Sunday, 26 December 2010

"I take your dark head in my hands"

This is a book that was certainly the most important for me in 2010, read extensively and excessively, many times, in long bath lies, in bed, on my way to various places, as if I didn’t want to separate from it for too long. It was supposed to be unpublished until the 2023, but the heirs decided differently, and it was published in German in 2008 and then Polish and English in 2010. I have bought copies in three languages.

This is a testimony of great love between Paul Celan and Ingeborg Bachmann, two poets I rate among the most important for me, if not the most important, really; a two orientation points as long as the post war poetry or writing as such is concerned (Bachmann important for me rather as a prose author), examining the limits of the language, testing the very possibilities of what can be said. This all sounds very Wittgensteinian, and no wonder that in a film adaptation from 1990 by Werner Schroeter of the final, astonishing novel by Bachmann, Malina, published in 1971, in which she’s paying a homage to her lover, dead of 1 year ( Celan chosen “the loneliest of deaths” in 1970 by throwing himself to the Seine after years of struggle with mental illnesses and personal crisis), the heroine, played by the very Isabelle Huppert, is attending a course on Wittgenstein’s philosophy in Vienna. How very proto Haneke's The Piano Teacher (Elfriede Jelinek's Klavierspielerin appeared in 1983), probably my favorite film ever – where again, Huppert played a desperate and lonely to the bone woman with artistic aspirations, which were brutally diminished, displaying her usual indefinable charm and aura of sexual complexity.

In both those cases, adaptations of books written by Austrian female authors, we have a woman, who eventually finds it impossible to live after a one way or another unrequited or failed love for a man. In Bachmann’s novel, at the end the heroine says: “I loved him more than my life. He was my life.” – whereas her lover, the title’s Malina, is believed to have died in mysterious circumstances, just as did Celan. In this unfinished novel, stopped by her tragic death after the fire appeared in her flat in Rome only at the age of 47, she finally closes their lifetime long, incessant relationship, love, friendship, correspondence, that sometimes muted for years, included few attempts of getting back together, always paid for by even greater pain and bitterness. But first, why should we care about it at all?

Because what it gives you an inquiry into is to what kind of depths of despair and intensity can love lead and especially if you were lucky enough to experience it in your own life, it is a proof that all this really is possible to put on paper, within a letter. Being in a relationship that lead me to frequent separations with the person I love, I also frequently have to rely on letters, and sometimes have nothing but letters, although we can't escape the fact we live in the era of internet. But even in the times of a quick internet connection one can still experience all kinds of doubt, longing, waiting, anticipation, desperation and loneliness. And this collection of letters is dearer to me than anything published in years, and it leaves me speechless and even more in love, because it helps me to name what love actually is about, although I couldn’t possibly explain it to you.

Celan has become everyone’s darling now, Libeskind channeling his Radix, Matrix poem to his drawings, songs cycles being composed to his Todesfuge (Death Fugue), him being a model tormented 20th century poet. He inspired a Polish poet Andrzej Sosnowski in his seminal long poem After the Rainbow and many uncountable others. I cant possibly write about Celan’s poetry in a piece of a blogpost space. It overwhelms me, although I strongly believe, that Celan, a poet of notorious obscurity, was rather a poet of an absolute lucidity, clearness and quite impossible distillation. He was a poet, he could only be a poet, and this is what he was doing for all his life.

