Musik für neue Büromaschinen
Drugs and the Nervous System
Narodziny statku / Geburt eines Schiffes
In their joint project Felix Kubin, Hubert Zemler, Magdalena Kordylasińska-Pękala and Miłosz Pękala draw from educational, instructive and propaganda films from the sixties and seventies. They come back to the forgotten sounds of labour and thanks to them, to the rhythm of life dictated by the industrial revolution until a short time ago. Time - counted down by “heavy sounds” of factory hooters, focused on the collective harmony, beaten out by machines – was clearly divided into intervals of labour, entertainment and resting, which was superbly depicted in Hafenrhythmus screened during the concert, in parallel with Jan Łomnicki’s Birth of a Ship, depicting workers from a German shipyard dozing off during their breaks. From the sounds of the factory to the music of the open space (as in Music für neue Büromaschinen by Rolf Liebermann, in which all soundtrack consisting of office machines is replaced by Kubin with a rustle of computer keys, iPhone ringtones, characteristic tune heard while opening Windows ’95), from the labour which is transferred to the realm of ritual and poetry through rhythmic hammer strikes, to prosaic thoughtless strain (Martial Arts) and the cult of efficiency (Drugs and the Nervous System) – Takt Der Arbeit crosses the changing landscapes of our lives, measures its pulse, formerly even, nowadays rapidly precipitating. Searching for analogue sounds and yet being immersed in contemporary, concerete, noise, minimal music, Kubin’s project situates performers next to shipyard workers seen in shorts screened behind the musicians’ backs. They create music before our eyes, in the sweat of their brows, looking for – same as workers – collective harmony holding instruments-tools in their hands. All of this takes place on the premises of the former Municipal Department of Sanitation associated with not only hard and physical labour but also dirty work.
“Where we're from, the birds sing a pretty song and there's always music in the air” – these words sound very promising until we realize that the birds might be those from the Hitchcock film, the place could be the Overlook Hotel from Kubrick’s The Shining, and the above quote comes from The Man From Another Place, the dwarf from David Lynch’s Twin Peaks. The Canadian composer Nicole Lizée has handled the works of famous directors through cutting them, unraveling individual scenes like a grandmother’s distinguished needle-work, looping words, gestures and sounds, stretching, glitching and accentuating details – just jumbling them up to get at the anxiety centre of Lynch, Hitchcock and Kubrick’s films. Lizée has drawn inspiration from ’beautiful errors” or rather “”beautiful glitches” found in these works which, on the one hand, determine the originality of Psychosis, Lost Highway and The Shining, and on the other one open the doors to endless, unorthodox musical interpretations. In a way, the Canadian’s activity resembles making gifs and memes, as in a scene of dropping artificial tears into the eyes of the Twin Peaks heroes or making Tippi Hedren continuously inhale and exhale cigarette smoke against the background of a disturbing, monotonously repeated “la la”, which, cut out from a child’s tune, morphs into an ominous incantation. The terrifying symmetry of Kubrick’s visions, the Lynchian psychodelia or the Hitchcock’s cold precision are the starting point to fascinating experiments for the pianists: Emilia Sitarz, Eve Egoyan and Bartłomiej Wąsik (being here a bit of detectives and psychoanalysts) – to examining the nature of “beautiful glitches” at the point where film and music etudes meet, to discovering both inhuman and deeply human nature of “disturbance”. The performance gives the shivers, inspires and surprises. So come and “play with us”, as the pale twins from The Shining would put it.
Music for David
Joanna Bruzdowicz Kwartet smyczkowy nr 1 „La Vita”
Wojtek Blecharz Liminal Studies
In “Measures and Frames” the music narrates the film as much as the film narrates the music. They look at each other carefully, thus creating an entirely new language. Entrusting the surreal animation “The Fire” to Marek Żebrowski, David Lynch did not give away his artistic intentions. Yet, he was enraptured by the way Żebrowski, who he has known and performed with for quite some time now, translated the story of a man, or rather a skeleton with matches, into sounds. The very title “Music for David” suggests a kind of an intimate letter, and not a mere musical illustration. In the case of “Vagabond” by Agnes Varda it was quite another matter: it was the French new wave director searching for an ideal soundtrack for her shocking quasi-documentary about a homeless who came across the Joanna Bruzdowicz’s piece “La Vita”. She found the Polish composer living in Belgium and has been cooperating with her ever since. The medium or, shall we say, the third partner in the dialogue (a musical summit, so to speak) of mutually fascinated artists is one of the best Polish string ensembles, the Royal String Quartet. Thanks to the Wojciech Blecharz’s “Liminal Studies” which conclude “Measures and Frames”, the performance of the RSQ has more to do with a theatrical play than with a classical concert. In his intriguing music-performative experiment Blecharz tells the four artists to change spaces, play roles, use instruments in an unusual way so as to bring out non-obvious sounds. The viola, the violin, the cello act as people who suddenly lost their voice or cannot draw breath. Ocean waves projected above the stage accompany these attempts of expression. They observe the struggle of instruments and humans with stoicism, since it is not always us who watch films. Sometimes they watch us.
The world after the end of love is the world after the end of the world. Therefore, it is no wonder the abandoned woman talks about her suffering against the background of an apocalyptic, dystopian scenery. The lyrics of the melancholic lullabies sung in a hypnotic voice by Julee Cruise were written by David Lynch himself, and the soundtrack of the journey across the wilderness of the heart for several actors, metal scaffolding, car wreck, hospital bed and darkness penetrated by spotlights composed, naturally, by Angelo Badalamenti. The Lynch and Badalamenti’s musical was commissioned by the Brooklyn Academy of Music. It was performed twice during the New Wave Festival in 1990, and has all the characteristics of the artist’s work of the time: Laura Dern and Nicolas Cage playing the Heartbroken Woman and the Heartbreaker are the very lovers from “Wild at Heart”. Michael J. Anderson, who is mimicking their conversation, calls up the spirit of “The Man From Another Place” - the eerie dwarf from “Twin Peaks”. Julee Cruise, the one whose voice contributed to the unique aura of a sinister fairy tale, in which the Lynch’s series was immersed, floats above all of them like a ghost or a melancholic angel. The Industrial Symphony No. 1. sounds similarly due to the use of most of the instruments heard in the “Twin Peaks” soundtrack. The Kwadrofonik, performing Badalamenti’s music live on stage, maintains its mood re-writing it to their instruments: the piano, the percussion, the marimba or synthesizers. To the audience’s surprise Artur Rojek performs Julee Cruise’s vocal parts. Yet, can there be a better choice of a singer to create the atmosphere of understatement and to feel shiver of melancholy? David Lynch himself used to say that The Symphony is nothing but an emotion stretched in time, the mood of a moment held for a bit longer. So, give in to it. Follow it.