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Du durchsuchst gerade das Archiv des Monats November 2017.

Archiv: November 2017

2017 30 Nov

Morals and Movies

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Last night I went to see Detroit, the new film by Kathryn Bigelow (aka the only woman to receive an Academy Award as a director in 89 years of Oscar history, which is why she is sometimes referred to as the most successful female director in history). I have seen almost all of her films, and I really like her body of work, I think she is a brilliant director. She is not only a storyteller or a movie director, but also a film artist, which I could at length constitute by talking about Zero Dark Thirty, which, in my opinion, was generally critized for the wrong issues.

I just read an article in The New Yorker, in which the author makes some statements that are definitely well worth discussing. Detroit is applaudably and masterfully directed, including the collaboration with cinematographer Barry Ackroyd who should at least get an Academy Award nomination for his work on this film. [As a side note, however, it should be considered a scandal if the award for best cinematography will not be given to Roger Deakins for Blade Runner 2049, considering this phenomenal director of photographer has been nominated 13 times so far, without receiving the award once; I think no-one has been nominated more often unsuccessfully. (Emmanuel Lubezki just received the award three times in a row.)] The visuals and the storytelling in Detroit are captivating from start to end, and the film provides for such an intense experience that at one point I was close to leaving the cinema, because I felt I could not bear it any longer; I don’t remember if that ever happened to me before. Maybe once.

In a way, that is actually what the article in The New Yorker, titled „The Immoral Artistry of Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit“ discusses and critizes at length about the movie. These thoughts are far from being new ones. At film school, we discussed them in the first year of our studies, starting with documentaries from the 1920s, and I remember discussing them again in a directing workshop in a later year of my studies: It was Jacques Rivette who famously raised the question in the June 1961 edition of Le Cahiers du cinéma, in his essay „On Abjection“ about Pontecorvo’s Kapò. Rivette’s argumentation specifically referred to a tracking shot in that film, where Emmanuelle Riva in her portrayal of a concentration camp prisoner throws herself onto an electric barbed wire, and this suicide is emphasized – to enhance the action’s emotional and dramatic storytelling effect – by a tracking towards her, from a low perspective, an aestheticization of death. Rivette called this a „cinematic obscenity“, „voyeurism“ and „pornography“ and argued that this approach should be despised – and that the atrocities of the Holocaust are not suitable for a film of fiction. Other film critics have also commented on this, stating that it is the unnecessary love story which spoils the generally powerful film.

 
 
 

"Kapò" by Gillo Pontecorvo (camera: Aleksandar Sekulovic), 1960

 
 
 

Back to Detroit, about which it is easy to point out a very similar criticism. So I recommend reading Richard Brody’s essay (which I mostly disagree with). The same comments have been made about Spielberg’s Schindler’s List, maybe rightly so, and at the time I was watching Detroit, I actually did expect these criticisms would surely made by film critics about the film. I am only somewhat surprised to see them coming from an American magazine instead of from one in Germany, where „based on a true story“ movies with fictionalized elements are frequently being condemned by critics for their lack of historic accuracy (examples abound).

I would argue against Brody’s essay that it is sanctimonious of him to set the premise „Movies aren’t made with intentions“ as a starting point for his line of argumentation. I’d say that is nonsense – in particular as later in his text he reaches the conclusion that Kathryn Bigelow would not express an opinion with her film. That kind of writing is one of the main reasons why I often have difficulties with film critics. Critics often pursue their own agenda, which is a different one than the filmmakers‘ intentions, and they seem to enjoy doing that. I also read this very interesting interview with the director (German only, sorry), where she says (among many other interesting statements), „I don’t understand how one cannot denounce white supremacy. It is more than bewildering and disgraceful.“ [Please excuse my translation of the original interview’s German translation back into English.]

 
 
 

Photographer unknown. Source: writingstudio.co.za

 
 
 

Does the New Yorker author act stupid on purpose or does he actually have no clue about what goes on on a movie set, when he imagines over two or three paragraphs what went on in the mind(s) of the filmmaker(s) during the making of these tense scenes? Well, it would of course make some sense, if he expanded the same critical statements to Quentin Tarantino or to any Hollywood director who directs a horror film (which, by the way, I would argue, Detroit could be counted as) or a thriller. Or almost any fictional movie, for that matter, regardless of whether there was a „true story“ which inspired it. Even about The Act of Killing, which is generally counted as one of the most important films of this century. I have to assume that the author, to come to his conclusion, deliberately misdescribes the work processes the filmmakers and actors went through. Which is why I cannot take his criticism seriously.