Born as Paul Antschel (1920), a survivor of Holocaust, of course – but you know all this story already, do I really have to tell this again – a native of Czernowitz, Bukovina in Romania, born only few years after the dismantling of the Austrian-Hungarian empire, of which it was a part, he was invariably a product of its culture and politics. Member of Jewish diaspora there, he spoke Romanian at school, and a high literary German at home, mainly because his mother, Fritzi, was in love of German literature and was keen of passing her son the same passion. She is frequently referred to in his poems, tragically killed, in a Nazi camp, shot in her head, as he later found out, but the father, a more orthodox Jew, remains a dark and obscure figure. He insisted on the Talmudic education of his son, and therefore Celan spoke Hebraic also at a quite early age, so the inheritance of Jewish culture was quite strong in him. This whole constellation of languages, plus Yiddish, which he got as well, created the rich polyglot ambiance, in which the poetic mind of Celan matured and flourished – although probably it wouldn’t mature but for the inevitable, tremendous Jewish fate. He was a poet of this fate, of the civilization after 1945, who, as much as Bachmann, was trying to remap the world anew, to see the possibilities of saying something. And one will see, that his poems, after a brief initial period of quasi-surrealist stylization, strive to describe actually real situations, although it happens in the most condensed, reduced, dense way. There was not and there wont be any poet like him, ever, because the situation, in which he wrote and that made him write, is unique and uniquely tragic.

I can really only recommend jumping into his poems now, immediately, as you read this post. I remember studying his poetry in the University Library in Warsaw, transcribing his poems, as I couldn’t afford to pay for the Xerox, also, because I wanted to memorize its lines. I wrote in German and in Polish (had a bilingual translation) and although I didn’t know the German, I could read them, deciphering his cryptic, words overloaded with layers and layers of meaning. They are incredibly personal, in fact, and much has been written (Szondi, Gadamer) about the meaning of the Celanesque “Du”, that is “You”. “Du” appears there hundreds of times, testifying about the despaired attempt to link or to find this other being, and this “Du” was very frequently Ingeborg Bachmann herself.

Because the reason those letters are so tremendous is mostly due to Bachmann. Who was always investing more in this affair, and then difficult friendship, who was endlessly patient, careful, delicate, human, ready to give. This book show her as someone, who maybe recognized the weight of this love way too late, and then for the rest of her life was trying to recover from it.

Bachmann is now renowned mostly as a novelist, but she was an astonishing poet as well, her poetry being an examination of damages of war on the culture and possibility of speaking, of expressing human emotions. After becoming a successful writer in the 50s, she disrupted this image, publishing various experimental novels & short stories, and radio plays, that included strong inspiration by Celan. They’ve met when she was nearly 22 and him 28, in a post-war, divided Vienna in 1948, and almost immediately, well, just fell in love with each other (but my hand hesitated whether I can use such a bland expression to describe it). Her a daughter of a Nazi officer, born in 1926 in a very "brown" Klagenfurt, was studying philosophy there, preparing a very critical, as it was to occur, doctoral thesis on Heidegger. He was a man without a land, feeling increasingly alienated and haunted in a former Nazi country.

He leaves quickly for Paris, she stays. They try to meet again, but for some reasons, it doesn’t work out. Their attempt of mutual life end up “a la Strindberg”, in her words. As it occurs quite often, two very individualistic creative personalities are better in tragic loving that in the everyday routine. But there’s something more: he cant forgive her belonging to the culture, who killed his parents, she desperately tries to fulfill his expectations all her life, and finally fails. What is striking sometimes is Celan being demanding to the extremes to see the impossibility of his situation, and at the same time his lack of sensitivity, frequent blindness to anyone else’s traumas or problems than his own, whereas it is Bachmann, who is careful with every word she writes to him. Poverty stricken, she has to devote her time to non-intellectual jobs, starts to write excessively, he, married to a rich family, can mostly devote to the writing. Both of them suffer from numerous breakdowns, with, mostly Bachmann’s, constant trials to sort out their relation. Also, even when he appreciates her poetry, it is always connected with her person, his love to her, her charm etc., as if he was incapable of seeing her as a poet, a writer.

