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sound/music CD reviews

 Da Contents H2

May 1 2013
Jon Rose

April 3 2013
zephyr quartet
a rain from the shadows

July 17 2012
the wired lab
wired open day 2009

May 22 2012
ros bandt, johannes s sistermanns

March 20 2012
new weird australia editions: thomas williams vs scissor lock, spartak
jewelz & nippon

October 25 2011
avantwhatever label collection
gulbenkoglu gorfinkel; ben byrne; alex white; ivan lysiak

May 24 2011
disintegration: mutation

May 10 2011
blip (jim denley, mike majkowksi)

listen to the weather

March 22 2011
difference engine

November 22 2010
artefacts of australian experimental music volume II 1974-1983

September 20 2010
clocked out
the wide alley

September 7 2010
clocked out
foreign objects

August 23 2010
matt chaumont

July 26 2010
sky needle
time hammer

May 10 2010
mike majkowski
ink on paper

November 6 2009
new weird australia vols 1 & 2

October 26 2009
clare cooper & chris abrahams
germ studies

July 17 2009
erdem helvacioglu
wounded breath

rice corpse
mrs rice

April 28 2009
james rushford

joel stern
objects, masks, props

January 22 2009
loren chasse
the footpath

mark cauvin

December 12 2007
the splinter orchestra

October 24 2007
artefacts of australian experimental music 1930-1973

August 28 2007
akathistos fragments


various artists produced by le tuan hung; dindy vaughan
on the wings of a butterfly: cross-cultural music by australian composers; up the creek

May 1 2006
ai yamamoto

camilla hannan
more songs about factories

found: quantity of sheep

philip brophy

rod cooper

December 1 2005
anthony pateras
mutant theatre

December 1 2005
charlie charlie & will guthrie
la respiration des saintes & building blocks

dj olive

new belief system

jodi rose & guest artists
singing bridges: vibrations/variations

lawrence english

lawrence english
ghost towns

michael j schumacher
room pieces

robin fox
backscatter dvd


the necks
mosquito/see through

tim o'dwyer
multiple repeat

guns, cars & guitars

warp: various artists
warp vision: the videos 1989-2004

zane trow
for those who hear actual voices


warp: various artists

warp vision: the videos 1989-2004

London: Warp, 2004

Warp Records' ground-breaking release and distribution of Aphex Twin’s 1999 single Windowlicker as a unified DVD package (with both the audio visual product and associated artwork designed by director Chris Cunningham), almost single-handedly revolutionized popular music distribution. While the full impact of this belated recognition of DVD distribution is still making itself felt, more DVD music video compilations are coming onto the market. The best and most unified, coherent examples of these are the profiles of music video masters–Cunningham, Spike Jones and Michel Gondry. These exceptional collections allow one to observe each director’s development and–particularly in the case of the Gondry compilation–come with impressive extras and background interviews. Given the important role which Warp played in establishing both cinematic auteur Cunningham and drill-funk, electro and glitch composers like Aphex Twin, Squarepusher, Autechre and LFO, Warp’s recent entry into the field is an impressive and important addition–the lack of good extras notwithstanding (a dubious audio remix CD is all that is offered, while even the DVD table of contents is confusing).

The Warp compilation is, by definition, a less cohesive viewing experience than the director-based collections. Although Warp tends to focus on electronic musics, there is also the richly drenched neo-lounge band Broadcast (a wonderfully evocative video from Barback, playing with color whorls, oil projections and other appropriately historic motifs) or the weird, echoing, poser electro-schlock rock of vocalist Jamie Lidell (his camp performative excesses aptly serving as the basis for 2 videos here). There is moreover some doubling up with material already available on the Cunningham collection and the diverse but better presented Visual Niches series (E Motion: 2002-3). Such drawbacks aside, this is a great, extensive collection of 31 videos, allowing one to revisit the Aphex Twin trilogy of Windowlicker (the undisputed and much discussed masterpiece), Come to Daddy and Donkey Rhubarb (the latter by director David Slade), all on one DVD. The wonderful central visual motif of all three pieces is the self-consciously narcissistic multiplication of Richard James’ blankly grinning face onto multiple, aggressive, sexualized bodies.

Aside from many other fine videos, there are also several gems not previously available on DVD. There is the amazingly detailed and surprising matching of abstract mecha-style, 3-dimensional forms with Autechre’s beats in director Alex Rutterford’s Gantz Graf. Equally arresting is director Lynn Fox’s Gob Coitus, an almost butoh-esque correspondence of Chris Clark’s slurred glitch breaks with a staggering, twisted and totally transformed, human-animal-machine: mouth open, the tongue rolling up from the glottis, as the crawling, hunched structure of the dancer becomes radically Other.

Another highlight is director Daniel Levi’s brutal, schoolgirl dance sequence for LFO’s Freak, the cinematography of which is strongly influenced by recent Japanese horror film. Through close framing and the manipulation of visual playback time, the screen becomes increasingly filled with high-contrast and drably-colored, violent, young female bodies. The actual reversal of time in the vision playback, with bodies rising against gravity, accords with the highest density of sound and beat near the conclusion of the song. Finally one is left with a prone, ecstatic body, whose seizures are unnaturally in time with the closing high-hat signatures. This is a great music video and along with the revolutionary cinesonic explorations of the body produced by Cunningham, Goudry, Fox, Levi and their peers this is yet another proof that calls for the recognition of dance film as a new genre are completely superfluous.

Jonathan Marshall

© Jonathan Marshall; for permission to reproduce apply to [email protected]

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