subota, 19. rujna 2015.

Stan Neumann - Austerlitz (2015)

austerlitz film

"Ne toliko ekraniziracija Austerlitza, koliko film o knjizi."


In her essay on the late German author W.G. Sebald, Susan Sontag began with the question: “Is literary greatness still possible?” The answer was undoubtedly yes, and she went on to describe the brilliant way in which Sebald mixed fact and fiction in a series of books that tackled Europe’s destructive past through the melancholic peregrinations of a narrator – often the author himself.
Sebald’s final novel, Austerlitz, which came out the year of his death, is now the subject of a very Sebaldien film adaptation by Paris-based Czech director Stan Neumann, with Leos Carax regular Denis Lavant (Holy Motors) playing the titular hero. Revisiting the book’s portrayal of memory, loss, creation and devastation through narrative techniques – photographs, archives and meta-fictions – that mimic the original text, Neumann crafts a worthy homage to a modern literary giant that should find fest, museum and niche art house play after an opening slot at the Cinema du Reel festival.
Published in 2000, the novel combined many of the author’s favored themes into a single character: Austerlitz (Lavant), a wandering scholar obsessed with 19th century architecture and susceptible to bouts of depression, who gradually uncovers the truth about his past – one that’s inexorably linked to the destruction of World War Two.
Both the novel and the movie take us through Europe’s shattered history, with stops in Brussels, Greenwich, Antwerp, Marienbad, Prague and Paris, though the film takes an additional meta-step by making Sebald himself another subject of the story. Beginning with Neumann describing how he first came upon the novel, and featuring scenes where he dissects the author’s prose (and discovers some heavy borrowing from Marcel Proust, Franz Kafka and Walter Benjamin), Austerlitz is not so much a filmed book as it is a film about a book, breaking down the walls that divide documentary and fiction, just as Sebald blurred the lines between the two in his writing.
It’s an austere technique that may put off viewers who prefer either one genre or the other, but it soon offers its rewards as we follow Austerlitz through his many digressions and obsessions – with train stations, hidden doorways, bricked-up windows and ornate facades – until he arrives at the heart of his tale, and we learn how seemingly intellectual preoccupations would lead him to unearth the dark secrets of his own life. Again one-upping the book, Neumann inserts details of his personal history during these latter sections, blending the film's auteur with the novel's author and character.
Reciting Sebald’s text directly to the camera, Lavant gives one of his typically physical performances, portraying a delirious savant who oscillates between fascination and desperation as he digs up various cultural artifacts that resonate with his past. Neumann inserts lots of the photos featured in the original book – one of the trademarks of Sebald’s style – while adding a few more elements, including footage from a propaganda film made by the Nazis at the Theresienstadt concentration camp.
While the mix of photographs and moving pictures is nothing new (there are moments in Austerlitz that recall the work of Chris Marker), Neumann uses the voice of Sebald to give his imagery a particular weight, even if the HD lensing (by Ned Burgess) can sometimes feel too crisp compared to the rest of the material. The result is perhaps the closest one can get to reading the original text – ever-respectful of the writer’s words while cleverly, and movingly, translating them to the big screen.
- Jordan Mintzer


petak, 11. rujna 2015.

Phil Minton - A Doughnut’s End (2015)

Ljudski glasovi su najdobronamjerniji izvanzemaljci koje smo dosad otkrili. I boluju od Parkinsonove bolesti.

"Many of the sounds on the album’s 15 short tracks are unpleasant, but they’re all the more powerful for it. This work is in no way deprived of wonder, and you have to marvel at the breadth of what Minton can do. “Breaking News” bleeds from high pitched warbling to multiphonic density, the throat pushed to the weirdest limits of its potential. “There’s A Reason” reprises this sonic field, almost electronic in texture, while “Set In Stone” takes these techniques and flirts with the operatic. “Grandish”, the album’s final track, works through a series of high pitched peeps that could come from an as yet unidentified beast." - Matt Krefting

"Things flap and billow a bit more than they used to, which Minton accentuates in the formation of starker, more striking vocal shapes – unstable vibratos, phlegmy belching baritones. What if it isn’t volume and clear articulation that renders a voice audible amongst the masses, but visceral wordless eccentricity?" - Jack Chuter, ATTN Magazine
At times barely more than breathing, at others breaking into full-throated song, A Doughnut's End is a highly concentrated sequence of solo improvisations that captures the full range of Minton's vocal powers.
As he says in the accompanying notes, while there is continuity between this record and previous "doughnut" albums, this latest offering is "less optimistic than forty years ago" when he still "thought stuff would get better", an optimism diminished by the continued political dominance of "slush-spraying doughnut-scoffers".
A Doughnut's End is a stark and affecting testament to one man's ongoing exploration of the potential of the human voice.