Their relationship was becoming more and more difficult with the years. Celan was suffering increasingly from his illness (it is difficult to say was it a mounting schizophrenia or recurring depression) and one’s own demons can be very possessive sometimes, to the degree they overwhelm and makes us blind to the suffering of the others. After another outburst of feelings and unsuccessful attempt to be together again around 1957, they embarked on a rather dry relation, as far as the letters go. Bachmann was changing, she was experimenting with writing, she published various novels, a cycle called Todesarte, The Arts of Dying, where she was among other things, settling accounts with Holocaust’s legacy in Austria. Also, her attempt to settle after Celan, was always doom-stricken. It seems that she just couldn’t be happy after him. Her white relationship with a gay composer Carl Werner Henze, although the lack of sexual tensions made her very happy, obviously wasn’t a solution, then she started to be with a renowned Swiss writer Max Frisch, an ex-architect, some may be interested to know (the exchange between him and Celan, also included in the tome, gives an incredibly funny tragicomic image of impossible dialogue between harmed, obsessed Jewish poet, seeking consolation after attacks, and a bit humourless, still crazily jealous, overly indulgent with his ego Frisch), who only left her four years later, after what she had to be hospitalized. Relation with Celan was even more harmful, as he was only capable of demanding from her and accepting only total agreement. He never was a help for her. He was too much obsessed with his demons, as Bachmann said, he was always a victim and died as one.

The peak of his deterioration was of course the so called Goll-Affair, when Celan, an increasingly renowned translator, after translating some of Ivan Goll poetry, is accused by his wife of plagiarizing her husband in his own poems. Then there were hostile reviews of his poetry in Germany, where, especially in the infamous Blocker review, he finds strong anti-Semitic undertones. He seeks consolation, mainly from Bachmann’s, she does whatever she can, but the distrust is there and after that Celan does not recover anymore. After several attempts to kill his wife and son put into an institution (what the letters are not saying), then released, he finally commits suicide. “Every day is a burden, what can be called my “health” will never come back, it seems, the damage reaches the very core of my existence…I can be cured only in pieces.” he written briefly before his death to his Israeli friend, an old, late rediscovered youth friend from Czernowitz, Ileana Shmueli (their moving correspondence was published several years ago in French).

This is an excrutiatingly beautiful testimony of few people loving each other. Because there was also Gisele, Celan’s French wife, who did almost everything for him one can do. Her letters to Bachmann, in which she confirms that “she understands” her relation with her husband, are heart breaking. This leads to the most touching letter Bachmann ever wrote to Celan, which remained unsent (like many others), where she concludes: “You are everything to her with your suffering, but she with her suffering would never be enough for you. What injustice.” Read this one and then the real letter that she’d sent to him instead. This captures her infinite delicacy, her turmoil and her consciousness of the delicate balance between them, that, at some point, just didn’t resist. “Je n’ai pas su l’aider come je l’aurais voulu”, “I couldn’t help him the way I wanted”, concluded Gisele informing Bachmann about Celan’s death. This is also a testimony of women whose love is terribly betrayed by the men's egos. And everything fades in a horrible, deadly silence.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Charming coffee drinking young things talking about Wittgenstein

I quite often read readers' reviews on Unlike reviews on Amazon or pretty much everywhere else, they are not exclusively dull, there happens little hilarious eruptions of insight and they present much greater variety of approaches. Having a Sunday of procrastination, as it is, between cooking and reading Dostoyevsky's Devils, not being able to decide, what way of losing the time for working is better, whether to watch Haynes "Safe" (too depressing) or Trotta's Rosa Luxemburg on Youtube (Youtube quality), I suddenly realised that what I should do is to find some japanese-website quality example of no matter which example of my truly favorite genre of cinema, in the guilty pleasure sense: French comedy of manners where they do a fuckin lot of pseudointellectual babble (in French) and occasionally screw. My choice were cast on Arnaud Desplechin's My Sexual Life (Or how I got into an Argument) with wonderfully ugly-handsome and utterly pissing off Mathieu Amalric.

There was (and still exists to some measure) this wonderful genre in French cinema, started probably by New Wave directors - contemporary comedy about over-(usually pseudo, but that's tautology)-intellectualized young people, mainly and not surprisingly - young men, celebrating their immaturity, which is, in wider sense, we are told, supposedly a sign of something more general, the cultural climate, the society, in which they live etc.