Nevertheless, I find Brody’s points in the earlier parts of his essay interesting enough, when he says that Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal are dealing with the story with too much of an outsider’s view: They, in the first part of the movie, „treat the black residents of Detroit, whose lives they dramatize, as an indiscriminate mass of people.“ However, the movie as a whole piece of work – as a piece of art even – puts that in context, and I really like the unconventional way they decided to take to tell their story, in several chapters with varying means of storytelling and ways of execution. (They went for a somewhat similar chapter-like approach in Zero Dark Thirty.) You can’t simply judge the first chapter of the film, even if the indisputably masterful visual directing in that „authentic style“ can be debated. Bigelow justifies that (possibly) distanced pseudo-documentary view – or semi-documentary, if you count the authentic snippets of film she included – of hers an „outsider“ (as not being a member of the black residents of Detroit, as a white narrator not having been involved in the actual events) with the rousing way she tells the story passionately and emphatically after its opening chapter. I don’t think you can criticize her at the same time for using distancing narrative techniques and exploitation. I think that is hypocritical.

 

It was yesterday, after my return from Prague, that a record waited for me to be played. The musicians: Brian Blade, drums, Jon Cowherd, piano, harmonium, mellotron, Chris Thomas, bass, Melvin Butler, tenor saxophone, Myron Walden, alto saxophone and bass clarinet, Dave Devine, guitar. Dave Devine wouldn‘t be my favourite name, if I were a guitar player :) The whole group is a long time affair and its full name is Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band. „Body and Shadow“ is the title, some critics miss the body, dislike the shadows. This fantastic album is full of quiet textures, carefully dosed outbursts, folk- and gospel-tinged laments that all rise from the deep bottom of a well called fucked-up America, a land that has never really entered the stage of a „post rassistic“ era. Thank you for these thirty-something blue minutes, fellows – all bodies fully awake, all shadows (slowly) dancing!

 

2017 30 Nov

Coltrane

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„Sometimes I’m feeling like Brooce Swayne on my jet plane,
sipping champagne listening‘ to some Coltraine …“

(Screaming Headless Torsos)

 

Eine Dokumentation über sein Leben liess das Gesamtwerk in persönlichem und geschichtlichen Kontext noch einmal neu erscheinen, brachte mehr Klarheit ins Halbdunkel eines bis dato nur ungefähren Wissens. Wie das oft so ist: es macht ja Spass, manchen Dingen von Interesse auch nach Jahren und Jahrzehnten nachträglich genauer auf den Grund zu gehen. Auch wenn die Evidenz einstiger spiritueller Erfahrung, damals auch einem gewissen Zeitgeist angehörend, heute doch stark verblasst ist: noch einmal auferstandene vergangene Atmosphären machten Lust, Kulu Se Mama oder A Love Supreme erneut zu hören – diesmal im Mitschwingen des Wissens um den persönlichen und historischen Hintergrund des Künstlers. John Coltrane war ein beeindruckender Mensch. Dies zeigte nicht zur besten Sendezeit das öffentlich-rechtliche Fernsehen, sondern wieder einmal dieses verflixte Netflix, mitten im medialen Strudel des 21st century streaming.

 

Okay, here is a quick list.
 

  1. Fleet Foxes: Crack-Up
  2. Anouar Brahem: Blue Maqam
  3. Björn Meyer: Provenance
  4. Faber: Sei ein Faber im Wind
  5. 3TM: Form
  6. Kenrick Lamar: Damn.
  7. Julian Lage & Chris Eldridge: Mount Royal
  8. The XX: I See You
  9. Stein Urheim: Utopian Tales
  10. The War on Drugs: A Deeper Understanding
  11. Jeb Loy Nichols: Country Hustle
  12. Thundercat: Drunk

 

13: Honorary Mentions I: The records I listened to most often / deeply in 2017 were reissues or discoveries: Midori Takada’s „Through the Looking Glass“, Radiohead’s „OK Computer“, John Martyn’s „Solid Air“ and „Avocet“ by Bert Jansch.

14: Honorary Mentions II: Favourite Songs were „Abraham“ (Miles Mosley), „Thinking of a Place“ (War on Drugs), „Nichts“ (Faber), „On Hold“ (The XX), „Tökkö“ (Mopo), „Bone Collector“ (Lage & Eldridge), and any song from „Solid Air“.

