Sunday, 3 March 2013

Roulette TV: Phill Niblock directed by Uri Gal-Ed



Composer, filmmaker and photographer Phill Niblock, who runs the Experimental Intermedia Foundation in New York, writes noble, hypnotic, majestic music constituted of sustained sounds for large instrumental ensembles of the same family (e.g. all strings, all flutes, all trombones, etc.) that very gradually change their timbre and pitch characteristics (pieces such as "Four Full Flutes", "Early Winter" for massed strings, "Didjeridoos", and "Five More Strings Quartets"). His work is represented on this Roulette TV video by the beginning and ending segments of his elegant composition "Guitar too, for four", a.k.a. "G2, 44". Although only three guitarists are seen on the tape, the computer samples make a total of 24 guitar parts plus two tracks each from five other players that contribute to a slowly unfolding density of harmonic richness. On two screens are images of Japanese workers on Honshu island unloading and processing fish, mending and re-stringing nets, trawling out to sea, and displaying their catch. Bits of ephemereal melodic-like gestures (overtone illusions) sometimes arise later in the piece. In his interview, Niblock explains how the notion of minimalism applies to his music, describes his fascination with the movements of people working, his efforts to get rid of editing-style, his relationship to the audience and keeping his work filled with content but "neutral" in the sense of allowing the audience their own perceptions.

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