This genre exists everywhere, and produced films as different as Francois Truffaut's saga about Antoine Doinel, Jerzy Skolimowski's Trilogy on Andrzej Leszczyc or Keith Waterstone's Billy Liar; Mike Leigh's Naked's eloquent Johnny is their younger brother, of course. Young-ish males engaging into endless disputations and imaginary lives, by the way screwing up lives, theirs and the people around them, whose pursuing the truth may be at the same time pure blague and pure sincerity & authenticism, but it's hard to tell, if at their most authentic they are the most hypocrytical and mendacious, or vice versa. Phd students, bluebirds, pseudeintellectuals, posing, babbling & escaping every form of responsibility - or to the contrary, those, who by their posing uncover the true rottenness of the society around them, maintaining in fact a real, moral and other, purity and innocence?

The cinema and literature is full of them, and they are always young males. If i think about the American cinema, there were few attempts to give them a woman repersentation, but I guess everybody will agree that Winona Ryder weren't very convincing in this role. Hamlet is a man - always a man, and Ophelia must just die. Full stop. There can't be a reversal of those eternal rules. Women are not convincingly depicted as intllectualls or even slackers, in the movies. The best you can get is fucking Juno, but she's a 16 year old in the "smuggest film of all time", as Mark K-Punk once put it. Now Juno's Ellen Page plays parts like utterly flat Ariadne, a labyrinth designer (sic!) in a Christopher Nolan's superproduction Inception, where she helps Leo DiCaprio to get to his blond haired children and a ghost of crazy French wife. apart from her, she's the only female character in this quite populated movie.

But my argument weren't supposed to be in this vein. Sure, there's also no, or very little, great depictions of, say, women's depression in cinema (vide Baumbach's ultra-boring Greenberg), but let's be honest: it's because there's very little, main woman characters in movies as such. Coming back again to so praised in blogger's circles Inception, and incredibly silly business class hi-tech pseudo-Freudian babble, women in this movie can be either desexualised part of the gang or they are crazy, irrational French, cliched beauties.

But this is something every child knows and yawns at. My argument here really weren't supposed to be as dull as pointing out the sexism in world cinema, but the aforementioned French comedy of manners.

In Desplechin's movie, the lovely Paul Dedalus (yes, really), a phd candidate in a subirban university in Paris, engages in one big succession of talking, drinking, flirting, breaking up with girls, messing up with his life, messing up with the lives of others, with his career, talking & talking. For three hours. literally. 173 minutes. Im a conaisseur of reading then the mentioned mixed reviews in my favorite fragment is: "Like Stephen, his problems with writing are linked to his problems with sex. This is a key film of the Young French Cinema, which favours the flat filming of dozens of bright charmless young things drinking coffee and talking about Wittgenstein. Great."

In this case it is exactly how the reviews are saying - all my critique above doesn't change the fact that IT IS very truthful about the young people and IT IS extremely annoying and in places, boring. and probably most of the contemporary, politically aware, intelligent readers of these words, if they have seen the film or even at the sheer description of it, would argue they dont find themselves in a portrait of the 25/35 generation and find it endlessly shallow, vacuous and boring. and who they are, privileged, quite well off, secured, compared to many people, to us even, having the luxury of talking bullshit in Parisian Cafes, while we have crisis, cuts and unemployment, allowing themselves to make problems out of some stupid, vacuous romances and dull dependency between the sexes.

fine. fair enough. but what will you tell me after seeing scenes like this:

or this

dont you find yourself in them, at least in a tiny bit? very tiny? our ridiculousness, the ridiculousness and pointlessnes of our relationships, full of poses, hipocrisy and insincerity? but always, always with a true need to reject all those masks, with a possibility of it lurking somewhere. no, as you can see, the whole thing above was not supposed to put them into derision and through the psychoanalysis or class critique machine.

my favorite commentary is the one under the breaking up fragment: "Wow, French people sure are emotional!!!!!! Wore me out just watching it, can't imagine living like that everyday! Neurotic nonsense!" well, exactly, so what??

because the grandness of those young smug pathetic people is that they are also capable of greatness and that we are great in our weaknesses etc. or something. at least I want to believe it this evening, when I'm watching them.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