Phil Minton is best known for his startling vocal improvisations. On his new solo CD, this sensible looking man proffers 37 thin slices of his unfettered soul. Not long ago these croaks, burps, high-pitched exhalations, deep-throated drones and shreds of garbled half-language would have seen Minton either burnt or hailed as an emissary of God. - Stewart Lee

Minton’s range on this disc [A Doughtnut in One Hand] runs from the sounds of a man choking on his own vomit to the sounds that grandpa makes when you finally decide to pull the plug on his respirator. He’s like a little kid who’s contact-miked himself playing yo-yo with his saliva… Minton forces us to ponder the musical qualities of noises that we’d rather not deal with and for that fact alone, makes this an important recording…- Kenneth Goldsmith

There’s a lot to be made of 2015’s crop of vocal music, especially given how widely that descriptor could be applied. From the timbral madness of C. Spencer Yeh’s extended technique all the way through to the auto-tuned euphoria of Sicko Mobb, the voice has been pushed, pulled, and expanded beyond the reaches of human capability, delivering incisive music across a number of genres and disciplines. The abstraction of that most ubiquitous and instinctive of musical instruments has been a pivotal part of what this year has sounded like to these ears: the impossible made possible, the future now, the distinction between man and machine collapsing. To put it in a Baudrillardian sense: “Technology evolves, language changes, the voice breaks, fate overtakes us.”
Phil Minton has been exploring the liminality of the human voice for the best part of four decades, with a series of solo records (the “doughnut” albums) beginning in 1982. He is described as a singer in the biography on his website, but his latest solo work, A Doughnut’s End, bears little semblance to any traditional notion of song. Utilizing a number of unorthodox techniques — utterances, gasps, belches, whistles, etc. — Minton has forged an alternative lexicon, one that seemingly forgoes the constraints of tradition and language. The result is a perverse, evocative set, the kind of performance that forces a reaction and demands attention be paid to it — music that has the power to cause unrest and revulsion in the listener.
It’s a simplistic observation, but what really sets A Doughnut’s End apart from much of the year’s vocal-centric music is the lack of mechanical or scientific enhancements; which is to say, no autotune, no cutting or looping, no overdubs. Therein lies a paradoxically human aspect to the album: Minton’s methods undoubtedly register as anachronistic, and the sheer breadth of sounds produced here — the high-pitched warble of “this is a good place to stay” and the multiphonic gurgling in both “breaking news” and “there’s a reason” are two noteworthy examples — lie firmly outside of the typical functions of the throat and mouth. And yet, the lone voice placed front and center offer a vulnerability that manifests itself in the numerous imperfections with the recording itself (pauses for breath, audible straining to reach notes at both extremities). An air of fragility lingers throughout, a reminder that even Minton’s finely honed, idiosyncratic delivery is all too susceptible to the inevitable pitfalls of existence.
The “doughnut” records were never merely concerned with physical limitations, however. For all the vocal acrobatics and constant striving to take the voice into uncharted territory, there has been an emotional core in each successive album — namely, one that animates inward feelings of disgust and contempt. In the accompanying notes to A Doughnut’s End, Minton talks of the thread that ties his experimental tendencies to the world around him:
On some tracks I use voice placings and constraints for improvising that I’ve been involved with since A Doughnut in Both Hands[…] but less optimistic than forty years ago. Then I thought stuff would get better. I’m writing this a few days after a bunch of slush-spraying doughnut-scoffers got to run the UK for another five years.”
A Doughnut’s End, then, captures an ineffable resentment, albeit with an obliquely humorous edge. Maybe Minton’s native tongue fails to fully conceive of this. But then again, this is the same man who has a track called “i have given this much more thought than blair did before he decided to invade iraq.” The primal outpouring of A Doughnut’s End is all-consuming, and without language to dirty the proceedings, it is as much a personal meditation as it is a display of pure virtuosity. - Soe Jherwood

