June 20, 2007

A Journey To A Land Of Bubble Wrap And Singing Glasses

As part of the Sydney Film Festival, Wotnext is hosting a competition for one minute long films shot on mobile phones, and my beloved Daz has entered this charming animated cut-out/live action piece into it. Please take the time to check it out and, if you like it, go to the site and rate it and download it. Thank you.

Posted by Warren at 05:56 PM

June 19, 2007

To Hear Your Banjo Play

Banjo.jpgHere's a rather wonderful 1947 short from the Internet Archive about the place of the banjo in American folk music. Its written by the great folklorist Alan Lomax and narrated by Pete Seeger who guides us through a series of loving portraits of country folk and their musical traditions. Along the way, we learn that the banjo was invented by slaves, that Appalachian ballads have their roots in Scottish folk songs, and that exchanges across the racial divide have long played a significant role in the formation of American folk music. The whole thing ends with the off-screen audience of proto-teeny boppers taking to the stage for a lively square dance. (via Indestructible)

Posted by Warren at 06:00 PM

June 04, 2007

Favourite Intermissions

Intermission.jpgFor the past seven year, Christopher DeLaurenti has been turning up to classical concerts in a leather vest with concealed microphones attached to a minidisc recorder. The goal of this clandestine bootlegging setup has not been to record any music that was on the programme, but rather to capture what happened during intermission. While other concert-goers were off sipping bubbly and relieving their bladders, he was there in the front row documenting the sound of milling patrons and orchestra members rehearsing their parts. In the process, he discovered an entirely "new", and previously undocumented, form of “improvised” music.

Musicians left on stage during intermission would generally use the time to practice difficult passages from the pieces to come. For the most part, they would twiddle away obliviously but occasionally they would latch on to what was being played in another section of the orchestra. This might continue for a few bars then fall apart and be replaced by cacophony followed by another spontaneous coming together around a new passage – kind of like a random sheet-music based version of one of John Zorn’s improvisational music games.

DeLaurenti’s obsessive documentation of these moments of interstitial orchestral "improvisation" has resulted in 50 hours worth of recordings which he has condensed into a single CD of “greatest hits” entitled Favourite Intermissions. The CD can be purchased from his website. Here’s a track from it called SF Variations (I think that’s short for Stravinsky’s Firebird… But I could be wrong about that. Any ideas?)

Posted by Warren at 05:15 PM