That was as far as I could go

Past may be a foreign country, but what if it is a foreign country within a foreign country? Imagine you happen to change your life thoroughly, and you decide to take a huge risk; and then the risk happens to be worth it. I guess then everyone live happily ever after? Not necessarily. When I came to London already as a “girlfriend”, with a plan set that we will visit each other month by month, it felt doubly like having a new start in life. No dry knowledge on England, no studies or reading, made me prepared enough to feel familiar. Suddenly the language I thought I know very well seemed utterly foreign; the conversations blurred, the small details were running away. Used to master and control the reality around me I felt suddenly lost.

I’m not sure how it had started; I was irritatingly impatient, asking questions about everything and losing my temper 50 times a day. O’s stories all seemed rather elusive. Sometimes I wasn’t even asking and the stories were coming out, sometimes I wanted to ask, very, very much, but was too shy to do it or was afraid of his reaction. And when I was listening I had a feeling that a lot stays in between, somehow lost, dressed in lighthearted statements that may cover something of much more heaviness. I realized that even with all the details the stories wouldn’t seem any more real or true to me because this is how memory works. He insisted he was not nostalgic about his past. So can one become nostalgic about the places someone else seems nostalgic about?

Yes, very much so. The fact that we knew each other before from writing paradoxically didn’t help much, because it was a bit one way – I was reading his blog, thinking that in this way I will know things better, but the more I knew, the more lost I felt. Words were alienating me from the experiences I couldn’t share, as if, despite this is how we’ve met each other, internet wasn’t this mystic space of meta-community, or of real sharing. Going from ethereal space of the internet into the real places before I was only reading about was suddenly a bit shocking. Language creates its own reality, that doesn’t have to relate to the flesh and blood reality. Places about which we read don’t necessarily have to really exist. And the detailed descriptions of the places O likes only made me realize more that I’m a stranger to all this.

The knowledge came to me through walking: views, smells, tastes, proven to be much more telling than stories. Already highly mediated through what I’ve read and what I was told, I was trying to forget all that knowledge and subjugate to the sheer specificity of the place. Which, given the aesthetics of the places O was taking me has already become a part of certain cultural industry, could easily transform in its parody. Luckily it didn’t. it seems that the aura, or some kind of black energy may emerge even when we resist it.

London is a mystery to me, a mystery that I know won’t reveal itself any time soon, it will only get worse. I was warned: there’s no chance to fully get to know this city, even after many years. This is probably a part of the charm I should accept and drown myself into rather than feel anxious about. But mixed emotions is my specialty, so I couldn’t resist that.

The irregular rhythm of my visits didn’t help much in getting any stable opinion of a city, which I’m getting to know from a very characteristic perspective, the South East. We live in Greenwich – well, not exactly Greenwich, O would say he lives in Westcombe Park, but the sheer sounding of “Greenwich Peninsula”, a half insular, half land-ish dimension of this piece of ground appeals more to my imagination. In my mind we live in a strange, joli-laid, beautiful-ugly place, which transcends the real official borders of Greenwich, where the park is a wilderness, river is a sea and the fortress of Canary Wharf, the financial centre built on the Isle of Dogs (sic!) is a somber citadel. It is simply a place, where you can be pretty sure you will stumble upon something uncanny. I can imagine that every day I could find there something that would be suitable for this new site, collecting haunted curiosities.

Greenwich, apt to its name is a space with lots of greenery, that is being suddenly interrupted by industrial trash and pollution. Where classic beauty of Wren’s Royal Naval Hospital clashes with the futurism of Millenium Dome area, and where the splendours of the royal park is a neighbour to the ordinariness of Blackheath. No wonder, we are in London, after all. Finally and metaphysically enough, it’s a “zero point of time”, as it were, a Greenwich Meridian space, with the elegant silhouette of the observatory, interestingly used by Conrad in his Secret Agent as a symbolic place of modern terrorism, where an anarchist revolution is to be started and a perfect place to embody “perverse unreason”, as Conrad described it, which “has its own logical processes”. His story was based on a real event of a French anarchist, who was carrying explosives, that accidentally detonated around Observatory:

“But that outrage could not be laid hold of mentally in any sort of way, so that one remained faced by the fact of a man blown to bits for nothing even most remotely resembling an idea, anarchistic or other. As to the outer wall of the Observatory it did not show as much as the faintest crack. I pointed all this out to my friend who remained silent for a while and then remarked in his characteristically casual and omniscient manner: "Oh, that fellow was half an idiot. His sister committed suicide afterwards."

