A while ago I watched The Graduate, and then completely by chance a few days later I watched Jackie Brown. Now these are two films that I wouldn’t assume to have much in common, and so I was quite surprised to find that they have virtually the exact same opening sequence.
As the titles run in The Graduate we have a few minutes of Dustin Hoffman standing on airport conveyorbelt walkway.
And for the bening of Jackie Brown, the title character is again in that same situation, framed the same way for one long take.
Now if I was a film scholar I would hypothesise about this homage, about the thematic similarities of these films, and how the different use of colour and music reflects the different developments of the central characters… But since I’m not a film scholar and don’t really know much about either film, I’ll just conclude that, you know, Tarantino’s just that kinda guy. Yea, that seems a pretty good conclusion to me.
Ok, so maybe I was a little too harsh in my last post. Steve Reich got it right when he wrote piano phase, and it turns out that using 100 pianos really wouldn’t work (not to mention that a piece for 100 pianos would (probably) never ever be performed live).
After making a connection between Ligeti’s Poème Symphonique, and Reich’s phase music, I thought I’d quickly try and see what it would sound like if 100 pianos were phasing with eachother. What I did in fact was (very approximately) recreate Poème Symphonique in Logic, but replacing the single tick of a metronome with the opening melody of Piano Phase. This was far closer to the Ligeti that the Reich original, since the melodies never fall back into the same pulse, but the 100 pianos continue throughout at their own speed and gradually fade out or stop as if they were mechanical metronomes.
Well you can hear the results of this little experiment here:
It’s rather noisy all the way through and only right near the end does it become possible to define individual melodies, and this only goes to show why both original pieces work so well as they are. Piano Phase relies on only two pianos to be able to focus in on the hazy effect of very gradual phasing. Whilst the individual pulses of Poème Symphonique can be quite discernible even quite early on in the piece, and would be indistinguishable if any more complex than a simple click.
Yesterday I went to a concert of piano music at the Cardiff University Concert Hall. It featured several postgraduate students playing an eclectic mix of 20th century music.
The really unusual thing about this concert though, was that it also had a performance of Ligeti’s Poème Symphonique for 100 metronomes. This is a wonderfully silly and noisy piece of theatre, which produces quite possibly the most complicated polyrhythms ever. Its a wonder that a few years after this piece was composed, Steve Riech would get such credit for making a mere two instruments to play at different speeds – one hundred pianos phasing is what I want.
For this performance they placed the metronomes all around the hall (as you can see in the picture above) and it was a really interesting experience. Although in future performances, I will have to remember to leave before being roped into helping pack away the hundred solitary metronomes into individual boxes.
Anyway, here’s a recording from the YouTubes, that’s well worth a watch:
The Oscar nominations for short animated film was always something of a non-catagory for me. I’d seldom heard of any of the titles, and even if I had, the chances of getting to see one were pretty slim. Occasionally, if a british film was nominated, and it had been partially funded by the BBC or Channel 4, then there might be one or two brief broadcasts if you were lucky enough to catch them.
This year however, I was surprised to realise that of the many categories of Oscar nominations, the only one for which I’d seen all nominated films, was the animated shorts category. Thanks to numerous shared links on blogs and facebook, it was quite easy to catch them all. I will admit that I didn’t take too long to check if all these links were ‘officially authorised’; but I assume they are for the simple fact that the one film that did receive BBC funding and a broadcast is well protected, and not available online.
Anyway, the links are bellow if you want to see for yourself. (They’re all worth a watch, although my personal favourite would probably have to be Logorama.)
Hopefully it will soon be overflowing with bloggy goodness! Although at this point I really can’t help but admit to the fact that it may fall into a dormant state of forgotten intentions… and my dream of a cornucopia of internet ramblings, may all too soon turn into a desolate wasteland of broken links. All we can do now is wait and see.
(phew, its over…. – the introductory post is always the worst….)