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The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Gig #111: Of late 42: Amnesia Scanner, Marcus Fjellström, Dominowe, Kleistwahr, Pan Daijing, Skullflower, Simon Fisher Turner, Second Woman, Fiium Shaarrk, D. GLARE, Sunlight’s Bane, Yeongrak, FIRE-TOOLZ

 

Amnesia Scanner
Marcus Fjellström
Dominowe
Kleistwahr
Pan Daijing
Skullflower
Simon Fisher Turner
Second Woman
Fiium Shaarrk
D. GLARE
Sunlight’s Bane
Yeongrak
FIRE-TOOLZ

 

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Amnesia Scanner AS SEMBLY
‘Berlin-based Finnish producers Ville Haimala and Martti Kalliala first made waves in 2011 as Renaissance Man, an impish electro duo equal parts quirky energy and bleary-eyed techno. The producers have since discarded that shell, reinventing themselves as Amnesia Scanner, a brutalist avant-club project whose music is engineered to alienate and provoke. In loose dialog with dance deconstructionists like Arca, Angel-Ho, and Lotic, Amnesia Scanner’s violently kinetic club visions deal in the dissonant and the absurd, all the while glimpsing hellish dystopian wastelands and the disorientation of future shock.’ — Jonathan Patrick

 

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Marcus Fjellström Hermitage
‘Fittingly, audio/visual artist Marcus Fjellström makes music with a lovely, accommodating sort of clammyness, punctuating sniffles without the cold, bad dreams with inspiring endings, bitter regret without the fidgety wincing. Skelektikon is a little less pop in the dead AM radio field (à la Leyland Kirby) and more clear and steely. It still doesn’t scream in your face with brute force, but where 2010’s Schattenspieler is the flickering flash of a spooky visage, this new album works like the slow-burn scare. You slap yourself and rub your eyes, but the apparition is still standing there motionless, blankly regarding. There is still the genre fan’s sense of stylistic distance (from the title to the Brothers Grimm-styled album art), but its tickling textures prove cumulatively unnerving as the album progresses.’ — WILLCOMA

 

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Dominowe Newlands Mgido
‘On SiyaThakatha, his first EP for Gqom Oh!, Dominowe takes gqom’s template and runs with it. Across these eight tracks, he acts as a tour guide for the uninitiated, moving the listener through a series of styles that orbit gqom’s distinctive kick-and-drone aesthetic — core tribe, sghubu, afro house — before setting off for destinations unknown. It’s a role to which he’s well suited, as evidenced by “Africa’s Cry,” the ferocious first track from last year’s Gqom Oh! The Sound of Durban, which played a pivotal role in introducing the sounds of the Durban underground to a wider audience.’ — Rafael Lubner

 

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Kleistwahr Music For Fucked Films
‘Kleistwahr’s Gary Mundy evokes a dark “tide” that seems to be sweeping all humanity off its feet, one of the more direct condemnations of the dark political turn the world has taken in the last twelve months. Nationalism and bigotry have swept Brexit and Trump into reality and there seems little the reasonable (even those reasonable souls who voted for Brexit and Trump for their own reasons) can do to stop both from dismantling many things we thought were treasures worth preserving. Gary Mundy’s use of vocals has always been unique: he howls inchoate words into the morass of guitar feedback and synthesizer mayhem he creates, every syllable extended by effects but never cohering into identifiable words. But that’s the point. His voice is exquisitely beautiful because it captures a sense of impotent rage and despondent melancholia better than any words ever could.’ — Joseph Burnett

 

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Pan Daijing A Season In Hell
‘Having grown up in Guiyang, Pan’s early exposure to music was limited – almost surprising, given the particularities of how she handles sonic material. That being said, growing up without access to the Internet, it’s also perhaps to be expected that she would find excitement in the unrestrained (to say the least) spaces of BDSM and techno culture, the two of which meet in her particular sonic output; “That’s why I really enjoy playing live sets. I feel like everybody on the dance floor are like slaves or something, and I’m dominating them with the sound. Like every kick is something I use to whip them.” It’s unsurprising, then, that she’s referred to as a “sonic provocateur”, who often has to cancel shows because many venues think her performances are “too violent or dark.” Her music is one to get your heart racing and palms sweating; it’s enthralling and addictive yet disconcerting and uncomfortable.’ — Mollie Zhang