Funnily enough, that was – the park, the hill, the observatory – my very first acquaintance with Greenwich, when I went for a walk there, last Summer. That was as far as I could go not knowing any inhabitant who could take my by the hand and take somewhere more interesting.

Greenwich is not a proper suburbia, it used to be a town, a port, wit a rich history. Not until the end of 19th century it has become a proper part of London. One can feel the independence of this place, that still didn’t assimilate. Being there, I tend not to assimilate too and stick to the place. As a person who spent all her life in a Eastern Bloc concrete city, I crave water: and here I am, gazing at the Thames, that starts to look like a sea. Sitting at the Cutty Sark pub and drinking my pint, I stare at the water, imagining the whole microcosm of the lives lead here. I listen to people. Different on the weekdays, different on the weekends. On the weekdays, in the work hours especially, I like to imagine, that people like me come there: temporarily out of place, in suspension, as if on vacation. If only for an hour or two. I imagine the conversations, not just trying overhear them. I plot the criminal stories. I gaze at the incredible, fantastical figures of gas holders, I scan silos that are to be demolished, one by one. I look at the ancient Woolwich ferry, planning a trip. I imagine one day everything here will be drowning, naturally (won't be calling JG Ballard here, oh no), but Greenwich already looks like it has regressed to some ancient geologic period, after reemerging from the deluge of some sorts in a degraded form, whose the shiny, cold, metallic and ruthless opposite shore of Canary Wharf is also a part of.

Not domesticated

For a short while I thought I want to have an “esthetic” blog, in which I could write/put pictures of my current interests/fascinations, but that proved to be a bummer. I didn’t really feel this, I wasn’t engaging, and first of all I felt that my English wasn’t good enough, and I was too chimerical. And too lazy. First of all I was too lazy.

I’m still a lazy and very melancholic person, but between January, when I last put any “content” to this blog and the present moment, an important thing had happened. This, among other things, makes me to commute a lot to London, where my boyfriend lives. This experience, of staying for weeks in a place that is so different from Warsaw, where I live, turned out to be very intense and highly transformative. For the first time I was somewhere else than home that wasn’t just a place of my vacation; yes, it was a space of temporary existence, but also with certain traces of “stability”; but it wasn’t a place of actually “living” either, because it remains undecided whether we’ll be living together and I still didn’t make a decision of moving from Poland. But exactly because of that, of London being this space infinitely “in between”, a place of non-decision about what it exactly means to me, a non-place of staying and non-staying, of living that is not entirely a “living”, made this experience so powerful. I don’t know for how long I will (or rather we will) continue this mode of being, but the longer it happens, the more it occurs to transform both spaces: my sense of Warsaw and my sense of London – as two intersecting, hybrid spaces of domesticating.

While staying in London, I also discovered, to what extent the space I’m in determines my way of being and thinking. This space being South East London, precisely – Greenwich and few other places, that constitute it. Gradually over the last few months we’ve been exploring this space together. Owen’s impressions can be found on his fantastic blog here. As I was reading his impressions of places I thought I knew so well, they suddenly seemed strangely foreign to me. Little by little it was clarifying for me, that the curious impressions I was collecting over my visits in London also start to constitute certain whole, that is revealing itself for me. What will hopefully follow on this blog will be a very modest try on telling the bits of this ongoing, hybrid, sometimes alienating, sometimes fascinating experience of the attempts to domesticate/get to know/intellectually colonize a space that still remains quite obscure and foreign, but already with traces of familiarity to it.

