Thursday, October 1, 2009

Phil Kline’s "Around the World in a Daze" reviewed in Philadelphia Inquirer

In the Philadelphia Inquirer, David Patrick Stearns writes about Phil Kline’s Around the World in a Daze DVD:
“Musically, Kline's 10-part Daze is like those Olivier Messiaen orchestral works that are suites of free-standing tone poems, all from different sound worlds, that impulsively eschew the traditional notions of symmetry, proportion and structure.”
The article focuses on the use of visual content on DVDs that present new music. Regarding Daze, Stearns comments:
“Visual illustrations - still photographs from family pets to a grassy stream - often seem so unconnected that Kline is working with a John Cage-style faith in the accidental poetry of randomness.”
Stearns also discusses a Frank Scheffer film that accompanies Brian Eno's 1978 ambient Music for Airports, as arranged by Bang on a Canners Michael Gordon, David Lang, Julia Wolfe, and Evan Ziporyn. Unmentioned is that this release also contains a second film, In the Ocean, a documentary by Scheffer about the history of the wonderful Bang on a Can festival. There are spoken contributions from and excerpts of music by John Cage, Philip Glass, Steve Reich, Elliott Carter, Louis Andriessen, as well as the can-bangers themselves.

Finally, the Stearns article mentions The BQE, with both video and music from Sufjan Stevens. Commissioned by Brooklyn Academy of Music, this cinematic suite was inspired by the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and the Hula-Hoop. The visual here (which include “three attractive, scantily clad women” hula-hooping) seems to be the dominant element, with music that is “far less radical than Kline's; it's like a traditional film score… Offenbach to Kline's Beethoven.”


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