I’m looking forward to this documentary on Minnesota naturalist Sigurd F. Olson. I discovered his work through two beautiful editions of his books The Singing Wilderness (1956) and Listening Point (1958). Olson writes elegantly about nature without romanticizing it–not an easy task!
I recently came across two films worth mentioning here. Transes follows the Moroccan group Nass el Ghiwane during a tour in the early 1980s. Nass performs Moraccan chaabi music influenced by the heavily hypnotic Gnawa genre, hence the titular “trances.” They play with the frenetic energy of early Stones to their rapturous crowds. Director Ahmed El Maanouni captures spectacular live performances […]
Sergei Parajanov made art his way. He balked at socialist realism, the Soviet Union’s sanctioned art form, and lived a flamboyant lifestyle that had him in and out of labor camps for 20 years. I first saw Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors in college. The Russian film class I was taking at the time introduced me to great films […]
I’ve followed Vincent Moon’s films since the nascent days of YouTube. It’s near impossible to overstate how important his Take Away Shows with La Blogothèque have been for filmed music in the 21st century. Today you’ll find countless imitators of his style: long, uninterrupted shots that float between brutal closeups of the performers and curious […]
I’m always looking for sounds that are pleasing at the time. The sound of a helicopter is really annoying until you’re drowning, and it’s there to rescue you. Then it sounds like music. Tom Waits, “Gravel Pit“
Wilderness sounds would be here, bird songs in the mornings and at dusk. The aspen leaves would whisper and the pines as well, and in the sound of water and wind I would hear all that is worth listening for. I would come in all seasons, when the first buds of spring were painting the […]
Inuksuit, University of Richmond, 2013 This wonderful piece by John Luther Adams shows how twenty-five years in Alaska have shaped his music and life. Adams details his quaint studio on a plot outside of Fairbanks. The shelves inside survey his development: musical writings by Henry Cowell, John Cage, and his mentor, Lou Harrison, scores by Stravinsky and […]