separate social, political, economic & cultural circumstances be comparable in any meaningful sense simply because they share common surface features? Worse still, the comparison could be taken to imply that this music was somehow evolving towards the condition of western avant-rock..euurgh!

Isidore Bethel – Fell in Love with a Dead Boy

Fell in Love with a Dead Boy (2008, 66.7MB, 11:01 min)

I was a little chary ,at first, of posting this, not because I don’t
think it’s good (I do) but because Isidore Bethel had me a little
worried that it might be someone’s autobiography fuelling it &
I wasn’t entirely sure I should post it before that person had
thought about whether that was a good thing…a lot.

Silly me, because Isidore cheerfully assures me it’s all fictional.

He’s good.

Not to be OTT but there’s something that smacks
of Citizen Kane about this, in both a good and a bad sense.
Good, in that there is such energy & skill deployed here
(not just artistic, the guy can clearly organise too).
Furthermore, it packs a real punch, as witness my confusion.
On the debit side there’s sometimes a sense of everything including
the kitchen sink being dug out and after the initial rush (happens with
Kane for me too folks – little too much obvious desire to be epic) you
begin to see the thing as held together to some degree by sheer willpower,
even where the occasional hole is visible…
I look forward to see where Isidore Bethel will go next -we’ll hear a good
deal more of him, I’m sure.
Also: nice score from David Nyman (like its use in the piece too: non-obvious)
& a careful, intelligent performance of the script from Megan Popkin.
(not sure I’m making out the credits properly -did she share the writing credit? –
the script: that’s a piece of work too.)

Three Lumieres from LOMEG_ROM

Lomeglumiere #030 “uncut scenes” (2008, 5.4MB, 1:05)

Lomeglumiere #019 “video painting II” (2008, 5.4MB, 1:05)

Lomeglumiere #003 “goodle” (2008, 3.4MB, 0:44)

Three lovely thought-provoking lumieres from LOMEG_ROM.
The point of the Lumiere project was to get people to think
differently about their practice. LOMEG_ROM’s lumieres
vary widely, sometimes a still shot where seemingly
“nothing” happens, other times a still camera and a
piece of furniture moved back and forth in front of the
lens. Whatever they’re up to, I always enjoy surprises
from this Norwegian duo.
I chose these three as departures from other lumieres,
in content or style. Brava.

Steve Bishop – Behold a Pale Horse

Behold a Pale Horse (2007, 6MB, 2:26 min)

I love this piece, originally posted to the currently very lively & interesting
Rhizome front page, quite extravagantly, almost unreasonably.

Reader: Well! -what is it then?
Me: er..well it’s.. a very lo-fi mash up of film studio idents
Reader: and?
Me: ..well..um..that’s it.
Reader: Harrumph! (gets on bike to go)

but you would be so, so wrong, to go that way, dear reader.
I burbled something on Rhizome in a comment on this about the
transfiguration of the banal & it is precisely there
that it seems to me the magic lies. Bishop makes us examine
every pixel as if ( & of course he makes it so) it mattered.
In a kind of strange way the film is rendered archetypally
There’s more, though. In the way he estranges & hence makes us look
anew at the imagery of the idents, he recovers some of the mythic force
that was being tapped into by their makers before familiarity rendered
those images banal.
Tremendous work!

Giles Perkins – Saturdays only

Saturdays Only (2008, 50MB, 1:18 min)

We’re quite keen here at DVblog on Giles Perkins & his quirky &
beautiful Super8 work.
He also maintains the excellent all-things-Super8 site onsuper8.org.
You might remember his beach huts piece
or his Burnley Panopticon mini-documentary.
Here he turns his poetic but clear eye to “Britain’s oddest train
– the once a week Stockport to Stalybridge.”

A great way to kick off our new season…