 

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Skullflower The black iron that fell from the stars, to dwell within (bear it or be it)
‘If anything, the restraint as far as Skullflower go would be more metaphysical than musical. Davies and Bower aren’t noisy for noise’s sake. I doubt they would even really see themselves as a noise act. For them, their music is a quest. Well-versed in gnostic philosophy and the mythologies of civilisations long gone, they use their guitars as a means of conjuring up a ritualistic atmosphere for the summoning of ancient forces. In the Bandcamp liner notes references abound to spirits, gods, demons and natural forces in elliptic language that obfuscates meaning rather than evinces it, but on record and especially stage, it all coalesces into something frighteningly real. Live, the duo crouches, reverential, with backs to the audience, sometimes surrounded by a haze of incense, and stare skywards as if before an altar only they can see. It’s to this day one of the most intense musical experiences I’ve ever felt. They may not have two hours to explore on The Black Iron… but if anything they plunge deeper into their own haze than ever before.’ — Joseph Burnett

 

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Simon Fisher Turner Hope Swims
‘Depending your predilections, Sft may be best known to you as a ‘70s pop star half of post-punk engimas, Deux Filles; one-time member of The The; the composer of soundtracks for Derek Jarman; or, alternatively, as an actor on film and TV since the ‘70s. However, Giraffe is quite discrete to all that, finding Sft pursuing his ‘extreme sound freak’ nose thru reams of field recordings made on his iPhone and a Roland Edirol R-09 between 2008-2016, and subsequently Sfting them into a beguiling array of timbral teases and concrète collage. The results are unsettling in their unpredictability, prone to deviate from tranquil to shocking when he feels like it, but he uses that “trick” sparingly, and a tool of suspense that neatly punctuates the rest of the album’s oneiric tendencies and lush logic. Ultimately it feels like a dispatch from another, parallel Britain that seems distant, detached, yet somehow familiar from the accreted radiation of TV and film screens and their corresponding soundtracks, with shards of real life piercing the silk screen and reminding us it’s all a dream, or is it?’ — boom kat

 

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Second Woman I EP
‘Ultra-modern computer music duo Second Woman take cues from the furthest fringes of digital dub and experimental software composition. “I E/P” and “II E/P” utilize percussive stutter, micro-processed echo, and negative space to explore the limits of rhythmic abstraction, blurring the boundary between human artistry and artificial intelligence.’ — Editions Mego

 

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Fiium Shaarrk Conundrums
‘Fiium Shaarrk unites the formidable skills and the improbably diverse backgrounds of Rudi Fischerlehner (drums) Maurizio Ravalico (percussion) and Isambard Khroustaliov (electronics). Alternating freely between a jigsaw of unquantised proto-dance grooves, the luxuriant austerity of 20th century composed percussion music and the fertile landscape of live electronics, Fiium Shaarrk’s music is at once visceral, cerebral and visionary; at times joyfully naive and at others virtuosic and painstakingly scientific. Fiium Shaarrk draw openly from a diverse array of past musical influences; from Tortoise to King Crimson, Max Roach to Napalm Death, Autechre to Xenakis and Dubstep to Maracatu. However, their unreasonably unassuming explorative music is most unquestionably addressed to the men and women of today.’ — not applicable

 

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D GLARE 4 Oscillators & 130 Samples At 130 BPM
‘An existence that celebrates in equilibrium the joy and peace extracted from static and chaos driven experimentation. Part punk inspired band member, part forensic engineer, Dom exhibits an educated (albeit cynical) audible account of the world through intelligent and weird sound design. The noise itself is inherently heavily processed, riddled with awkward feedback loops and granular synthesis, but benefits from being conceptually protagonistic and magical in execution. One that will scratch-the-itch for the more discerning listener and those wishing to find solace amongst harsher terrain.’ — declared sound