2017 29 Nov

The Stamp Thing

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Yesterday at the post office.
 

Me: Please, could you give me ten global stamps?

Lady behind the counter: Do you eat deer meat?

Me: Sorry, I didn’t understand …?

Lady behind the counter: Deer meat. Do you eat that?

Me: Deer meat? No. Do you have some leftovers you want to get rid of, or why do you ask?

Lady behind the counter: Where do you come from? Are you from England?

Me: No, I’m from Hamburg, Germany.

Lady behind the counter: You have an English accent.

Me: That’s fine. I need ten global stamps. Do you sell them here?

Lady behind the counter (to her colleage at the next counter): Do you have global stamps left?

Lady behind the next counter (rummages around a while and finally finds some. Hands them over.)

Lady behind the counter: Elevenfifty. Thanks. Have a great day!

Me: Same to you, thanks.

 
Must be American humor.

2017 29 Nov

„Time in a Bottle“

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2017 29 Nov

Karin sagte, du brauchst keine Angst haben

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Wir fuhren durch eine strahlende Winterallee, geblendet vom Schnee, aber Sylvia gab mir eine Sonnenbrille aus dem Handschuhfach. In diesen südlichen Stadtbezirken waren wir selten unterwegs, und sie erinnerte mich, dass hier in der Nähe Karin ein kleines Winterfest veranstalte. Ich hatte meine geschätzte Kollegin aus den nicht so wilden Neunzigern in Erinnerung: einmal rollten wir über einen alten Perser, und spielten, als ich in ihr und unter ihr war, our „favourite game“, wer zuerst kommt, gehört dem andern. Ich bin gut im Zurückhalten, aber gegen ihre tantrischen Tricks und silbernen Fusskettchen (mein einziger Fetisch, sie wusste es) hatte ich wenig auszurichten, und musste den Rest des Tages Liebesdienste verrichten, mit einem Dauerständer, und ausgefüllten Einkaufszetteln. Sie war noch besser im Bett als Klaudia von der Milchstrasse, aber zum Glück war es keine Liebe, keine Obsession, nur ein Spiel ohne Blumen. Kaum ein Bluesakkord, dass wir uns bald aus den Augen verloren. Sylvia hielt vor einer grossen Villa mit ausgebauter Dachterasse und einem Garten, der von der Südküste Dorsets importiert schien. Und schon kam Karin vors Haus, begrüsste uns mit irritierender Lässigkeit. Ich blickte überhaupt nicht durch, und bediente mich erstmal am Früchtekorb in der durchgestylten Küche. Nach und nach wurden uns die Gäste vorgestellt, von denen mir einige bekannt vorkamen, wie Begegnungen aus lang zurück liegenden Jahren, die einst die Entscheidung probten zwischen Freundschaft und Flüchtigkeit, und sich für letzteres entschieden. Und dann erkannte ich Susanne, die einmal eine ganze Strasse mit über 150 Hausnummern abgelaufen war, um mich zu einer Paella und einmaligem Bettgeflüster einzuladen. Sie fand mich aber nicht, und so gab es weder das eine noch das andere. Sie war verkleidet, aber ich hatte sie nach einer Serie prüfender Blicke unter dem französischen Pagenpony identifiziert. Susi war mit ihrem Freund dort, der kurz zuvor Spanien vom Baskenland bis Barcelona durchquert hatte, sein langer Bart war echt, nur seine falschen Augenbrauen zupfte er ab, und wir erinnerten uns an ein Konzert von Nico in Bochum, ein gutes Jahr, bevor sie auf Ibiza tot vom Rad stürzte. Karin führte Sylvia und mich in ihr Schlafgemach, und gab mir ein Zeichen, es gut sein zu lassen, und mit Susanne eine neue Paella in Angriff zu nehmen. Sie gab meiner Reisegefährtin ein Zeichen, sich auf das Futon zu legen, zu den bunten Decken und den brennenden Kerzen. Sie steckte zwei Finger in den Mund von Sylvia, die ihren Blick schon seit geraumer Zeit von mir abgewendet hatte, und als Sylvia leise stöhnend einen Song von Jim Croce begleitete, zog ich mich zurück. Karin sagte, du brauchst keine Angst haben, das war das letzte, was ich hörte, bevor ich mich auf einer Matratze im grossen Wohnzimmer niederliess. Ich blickte auf den englischen Garten, und wies einen Fremden zurück, der mir die Hose öffnen wollte. Ich hatte eine weitaus bessere Idee, ging in den Garten, zog mich in der bibbrigen Kälte aus, und sprang in den körperwarmen Swimmingpool, aus dessen Nebelschwaden sich kurzzeitig amazonische Figuren aus Fleich und Blut schälten. Ich begrüsste eine Gestalt nach der andern, heiter und voller Selbstvergessen, mit einer Kanadierin namens Cameron sang ich die Zeilen eines alten Lieblingsliedes: „People come and go and forget to close the door and leave their stains and cigarette butts trampled on the floor and when they do remember me remember me“.

