Wednesday, 21 March 2012
"when the future was still a good idea"
Even if it's old, new Fennesz has to be heard, clearly. Especially if it's old, some might say...
Judgemental nostalgia aside, though (mostly a reaction to last year's hit-&-miss Seven Stars, anyway) , a new oldie - Liquid Music - is deeply beguiling & indisputably prime ("premiered during the Touch tour of 2001, the time of Fennesz’s Endless Summer and the steady movement towards Venice", according to Touch). A buzzing, scratchy fuzz, pinging tones, a restless, pulsing base: & a whole vastly more than the sum of the parts.
Oh, & it comes as a USB stick "in velvet string bag". Even without the object porn dimension, though, Liquid Music would stand out among this year's releases - & tower over many. Hear a clip of its ebbing, bobbing riches below.
Also feast below on the affecting bonus remix of Shift, Seven Stars' outstanding moment.
& finally here's a 10-hour Spotify playlist for your inner train-spotter...
fennesz wozencroft - Liquid Music [excerpt]
Liquid Music was made in 2001, in conjunction with the music Christian Fennesz was developing during that fertile period when the future was still a good idea. The first version – this is it – was premiered during the Touch tour of 2001, the time of Fennesz’s Endless Summer and the steady movement towards Venice.
The footage for Liquid Music originates from Prague, Paxos, Crete, Cephalonia, Messinia, London and one short clip from Monterey Bay. It was filmed on Hi–8 and mini–DV between 1995 and 2001. The main idea was to film everything through the lens, with no post production other than the compilation of many years work into a coherent whole. Fennesz’s music, and its ascendent quality, made that a pleasure. The optical quality is on the cusp between analogue and digital resolution. In many respects it’s an exchange of values as much as working methods.
I feel it’s one of the best works we did in the last 10 years. The Brighton concert, where the audio comes from, was a key moment on the Touch 2001 tour. The PA was Loud. Everything worked. The film, as on all nights, was played in parallel, it is not sync’d in the conventional sense. Every time is was shown it was different. On this night, the second night of the tour, the audience was shocked in a way that shock rarely happens these days.
This very same year, industry experts got together in California to set the MPEG compression codes for DVD mastering. MPEG4 algorithms basically sample 3 frames out of the PAL 25 frames-per-second standard, and interpolate, which is OK if you’re trying to get a drama onto a DVD, but hopeless if the film involves very fast movement and transitions. Liquid Music is in some respects a laptop response to the celluloid flicker film from the 1960s – Paul Sharits, Tony Conrad, Stan Brakage – Peter Kubelka’s Arnulf Rainer. We tried everything Soho facilities houses had to offer but there was no way the film was going to master accurately onto the DVD format.
The movement of water is a difficult thing to film, and to sonify. For years the only way Liquid Music could be shown was either as a live projection or a dedicated screening – these have taken place at Tate Modern, the BFI, Austria, Hungary, Germany... Ten years later, the satisfactory outcome is to see what it looks like on an iPad or an iPhone, and then to imagine it on the big screen.
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