 

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Sunlight’s Bane Begrudging Soul
‘If someone were to stick their hand in your mouth and dislocate your jaw with one good tug before pushing you into a vat of stomach acid, I imagine it would feel something like the music of Sunlight’s Bane. Listening to the deathgrind quintet’s debut album, The Blackest Volume: Like All The Earth Was Buried, is like using a bed of nails for a Slip’N Slide; not only do they grind harder than the world’s worst case of bruxism, but they write imposing elephants marching riffs that squash your skull like a cantaloupe.’ — Metal Sucks

 

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Yeongrak Burning in
‘One of the most enigmatic and exciting artists to emerge from post-quake Christchurch, Yeongrak produces queezily-coloured electronic psychedelia that is emblematic of both the shifting psycho geographies of his home town and the digital context in which he releases his music. Still a teenager, Yeongrak (Matteo Harley-Mackie), first drew attention to himself locally and internationally via a slow flood of distinctively packaged releases for free / pay-as-you-like on Bandcamp from 2014 onwards.’ — nz musician

 

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FIRE-TOOLZ PAIN JERK-OFF
‘As Fire-Toolz, the Chicago experimentalist Angel Marcloid creates an abrasive sonic world: Mundane internet ephemera swirls around in a boiling industrial centrifuge, powered by her fearsome growl. No matter how massive her sound, Marcloid is ultimately a deconstructionist—if not musically, than philosophically. As with the discographies of Oneohtrix Point Never, James Ferraro, Vektroid, and other “post-internet” luminaries, Fire-Toolz poses a timely, bleak query: How can we humans possibly hope to accomplish our starry-eyed goals of taming the machines, of finding nostalgic refuge in a void so glutted with information? Musical formalism, Western pop psychology, the gender binary: Marcloid’s already laid waste to plenty of long-standing systems so far, and it’s hard not to cheer her on from the sidelines as she marches down the warpath.’ — Zoe Camp

 

 

