The Outsider:the Story of Harry Partch (1974)

12 09 2010

Harry Partch (June 24, 1901 – September 3, 1974) was an American composer and instrument creator. He was one of the first twentieth-century composers to work extensively and systematically with microtonal scales, writing much of his music for custom-made instruments that he built himself, tuned in 11-limit (43-tone) just intonation.

Bob Gilmore, author Harry Partch: a biography writes

“I was a sort of unofficial consultant for a very good documentary film on Partch, The Outsider: the story of Harry Partch, directed by Darren Chesworth, first screened on BBC4 in 2002. Good film treatment of Partch and his work being rare, this 58-min documentary deserves a wide circulation. It includes much footage of Partch, together with interviews with Philip Glass, Gavin Bryars, and most (though not all) of the main Partch heavies: Philip Blackburn, Betty Freeman, Danlee Mitchell, Stephen Pouliot, John Schneider, Jon Szanto and myself.” 

Related Resources

On the Sensations of Tone By Hermann L. F Von Helmholtz

VIRTUAL PARTCH INSTRUMENTS





Backstage Magic

10 05 2010
I always believed performance is about sincerity shared in the confidence of warm intimacy. Where better to find this sort of thing then in the back-stages and green rooms scattered thoughout the history of the world? That’s where the real magic happens. Here are a few examples
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STEVIE NICKS  (Wild Heart)
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From a Rolling Stone photo session, presumably around 1983/4 in which a camera catches Stevie Nicks and band perform ‘Wild Heart’ from the heart. Very real, very beautiful.
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Leonard Cohen (Bird on a Wire)
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After a nervous and uncertain Cohen walks of stage and retreats to the dressing room, resolving not to perform, his friends and co-performers urge him on with a version of ‘Bird on a Wire’. This footage is magic, not just for the reality of the situation which is conveyed but for the beauty of such a real moment. Watch for Bob Johnson (Simon and Garfunkel’s producer) as he performs the second verse. The sight of a broken Cohen on the floor of the tour bus at the end is really something. Despite the encouragement he did not go back out to finish the set.

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Chelsea Hotel (Arena, BBC 1981)

15 04 2010

1981 BBC documentary on the famous New York hotel and its colorful inhabitants. The documentary is incomplete here but still a worthwhile watch. Some highlights include Andy Warhol and William Burroughs having dinner; Quentin Crisp pontificating in a blue rinse hairdo on his balcony and Nico performing “Chelsea Girls”.





Brian Eno

24 03 2010

Brian Eno is an English musician, composer, record producer, music theorist and singer, who, as a solo artist, is best known as one of the principal innovators of ambient music.

BBC Arena 2010

For this documentary, Another Green World, Brian Eno has given Arena unprecedented access to observe him working in his studio and talking with friends and colleagues.

Eno engages with fellow influential minds, including Richard Dawkins, Malcolm Gladwell, David Whittaker and Steve Lillywhite, in a series of conversations on science, art, systems analysis, producing and cybernetics.

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Artscape: Brian Eno in Conversation

Honouring his 30-odd years of creative achievements, Artscape’s Brian Eno In Conversation features a Q&A interview between Eno and ABC arts presenter Andrew Frost. Discussing Eno’s artistic inspirations, ideas and views on contemporary art, the program profiles an artist who continues to be at the forefront of not just music – but also art and technology.

watch on vimeo site

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Paul Morley interviews Brian Eno in this 1992 programme ‘The Thing is…’

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Imaginary Landscapes, a 40-minute documentary from 1989, directed by Duncan Ward and Gabriella Cardazzo. Rather ironically the sound on this video is too loud and quite distorted. Fair warning.

A better one-part version can be seen here

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AUDIO

Listen here

Name: Ode To Gravity: Brian Eno (Special Edition, I of IV)
Item Type: Sound Recording
Duration: 116 min
Event Type: Interview and Music
Program Origin: KPFA

original description:

“In an interview recorded before a live audience on Saturday February 2, 1980, as part of the Speaking of Music series, Charles Amirkhanian and Brian Eno discuss phonetic poetry, how Brian writes his lyrics, and the spirit of inquisitiveness at KPFA Radio. The two also listen to some of Brian Eno’s pieces, including “After the Heat”, “Everything Merges With the Night”, “Another Green World”, “Spirits Drifting” and sections of other works. Brian Eno also discusses artist Peter Schmidt and their work on the Oblique Strategies Cards, being a record producer, process vs. product, and looping. Part I ends with some thoughts on Steve Reich and his music.

Part II starts with a discussion of “the history of the recording studio as a compositional tool;” and Eno’s collaboration with David Byrne on the then yet-to-be-released album, “My Life in the Bush of Ghosts”. Eno also talks about, and listens to, songs by Elvis Presley, The Supremes, Sly Stone, Lee “Scratch” Perry, and Jimi Hendrix. Eno then offers some unfinished pieces from the album with David Byrne.





Historical Hip Hop Ephemera

23 02 2010

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WILD STYLE (1983)

Wild Style was the first hip hop motion picture. Released theatrically in 1983 by First Run Features and later re-released for home video by Rhino Home Video, the movie was directed by Charlie Ahearn ( director of the feature films Deadly Art of Survival and Fear of Fiction) and featured Fab Five Freddy, Lee Quinones, the Rock Steady Crew, The Cold Crush Brothers, Patti Astor, Sandra Fabara and Grandmaster Flash.

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BAD MEANING GOOD (1987)

The legendary 1987 BBC Open Space Film by Tim Westwood. Featuring (among others) Pride, Daddy Speedo, Fly Boy Dee, MC Crazy Noddy, London Posse, Trevor Nelson, Sipho, Run DMC, DJ Fingers, Cookie Crew, Wee Papa Girl Rappers





How Music Works – Howard Goodall

11 02 2010

PART I – MELODY

In this film composer Howard Goodall looks at melody’s basic elements. Why are some melodic shapes common to all cultures across the world? Can successful melodies be written at random? If not, what are the familiar melodic patterns composers of all types of music have fallen back on again and again, and why do they work?

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PART II – RHYTHM

In this film Howard looks at the common rhythmic patterns used by musicians from all cultures, from Brahms to rappers, from the founders of Cuban son to Philip Glass, from Stevie Wonder to Fats Waller.

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PART III – HARMONY

Chords led to chord progressions, and Howard looks at how familiar patterns of chord progressions give all kinds of music from classical to popular their sense of forward movement. Why do the same chord patterns appear again and again, from Renaissance Italy to the latest chart hit?

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PART IV – BASS

Howard looks at the dark horse of the musical family, and its use in the hands of such diverse musical talents as Johann (and Richard) Strauss, John Philip Sousa, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Albinoni, Bach and Motown’s resident bass maestro, James Jamerson.





Discreet Music (1975)

1 02 2010

Discreet Music (1975) is an album by the British ambient musician Brian Eno. While (No Pussyfooting) may be his first ambient album and Another Green World features many ambient pieces, this is Brian Eno’s first purely ambient solo album.

Brian Eno’s concept of ambient music builds upon a concept composer Erik Satie called “furniture music”. This means music that is intended to blend into the ambient atmosphere of the room rather than directly focused upon.

The inspiration for this album began when Eno was left bed-ridden by an accident and was given an album of eighteenth century harp music. After struggling to put the record on the turntable and returning to bed, he realized that it was turned down toward the threshold of inaudibility and he lacked the strength to get up from the bed again and turn it up. Eno said this experience taught him a new way to perceive music.

This album is also an experiment in algorithmic, generative composition. His intention was to explore multiple ways to create music with limited planning or intervention.

It also sounds nice.