2017 28 Nov

Wolframs Top 20

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Meine TOP 20 / 2017
 

  1. Rotem Sivan Trio – Antidote
  2. Andre Cymone – 1969
  3. Angie Keilhauer – Now hear this
  4. Randall Thompson – Symphony No.3
  5. Szymon Laks – Chamber Works
  6. William Alwyn – String Quartet No.10-13
  7. Japanese Breakfast – Soft Sounds from another Planet
  8. Danish String Quartett – Last Leaf
  9. Dauwd – Theory of Colours
  10. Kelly Lee Owens – Kelly Lee Owens
  11. Tyshawn Sorey -Verisimilitude
  12. Arve Henriksen – Toward Language
  13. Josef Suk – Asrael
  14. Omer Klein – Sleepwalkers
  15. Cold Cut & On-U-Sound – Outside the Echo Chamber
  16. Richard H.Kirk – Dasein
  17. Grizzly Bear – Painted Ruins
  18. MuZiek a Singe – Ècouter voir
  19. Colin Vallon – Danse
  20. Jens Schöning – Nocturne

 
… und als SPECIAL GIMMICK Jazzpiano aus dem Jahr 2016
 

  1. Nick Bärtsch’s Mobile – Continuum
  2. David Helbock Trio – Into the Mystic
  3. Wolfert Brederode Trio – Black Ice
  4. Frank Kimbrough – Solstice
  5. Joachim Kühn – Beauty & Truth
  6. Kenny Barron – Book of Intuition
  7. Glauco Venier – Miniatures
  8. Alexander von Schlippenbach – Jazz now
  9. Younee – My Piano
  10. Turn – Waiting for Fred
  11. Michael Wollny – Klangspuren
  12. Julia Kadel Trio – Über und Unter
  13. Jon Balke – Warp
  14. Misabumi Kikuchi – Black Orpheus
  15. Lars Duppler – Naked
  16. Yves Theiler – Dance in a triangle

2017 28 Nov

Internal note

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Dear Manafonistas,

helpful and for some of us also trust-building changes in the wordpress-settings of our blog are on their way (thanks to technical supervisor Karsten): from now on all Manafonistas own equal wordpress access right as an „editor“ and are able to create and correct resp. rearrange their contributions or left comments.

Possibilities to delete postings of other authors in the future will no longer exist. In case the MHQ does some neccessary design arrangement or formal corrections of your article that you might dislike: objections are welcome anytime, same is the asking for an eventually needed technical support.

best wishes for all,
JS

 
mail: manafonistas@gmx.de

  • John Abercrombie – Up and coming
  • Björn Meyer – Provenance
  • Frisell / Morgan – Small Town
  • Chris Potter – The Dreamer is the Dream
  • Aaron Parks – Find The Way
  • Ralph Towner – My Foolish Heart
  • Scofield / Medeski / Holland / DeJohnette – Hudson
  • Allan Pasqua – Northern Lights
  • Anouar Brahem – Blue Maqams
  • McCandless/Taylor / Balducci – Evansiana
  • Trio Mediaeval with Arve Henriksen – Rimur
  • Tigran Hamyasan- Ancient Observers
  • Fleet Foxes – Crack up
  • Mike McGinnis – Recurring Dream (with Art Lande and Steve Swallow)
  • Oregon – Lantern
  • Yelena Eckimoff – In the Shadow of a Cloud
  • Alex Cline – Oceans of Vows
  • Tartovsky Quartet – Nuit Blanche
  • Arve Henriksen- Towards Language
  • Benedikt Jahnel – The Invariant
  • Vijay Iyer Sextet- Far From Over

 

Reissues

  • Beatles Sgt Pepper bluray audio box
  • special mention: Django Bates-A Salute to Sgt Pepper

Old music: first time release:

  • Bill Evans – Another Time (excellent recording and performance!)

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