*

p.s. Hey. ** David Ehrenstein, My great pleasure, David. It seemed to go very well. Cool! xo ** Richard, Hi, Richard. A great pleasure to see you, sir. Thank you so much for the great words about and to David. I hope you’re doing fantastically! ** Steevee, Hi. Well, all rock comes other rock at this point, but there are young bands with a force or vision or originality at their core that causes them to inherently or deliberately transcend their influences, but, on a single listen, like I said, I thought Spectres sounded like they were mixing and matching obvious sources, and that was about it for me. But, like I said, I will retry them. I think your concerns as a critic are far more than just a personal problem on your end. Granted, I’m a fairly pragmatic guy, but I don’t think taste is a concrete, immobile thing, and there are tenable shifts in motion right now. ** Kyler, Hey, K. Thanks, man, yeah, some heat and hot water would be very, very welcome. ** Tosh Berman, Hi, Tosh. Thanks a bunch. ** New Juche, Hi. Thanks, man. The area just around the areas I live in is a bit swanky, but not aggressively so. It’s an area geared towards businesses and stores and restaurants and so on rather than being a neighborhood with a local character, which I miss from my previous dwellings. I’m on the 4th floor. That’s by European standards, so the 5th floor by American standards. I hope your weekend was a goodie. ** Dóra Grőber, Hi! Thus far, some of the auditioning actors had read the script, but most of them came in cold. For the next round of auditions later this week, they really won’t know anything other than who’s making the film and a general request vis-a-vis age (late 20s), temperament, etc. I’m not sure if they’ll know it’s for a main role. Our producers sent out a request for actors, and I’m not certain exactly what the call-out explained. Awesome that the second session went so much better! I assume you had a great time with your writer friend, no? And how was ‘T2’? I’ve heard pretty good things about it, and it just opened here. My weekend was all right. I found out that the heat problem is because the gas wasn’t turned on as I was told it would be, and I’m struck in the cold until tomorrow. I started unpacking. I started cleaning the apartment I left behind for the inspection tomorrow. I saw a concert put on by the great experimental sound/music organization here IRCAM featuring three performances of works they commissioned. Two of them were awful, but Florian Hecker was the third, and his piece was fantastic. I saw the first screening of a film by Paul Otchakovsky-Laurens who is both a filmmaker and my French publisher. I appear briefly in the film. It’s an experimental autobiographical film called ‘Editeur’, and it’s really good. It comes out in September. I worked on film stuff a bunch. And shivered, ha ha. How did your weekend and Monday turn out? ** Jamie, Hey, J! Thanks, bud. Supposedly I’ll get heat and hot water tomorrow, I sure fucking hope. My weekend was busy (see: description to Dora), but it was pretty good other than the unpleasantness it took to be clean and warm. Right, that must have been very disconcerting. I mean seeing the early, robot version of the animation. But better than being in the dark, I guess. Weird. How’s Monday being re: you? Blanket-wrapped love, Dennis. ** Bill, Hi! Great, a week of non-hell. How are you going to utilize it? Do you have a project you’re working on? And/or is chilling the agenda? Chilling in the literal sense is unfortunately on my agenda until, I hope, tomorrow. ** Tender prey, Hi, Marc! No, I wasn’t able to go to the event, which sucks. My life is like taffy being pulled by the film project on one side and the mechanics of moving/settling in on the other. I desperately want to see it somehow. By file or elsewhere. You can put it on Vimeo and make it private, accessible only to people who have the passcode. That’s what we do with all of our film stuff. I’m so happy the blog helped make that happen. That’s super heartening to hear. No, Place Madeleine is actually less residential. I mean people live here, but, unlike in the 10th or 4th where I lived before, it’s more like people live in boxes atop the businesses that define the area. It’s interesting in that sense. Yes, more catching up would be most splendid, my dear friend! Lots of love to you! ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi, Ben. Oh, man, I can see why that would be so unnerving. Good to know about the key option. My track pad is fucked up for some reason, and pressing down on it requires this weird strength like I’m smashing a bug or something. ** Grant Maierhofer, Hi, Grant! Nice to see you, man! I got the emails, but I’ve been just torn a bit asunder time-wise of the late by moving to a new apartment and the increasingly giant, consuming work of our film project, so I’m behind, I’ll try to respond today, sorry. I now have an actual new address as of two days ago, so there’s a place the book can be sent. Yay! Yeah, the New Narrative should be fun and interesting. I haven’t been able to wrap my mind around it yet, but, yeah, it will be sweet. I’m really glad you’re going! That’s awesome! ** Kier, Hi, Kier! Thanks for the article. I’ll hit it and down what’s there today, cool! My apartment is odd in the sense that it has this kind of, I don’t know, 80s-ish layout. It’s kind of like an apartment that wants to sort of look like a showroom or something. Two cold showers so far, two more (God, I hope) to go. ‘Saved my bacon’, ha ha, yeah. If it’s American, it probably comes from some old TV show or movie maybe. A lot of old sayings like that do. For instance, my mom used to always says, ‘T’aint funny, McGee’ all the time. And I was always like, wtf?! But I guess it derived from some now obscure TV series called ‘Fibber McGee and Molly’. Today I have a huge meeting about the film very shortly where we’ll possibly set up the shooting schedule, and which will, I’m expecting, involve Zac and me fighting for more time since we need to shoot more than the time we’ve been given will allow. And I’m getting internet turned on. And I have to finish cleaning up my former apartment. And stuff like that. What did Monday present to you, pal? Huge love back! ** James Nulick, Hi, James. The heat/hot water is supposed to be fixed tomorrow, but I’ll believe it only when and if the guy who’s turning on the gas actually arrives. Like I said, where I live is not fancy. It’s within walking distance of fanciness. Where I lived before in the 4th was actually fancier. Thanks, man. Great week to you too, and how has it started? ** Okay. I made another gig of things I’m into at the moment for you musical adventurers out there. See you tomorrow.

13 Comments

  1. Merci Dennis!

    It did go very well this weekend thanks to you.