Thursday, 6 May 2010!

Somebody show me a sexier performance or a sexier performer, I swear, I'm gonna eat my underwear!

Saturday, 3 April 2010

...ich bin so suchtig, ich fuhle mich so Wunderbar...

For now - only clips, accompanying text should follow shortly...

Monday, 11 January 2010

Winter keeps us Warm

Since winter is on everybody's mind now, I'm posting this wonderful short film from 1963 by Geoffrey Jones, on the especially hard work that British Railway workmen had during the severe winter that year. Here the full description from the BFI archives:

Snow was Geoffrey Jones' first film for British Transport Films (BTF) but it owes its existence to a happy twist of fate. In September 1962 Jones began his research for a film about design for the British Railways Board. Armed with a 16mm camera, he travelled throughout the country, shooting film 'notes' of anything he found particularly interesting.

Viewing the footage, Jones was struck by several images of black steam trains churning down the tracks against a glaring white backdrop, and hit upon the idea of making a new, separate film contrasting the comfort of the passengers with the often Herculean efforts of the workmen to keep the trains going in hazardous conditions. On January 31st, 1963 Jones met with BTF head Edgar Anstey. Realising that the film would have to be made quickly or delayed until the following winter, Anstey agreed straightaway and shooting commenced the very next day. Jones and his barebones crew proceeded to chase winter conditions across the country.

Unable to afford his first choice of music, 'Teen Beat' by American Jazz musician Sandy Nelson, Jones had British musician Johnny Hawksworth re-record the tune, expanding it to twice its original length by reducing it to half its original speed at the start and steadily accelerating the tempo over a period of eight minutes to a speed approximately twice as fast as the original. Daphne Oram of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop added various filters.

Viewing Snow can be a hypnotic experience. Jones begins the film with a slow military throb, with the railway station and tracks all but buried beneath a mountain of snow and ice. The pace increases with the workmen's clearing of the tracks, and while the trains barrel through the snow-covered countryside, the music accelerates. The percussive editing between trains and environment reaches a joyous crescendo with a rapid succession of pounding snow, churning pistons, fields of livestock and the ever-present tracks, ending in a wild flourish of percussion.

Snow received at least 14 major awards upon its release, as well an Oscar nomination in 1965. It has been screened around the world and remains a favourite of fans of Geoffrey Jones' work and British Transport Films. Most importantly, this film marked the first full realisation of Jones' signature style, which he would expand upon and refine in subsequent films like Rail (1966), Trinidad and Tobago (1964) and Locomotion (1975).

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Historia de Musica Eletroacustica

a bit overwhelming portion of electroacoustic music, that will probably finally kill my computer:
here and here

Many thanks to the person, who bothered to put this together!

plus a new video of Hildur Gudnadottir via Touch label

Hildur Guðnadóttir "Opaque" from Touch on Vimeo.

Monday, 4 January 2010

Das ist Liebe oder das ist Sex

I should probably start a series: "best dressed band", "with a best hairstyle", "the most respected way of wearing leather trousers by a performer" etc. In this case I have no doubt: DAF is definitely the best dressed and stands for one of the most sexually confident yet ambivalent ones, what's combined with their muscles-cum-leather style, resembling Nazi esthetics & gay fethishism subculture at the same time (which are not so distant from each other, as we know.)

I was planning a post on them for a long time, and I will do it, but since I can't stop listening to Gold und Liebe since last 2 weeks, this is just to shake off my obsessiveness for a bit. They were pioneers of techno and one of the best Neue Deutsche Welle groups. Their album Gold und Liebe, despite coming out in 1981, sounds zillion times more starkly modern and thrilling than most of the contemporary bullshit. Their leather-clad, sex-obsessed image, stark photography and relentlessly minimal electronic music, augmented with thudding, old fashioned drums and disturbingly sexy esthetics delights me. More on that later, I promise.

Neoliberalism for Children

Neoliberalism as Water Balloon from Tim McCaskell on Vimeo.