Friday, December 21, 2012

2012 list

As promised, here are ten mixed-media stocking stuffers to see you through the yuletide. Best wishes for a happy Xmas and a great 2013!

1) Exploratorium documentary by Jon Boorstin. Be there when the nice lady with the red cardigan opens the music room, stay for the light show powered by flute.

2) Pathways to Quality. Beautiful training video for Manchester Metropolitan University's Department of Clothing Design & Technology, circa 1990. One of many, many treats on offer at Toastrack.

3) Renée Pietrafesa.

4) Ordinary Lives books. The stories of unspectacular East Londoners - a loo attendant, a former pig farmer, a chorus girl - as told to oral historian and writer of ribald rhymes Clive Murphy. Some include flexi-discs.

5) Derek Boshier's films, especially Reel (1973). Amazing footage of pre-pedestrian Leicester Square. Note brief appearance of Lovecraft sex shop near beginning. (thanks Julian!)

6) Luciano Berio: C'è musica e musica (1972). An Italian TV show on contemporary music hosted by Berio. There are loads of episodes up on the tube but this is my fave. I haven't seen Berberian Sound Studio yet but I suspect the world being conjured there is something like this.

7) Georg Riedel - Riedaiglia. Free-love jazz psych from Sweden, 1967. I think this was the soundtrack to an Alvin Ailey dance production. Great beats and witchy keening in the vein of the Vampires of Dartmoore OST.

8) La faute de l'abbe mouret (1970), starring Gillian Hills.

9) Equipo Humano Uno. Experimental sound collage cassette out of Barcelona. One to watch in 2013. I was also sent some lovely tunes by a band called PRE-Be-UN. Super!

10) The Hart of London by Jack Chambers. Part 1/Part 2

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Music of the Senufo

Unesco Music of the Senufo LP is going down really well this morning. Minimal xylophone textures from in and around Mali and Côte d'Ivoire. Listen here. Mixes up seamlessly with The Garnet Toucan.

Monday, December 17, 2012


So I had to remove the Oskar Fischinger post as there was a copyright complaint. Oh well. Friday we watched a Polish movie called Iluminacja, by Krzysztof Zanussi. I never thought a film about physics could be so beautiful. Of course it's about a lot of other things as well. The main character is a graduate student trying to juggle life and love and research, with little success. But this portrait of the physicist as a young man also includes documentary-like detours into the ethics of science, including interviews with young Polish physicists about war and a sequence filmed in what appears to be an actual mental hospital. That makes it sound a bit heavy going, but it's really quite stylish and fun, like a Polish Poor Cow with brief science and harpsichord interludes.

I thought it might be fun to do something of a year end list in the next few days, so keep an eye out for that. Not a best-of-2012 so much as a loose set of impressions and directions for 2013. We'll see...

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Monday, December 10, 2012

Looking for me (1970)

Looking for me is an educational documentary from 1970, directed by Virginia Bartlett and starring dance therapist Janet Adler and the students of the Shady Lane School in Pittsburgh. Adler is a pioneer in movement therapy. This film is famous for a sequence involving her sessions with two autistic children, initially diagnosed as "psychotic." In the first clip below she slowly befriends them, mirroring their movements in order to build a bridge of trust. Watch the whole clip, take in the melancholy hypnotic music, and see if a tear doesn't come to your eye when she finally breaks through at 5:20.

Friday, December 7, 2012

How to Make Electronic Music (1975)

Russell Drake, Ronald Herder and Anne D. Modugno, How to Make Electronic Music (Educational Audio Visual Inc., 1975).

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tana Hoban

Tana Hoban, Push Pull Empty Full (Collier, 1972).

Monday, December 3, 2012

(Mary Barnes and the door to her room at Kingsley Hall.)

Friday, November 30, 2012

Percussion sounds

There is a fantastic new tumblr out there called I HATE THIS FILM, which delves into the deepest recesses of rare experimental and educational celluloid. Here are a few clips from Pieter Van Deusen's "Percussion sounds" (1968), featuring Emil Richards and co. playing instruments made by Harry Partch, and educator Hardja Susilo jamming out with an elementary school class from Santa Monica(!)

Thursday, November 29, 2012


Arleta, Exi Meres (Lyra). This is a Greek neo kyma ("new wave") record from 1970. Beautiful chanson pop through a Greek folk prism. I love the twinkly harp and mallet percussion. Arleta seems to be among the higher profile new wavers in the 60s, along with Popi Asteriadi. It's so inspiring to me the way these artists take the folk/psych of Dylan and Baez and run it through the vernacular spin cycle. Great scissor cut-out sleeve art as well. Listen here.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Pop Goes the Easel (1962)

Watched this Ken Russell film the other day and feel like it unlocked a new part of my mind. Everyone is so young and beautiful. Pauline Boty! In the jazz party towards the end you can see David Hockney dancing around. Watch here.