    Fabulously weird stuff today.

  2. To be honest, I like the Spectres album less the more I listen to it, and it does feel like they’re using ’80s Sonic Youth as a basic template. However, on top of that, they’re doing some interesting twists – I can hear both Throbbing Gristle and Ride in their sound. That’s not an obvious set of influences.

    I’m against throwbacks but not hybrids. Almost all music builds upon other music. Even very early rock’n’roll synthesized R&B and country music. The first few Rolling Stones albums owe their existence to Chuck Berry and Howlin’ Wolf. The first Stooges album reminds me, at various points, of the Velvet Underground, Jimi Hendrix (Ron Asheton wasn’t the same kind of virtuoso, but I can hear a lot of Jimi in his guitar playing) and the early Who, mixed with a lot of now-forgotten garage bands.

    I got into a lengthy argument about Armond White, his review of GET OUT and his tendency to attack most films by African-American filmmakers yesterday on FB. (To be fair, I threw the first punch.) I just made a few follow-up comments, but I’m amazed I got through it without White popping up in the thread or someone accusing me of racism.

  3. Hi!

    Oh, I see! The question just crossed my mind because it seemed so weird that actors apply even though they don’t have the time to actually commit to a main role. But it’s understandable like this. I keep my fingers extremely crossed for this week’s audition(s)!!
    I’m sorry about the inconveniences. But does this mean that you’ll finally have normal heating tomorrow?
    Sounds like you had a really busy weekend! I’ve never heard about Florian Hecker but I’ll go see what I can find about him now! And I certainly hope I’ll be able to watch the movie, too, once it comes out! I’m happy you saw/heard so many things you liked!

    T2 was way better than what I expected. Of course, it can’t really be compared to the original movie but I think it’s worth a shot; if not for anything else then for some real and good Trainspotting nostalgia. It was great to see the same actors and characters again. And I really liked the soundtrack.
    Today is kind of uneventful on my part – I mean, in terms of physical activity. I’m mostly just working on my book.
    What’s happening with you? I hope you have a lovely day – and the last one you have to spend shivering!!

  4. chris dankland

    March 20, 2017 at 8:49 pm

    hey dennis !! thanks for the gig post, i always find a couple things in there that i end up liking a lot. i think i’m most drawn to the Simon Fisher Turner song & the song by Sunlight’s Bane, i’m gonna give their albums a good couple of listens this week. I loved the videos for the Marcus Fjellstrom, Kleistwahr, & FIRE-TOOLZ, they gave me some great ‘spooky shit is going down in this cave’ feelings, i’m gonna check out more of their stuff too.

    i’ve been listening to a lot more rock recently, both this year and last — rock kind of fell off my radar for a long time — maybe for the last 10 years or so, but i’ve been listening to a lot of bands that borrow heavily from 90s indie rock, especially that slumberland dream pop kind of stuff. a lot of Alex G & Japanese Breakfast & Coma Cinema & Frankie Cosmos & Widowspeak & Teen Suicide & Snail Mail & Genders…anyway i feel like it’s been a long time since rock has sounded interesting to me & now there’s all these new bands coming to my attention. feels sort of similar to when there was a new wave of noise rock that came out 10 years ago with bands like No Age & Wavves & Ponytail & Times New Viking & stuff. i don’t think the new bands i’m listening to are super innovative…a lot of it sounds like bands from the 90s, but they’re doing that sound in a way that sounds fresh and revitalizing to me. i keep replaying this song ‘Thinning’ by Snail Mail over and over…it’s a rock song that isn’t breaking the mold or anything but it’s just such a perfect poppy sing-a-long type song, it makes me want to gorge on rock all day. & i’ve also been listening to a lot of those bands/albums u listed on that indie rock day u did awhile back, a lot of Dinosaur Jr. & GBV & Archers of Loaf…some of the less aggressive, more melodic & poppy kind of rock

    anyway hehe lol…i’m rambling & pontificating & being boring

    hope ur doing well !! sending u big hugs, thanks again for the new tunes

  5. I found the Dominowe track really exciting. Without sounding like dubstep, it has the freshness and energy of early dubstep singles. I just downloaded his EP from iTunes.