O HOW WE  Listen on Bandcamp

“Joyous and jubilant, now I go better on my way”
The Feral Choir project is a series of vocal workshops with non-professionals, leading up to performances. It originated in the late 1980′s when I was asked to do some workshops with ‘non-singers’ in the Musik Centrum Stockholm. The success of these led me to develop the idea further. The choir consists of a three day workshop and performance, not only for singers but for anyone who takes a delight in the freedom to experiment. I encourage participants to take a vocal leap and explore all vocal possibilities through exercises and improvisations, over the workshop period, leading to a concert.
Feral Choir workshops and performances have subsequently been held in many different places around the world including Berlin, Centre for Performance Research Cardiff, Musickzentrum Munich, Tokyo, Angelica Bologna, City Festival Lausanne, Institute for Living Voice Antwerp, Baltimore, Nante, Brest, Oxford, Paris, Oakland, Melbourne, St. Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Bristol, Pau, Florence, Le Man, Trondheim, Rotterdam, Ghent, Zurich, Nancy Vandoeuvre, Poitiers, London, Amsterdam, Warsaw, Brugge, Strasbourg, and Aberystwyth.
Some of the choirs have been made up of professionals, sometimes actors and musicians, but many have been amateur groups with no previous musical interest or experience. These have been particularly rewarding, as has the work with teenagers in Belgium and Holland, and the responses from the participants have been overwhelmingly positive.
My recent experience of working with singers, many of whom think they cannot sing, has strengthened my conviction that the human voice is capable of so much more than is generally understood. In the workshops I have encouraged participants to realise that anyone who can breathe, is capable of producing sounds that give a positive aesthetic contribution to the human condition and many of these contributions are without any cultural influences or references.
The workshops normally begin with laughter, a non-verbal ‘vocal technique’ which uses the voice in spontaneous, inventive and sometimes very extreme way. I know that these workshops have a very positive impact on the participants, and I spend enough time with each group to be able to leave a lasting ‘legacy’ and hopefully a structure in which the resulting choir can continue after I have left.
Some of the comments from previous Feral Choir participants are as follows:
  • “You have let the sun enter into my head”
  • “Thank you for the most fantastic experience to let us express ourselves in this way”.
  • “A new heart in my voice”.
  • “You and your work brings happiness (and other great things) to people”
“After singing with the feral choir I felt elated and alive. My voice felt bigger afterwards, and I find myself still appreciating how much it can do.”
I hope that the workshops and performances will offer a similar experience to the many often ‘voiceless’ people who participate.

One of the greatest pleasures of the album [Glad Day] is the opportunity it brings to once again hear the remarkable vocalist Phil Minton. Minton is the most thrilling singer we have, with a messianic passion so fierce that his performances glow as brightly as Blake’s own tyger. - Phil Johnson

  • sr310

    By the Stream

    Phil Minton / Audrey Chen
    Listen Online 
  • anicca


    Dancing Wayang Records
    Okkyng Lee & Phil Minton
  • ndih

    No Doughnuts in Hand

    Emanem records
    Phil Minton
  • alived

    Alive at sonorités with Daunik Lazro

    Phil Minton: Voice Daunik Lazro: Saxophone
  • tasting

    Tasting with Sophie Agnel

    Another Timbre
    Phil Minton: Voice, Sophie Agnel: Piano
  • wow

    Ways Out East – Ways Out West with Veryan Weston

    Intakt records
    Phil Minton: Voice, Veryan Weston: Piano, Organ, Voice
  • slur


    Emanem records
    Phil Minton Quartet – Phil Minton, Roger Turner, John Butcher, Veryan Weston
  • ammo


    1998 Re release 2006
    Leo records
    Phil Minton, Roger Turner
  •  1.0.3

    Phil Minton Quartet with Lars Göran Ulander

    Blue Tower Records
    Phil Minton (trumpet & voice), Lars Lars Göran Ulander (altosax), Lars Gunnar Gunnarson (bass), Sten Oberg (drums)
    Track #1 – Day

    A clip from Track #2 – Blue Reading 1

  • moe

    Mouthful of Ectasy

    Victo records
    Phil Minton Quartet – Phil Minton, Roger Turner, John Butcher, Veryan Weston
  • doughnuts

    A Doughnut in one hand

    FMP Online
    Phil Minton
  • dadadas

    Dada Da

    Leo records
    Phil Minton / Roger Turner
  • sfpd

    Songs From A Prison Diary

    Leo records
    Phil Minton and Veryan Weston
    A clip from Track #10 Noon
  • drainage


    Emanem records
    Phil Minton voice / Roger Turner percussion
  • dbh

    Doughnut in Both Hands

    1975 – 1982
    Emanem records
    Phil Minton Solo Singing
  • 15230

    Phil Minton/Dylan Nyoukis Live in Athens

    Recorded live at Knot Gallery, Athens, Greece in November 26, 2011.
  • spukhaftefernwirkung

    fORCH / Furt ‎– Spukhafte Fernwirkung

    Recorded At – Sporthalle Der Gewerblichen Schulen, Donaueschingen, Donaueschinger Musiktage, SWF-Studio Schloßbergsaal, Freiburg
  • a2597297314_10

    The Knowledge Of Its Own Making

    Phil Minton: voice
    Simon H. Fell: double bass
    Huddersfield Contemporary Records 2014
  • skaermbillede-2014-09-05-kl.-13.00.50

    What Rivers Is This: Lotte Anker

    Lotte Anker, Phil Minton, Anna Klett, Garth Knox, Jesper Egelund, Fred Frith, Ikue Mori, Chris Cutler.