Film: Lisztomania

[1975] / buy

Lisztomania is ostensibly a biographical picture of the notable 19th century composer and pianist, Franz Liszt (here played by erstwhile Who vocalist Roger Daltry). It follows his superstardom as a concert maestro, his numerous affairs, his desire to compose serious work, and his friendship with fellow radical Richard Wagner. However, Russell uses this tangible historical basis as an ever-diminishing basis for his expressionistic flourishes and barmy flights of fancy.

To rate this film in concordance with the current mode of film-reviewing method – acting, scripting, narrative coherence – would be a pointless endeavour. For the most part, Lisztomania fails as a traditional movie experience. Daltrey heads a cast that root their performances in camp and pantomime, which supports the film’s absurdism, but derails its attempts at depth and complexity.

Posted in film on December 29th, 2010 by Victor Plastic | 1 Comments

Making Contakt

[2010] / buy

In 2008 the Minus bandwagon embarked on a tour of proportions previously unheard of in electronic music. Celebrating the 10th anniversary of Richie Hawtin’s genre-defining label, the CONTAKT tour visited nine cities on three continents over the course of a year.The exceptional series of events not only featured the label’s most prominent artists, such as Magda, Troy Pierce, Marc Houle, Heartthrob and Gaiser, but also an impressive array of cutting edge technology, pioneering new methods of collaborative performance as well as audience participation via RFID chips and mobile devices.

Insightful, captivating and genuinely funny at times, ‘MAKING CONTAKT’ documents the spirit of constant technological and artistic innovation that drives the Minus label. While the cinematic format of the tour documentary might be an established genre in rock music, this is the benchmark road movie for the techno generation.

Posted in film on December 20th, 2010 by Victor Plastic | 4 Comments

196 BPM

[2003] / buy

196 bpm is Romuald Karmakar’s documentary of the 2002 Berlin Love Parade, from the perspective of three sites on the sidelines of this techno jamboree. Using one uninterrupted shot apiece and without dialogue or commentary, he uses the original sounds of the sites, consisting mainly of music and a few scraps of overheard conversations. Unlike the usual documentaries about the Love Parade, which focus on the number of participants and the chaos and litter they leave behind, drug abuse, etc., Karmakar’s film collects impressions of the musical styles that fall under the loosely-defined term ‘Techno’. The music, the dancers, the locations and a DJ take the foreground.


Posted in film on November 25th, 2010 by Victor Plastic | 31 Comments

Contemporary Music Production

[2007] buy

Interviewed in their native stomping grounds (i.e. studios overflowing with equipment), each artist is given a once over by a faceless host whose questions appear as text on the screen. Whilst this initially seems a little clinical, it soon reveals itself to be an advantageous approach – allowing the various contributors to elaborate and expand on their answers without the constant interruptions of a verbose host; meaning the viewer gets to hear what they want, as opposed to some overtly structured series of quips. Each of the featured artists get a grilling on the subject of how their music comes about, from instrument choices, compositional approach and general production tips.

Part 1 – Murcof, Isolee, Richard X, Transparent Sound, Philip Clemo  [1h7m]
Part 2 – Max Richter, Trentemoller, Ochre, Bookashade  [1h20m]
Part 3 – Matthew Dear, Colleen, New Young Pony Club, Lukid, Cobblestone Jazz  [1h4m]

Posted in film on November 5th, 2010 by Victor Plastic | 6 Comments

The Heart is a Drum Machine

[2010] buy

What is music? It’s a simple question, but it leads director Christopher Pomerenke in many complicated artistic and scientific directions in his documentary The Heart Is a Drum Machine.

It’s an expansive, inviting film, which embraces everything from Voyager’s Golden Record and aboriginal funeral chants to brain-music therapy and pop music branding. Along the way, Pomerenke’s mostly unassuming movie is enhanced by interviews with artists, scientists and others deeply invested in charting the pathways of the heart, the prenatal vibration that establishes our musical universe, as well as the mind that modifies those vibrations into meaning.


Dr. Orli Peter’s brain-music therapy is equally interesting. Converting EEGs to musical sounds, Peter and others have found that everyone not only makes their own brain music, but that they all possess unique signatures, like fingerprints. And they work fabulously in therapeutic capacities: Music that thumps at 60 beats per minute, roughly a heartbeat a second, tends to enhance cognitive skills, while music with higher BPM rates releases temporary antidepressant effects. ( review)

Posted in film on October 18th, 2010 by fresh good minimal | 0 Comments

The Cycles of the Mental Machine, Universal Techno

Universal techno
Universal techno, un documentar despre radacinile stilului Detroit, produs de postul de televiziune germano-francez Arte. Incepe in Berlin, in 1996, la Love Parade. Avem si imagini cu Mike Banks in magazinul de discuri Hardwax si in clubul Tresor. Se continua cu interviuri şi imagini din Detroit: Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson, Derrick May, Mark Bell (LFO). Avem si actiune pe synthuri si niste capturi video cu Kraftwerk şi Tangerine Dream.


Posted in film on July 6th, 2010 by fresh good minimal | 0 Comments

How Music Works


[2006] download

In this film composer Howard Goodall looks at: melody’s basic elements, at the common rhythmic patterns that have been used by musicians from all cultures, at how familiar patterns of chord progressions give all kinds of music – from classical to popular.


Posted in film on February 1st, 2010 by fresh good minimal | 5 Comments