    I’m seeing Malick’s new film, SONG TO SONG, tonight. I will report back tomorrow. Has this opened in Paris yet?

  6. Hey Dennis,

    I just got my copy of Charlie Fox’s This Young Monster today from Fitzcarraldo Editions–how fucking awesome are those books by the way? Ed Atkins’ A Primer for Cadavers is another recent favorite, I wrote about it over at Dostoyevsky Wannabe’s Sevenup series. Anyway, I had to write to you because the book is reminding me so much of my favorite days here at the blog. Weird, haunted, fascinated looks at art and culture and people and life. Ah it’s so fucking good! I’m guessing you have a copy, but if not, I can’t recommend it enough!!!
    Thank you for your response. I look forward to an email. I’m guessing John will be in touch to get you a physical copy.

    Best,

    Grant

  7. I’m into Gary Mundy’s Kleistwahr project and its summoning of Brexit pathos. I still listen to his associate Philip Best’s Consumer Electronics – Estuary English album a lot and feel it captures the grim spirit of these times.

    There’s a few new albums due soon that I’m really looking forward to: Jlin – Black Origami, Actress – AZD and maybe most of all Dopplereffekt – Cellular Automata. That’s the group said to be made up of former Drexciya man Gerald Donald and the enigmatic To Nhan Le Thi, and I just love their press release: it “approaches mathematical growth and decay as an iterative process, with each data input considered individually relative to the overall model.” That’s the spirit of electro right there.

  8. Hola Dennisian! That Amnesia Scanner track is my favourite thing I’ve heard in a while! Thank you! And I’d like to experience Pan Daijing live, especially with that quote from her. Yes! to Skullflower too. And Simon Fisher Turner. Wow! to FIRE-TOOLZ (even typing that name is a pleasure) – totally inspiring. This the first time I’ve gone through one of your gig posts with headphones. I’ve been lost in it. Such a good selection. Thanks loads, man.
    What flavour was your Monday? Mine was fairly bitter, but with sweet notes. I’m in Newcastle, having spent the day in the office in Sunderland. Sad to say that I’m not taking to office life very well. It’s shite. I feel like I get nothing done cos I can’t concentrate. And I’m feeling emotionally erratic. Close to tears all of a sudden and that kind of thing. Woe is me! We’ve done an autopsy of our animatic and made suggestions to fix what’s fixable, so we just have to see what the animation company say to that. Then once we sign off on this, we have to sit and wait for the finished cartoon. Brrr.
    I hope you get your boiler on today. Cold showers may be bracing, but they are harsh.
    What’s Tuesday mean to you this week? I’m back in the office, but I’m going to try to be positive! Aiieee.
    I’m off to find out what I can about FIRE-TOOLZ.
    Heat-giving love,
    Jamie

  9. Hey Dennis – Catching up again with the blog. Spent the weekend visiting friends around N.C. Saw an amazing concert by Anthony Braxton whose sextet was made up of sax, trumpet, tuba, cello, and two (count ’em) harps. It was spellbinding music, somewhat closer to classical than jazz but really beyond category, its own sonic language. Very lovely and almost fractal in the shards of unusual sound combinations coming off the stage. The harps were partly used percussively, stroked and slapped with tuning forks and other meals, which was cool. If they come anywhere near Paris, I think you’d love this band.

    Always enjoy these music posts. Will spend more time with it tomorrow but Skullflower and Simon Fischer Turner immediately jumped out. I didn’t realize Turner was part of Deux Filles and had forgotten he did the amazing score to Jarman’s Last of England. Are there particular solo albums/projects of his you recommend? Have you heard the entirety of this new one?

    Randomly: You have a preference between Robbe-Grillet’s The Erasers and La Maison de Rendezvous? They’re both sitting on my shelf, trying to decide which to read next.

  10. DavidE, I’m late as hell, but a big shout-out and congrats to you on your new book. Bravo, Maestro. Now…where is Raised by Hand Puppets? 😀

    Big D! I’m back. Didn’t go anywhere, but I’m back. Just been busy.

    I finished LCTG finally. Seems the Windows update that kept me from getting to it the one night totally erased my Windows DVD player on here. Finally, I figured out a couple days later that I had HP Media DVD, which is tons better. So I got to watch the rest of it yesterday.

    And yes, I watched it on my nice computer monitor. Fuck, I couldn’t let my mom see that. She’d kill herself. Hehe, I’m exaggerating, but she wouldn’t have gotten it and wouldn’t have enjoyed it.

    So let’s see: yes, I liked it. I thought it was very good. What’s interesting to me is how fucking good the videography was on such a low budget. Really well filmed, especially the cutaway scenes of forests and the places on the beach, and there were a few others that really enhanced the themes of the whole film. Those silent little snapshots spoke volumes and accentuated what you were doing. If they’d been shot any less perfectly, they wouldn’t have worked.

    But the DC themes were there: objectification, mistaking desire for love, the extremes one goes to when he/she mistakes desire for love or when he/she looks for love in the wrong place, isolation and how that warps our sense of what’s important and who we are and how it stunts us emotionally and leads us to mistaking things like desire for love.

    I think you really need to watch the whole thing to get all that, though it pops up everywhere. The bookend pieces, which frankly weren’t my favorites, actually did their job of reinforcing and bringing these things to light. Yes, I did like the middle three pieces better. But that’s just a thing with me. There was much more action in those pieces and I found that more appealing to my sensibility, though I “got” what the bookend pieces were doing., which I think they did well (as I just said above).

    There was also that theme of yours of imagination vs. reality. There was a surreal-ness to each bit that oftentimes left me wondering, “Is this really happening?” And “If it’s not, what does this say about these characters, this film, about me?” It kind of reminded me of The Sluts and The Marbled Swarm in that regard.

    If I can be allowed to be really nitpicky, I’d say the first scene probably should’ve been more graphic. Also, I think it could’ve been filmed in French and just had subtitles for English speakers. But then again, you’re a master with English and not French, so the dialogue may have suffered. I just have a hard time personally with accents, that’s all.

    OH! And Oscar was a revelation. Other than being absolutely beautiful, I thought she was quite wonderful. Paul Hameline too. They were great in that scene.

    So I do wonder if you’ve thought of making, I don’t know, a more traditional type film. One with a more traditional story arc, something with the same characters start to finish. I feel weird typing that because I already know the answer, but I don’t know, I just feel like it’s something you could do wonders with. Maybe it’s because at the end of a few of the scenes, I’m thinking, “I wish this was longer, I’d like to get to know these characters better.” At the same time, I got what you were doing and why, so I did take it as it was. It’s just that as I thought on it later, I started coming up with all these, “I’d like to see them do…”

    Anyway, yeah, I loved it. Bravo to you and Zac. Good stuff. I look forward to your next film.

    I’ll be watching Closet Monster this weekend finally. I’ll let you know if I like it or not. I’ll be reading Sypha’s new story tomorrow night. That should be fun. I’ve already read an excerpt I really like.

  11. So I just got back from seeing SONG TO SONG and found it a quite depressing experience. I know how much you love late Malick and don’t want to shit on your enthusiasm or start a lengthy argument. While I feel somewhat skeptical and ambivalent about his previous three films, especially TO THE WONDER, I respect them in the way I do SILENCE: they’re at least attempting to do serious, ambitious and nominally mainstream art cinema in an American context. I do not respect SONG TO SONG. And I would caution you that as much as you revere Malick, even the best directors are capable of making terrible films.

  12. Very fine gig today, Dennis. Fjellstroem’s work would normally seem a bit too cutesy for my taste, but it’s very well-done and enjoyable.

    As usual, the week “off” is more like a week of catching up, hacking through my tangle of email with a machete, grading, editing etc etc. But it’s pouring, so I have fewer distractions, and might even poke away at some small hermetic project. We’ll see.

    Bill

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