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handclaps > backups
music documentary film programme curated by
Tim Tetzner (D)

About forgetting technologies and technologies of forgetting considering electronic music as example.

Handclaps functions as an interdisciplinary music documentary format oscillating between music, media and art that comments pop music phenomena in a non-liear and associative way.

23.07. pranksters

Practical jokes get played on better in different places than here. Believe it or not. You only have to watch out for Caveh Zahedi not coming to close with his movie with Will Oldman after consuming mushroom while Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard get on with a remake of the now legendary Napa State Hospital music video of the Cramps. This seems to make as much sense as Charlemagne Palestines legendary travelling around the island and the choir of the University of Wisconsin singing Nintendo themes a capella.

Island Song - Charlemagne Palestine, USA 1976, 16 min
With a video camera strapped to his body, Charlemagne Palestine drives around an island on his motorbike while chanting in true mantra-fashion "Gotta get outta here ... gotta get outta here ..." Palestine’s voice dissolves into the sound of the motor, and one realizes the impossibility of escaping from the island. Fatalism spreads. But Island Song can also be seen as a motion study since it corresponds to other works of Palestine from the same period.

File under Sacred Music - Iain Forsyth + Jane Pollard, UK 2004, 22 min
Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard's File Under Sacred Music is based on a rare video bootleg of legendary garage band The Cramps, which was recorded at a live appearance at Napa Mental Institute, California, way before the band released their first record. The Cramps played this show in front of an audience which consisted of the inmates of a psychiatric ward. For File Under Sacred Music, Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard put together a band looking uncannily like The Cramps and in coorporation with people accredited from free psychiatric groups as the audience tried to reenact this exceptional event as closely to the original as  possible. But take note: This is not a remake.

8-bit Acapella - Univerity of Wisconsin-Choir, USA 2004, 5 min
This short film portrays the valiant attempt of the Univerity Of Wisconsin Choir to interpret Nintendo title themes acapella. During the performance, some of the choir’s members play “characters” from games and give ample proof of their abilities as actors in the roles of Luigi or even Tetris-elements. This film has been in “heavy circulation” on the internet, and has been one of the top downloads of the last months.

You have bad taste in Music - Selection, Eman Laerton, 2004-2005, 20min
In Youhavebadtasteinmusic, Eman Laerton, who is both producer and leading actor in this film, goes where being a fan hurts the most: Equipped with a megaphone and dressed in a costume which can only be called absurd, he confronts fan mobs at Linkin Park concerts with the idea of taste, of “good” and “bad” music, without ever outing himself as a provocateur. YHBTM could also work as a slot on MTV, if it wasn’t for that pinch of meta-information: “Do not attend this concert, stop listening to bad music, turn off your radio and television!!”

Tripping with Caveh - Caveh Zahedi, USA 2004, 32 min
It is Caveh Zahedi’s fondness for experimental setups in films and his love for Will Oldham’s music, which makes Tripping With Caveh such a wonderfully intimate concept-feature. Caveh’s unusual invitation to take hallucinogenic mushrooms with him is followed by a visit of Will Oldham and two days of a friendly and intimate living together in rural surroundings. We see Caveh and Oldham fleeing from a swarm of hornets, discussing love and coming down together at the pool.

Ariel Pink - Worn Copy Video Selection - Paw Tracks, 2004, 20 min
A selection of videos from the American leftfield-pop shooting star Ariel Pink's first album Worn Copy from 2005 : For Kate I Wait, Trepanated Earth, Life in LA, Lover Boy, Bloody! (Bagonia’s), Almost waiting, Beverly Kills

So wrong they're right - Russ Forster, USA 2005, 100 min
So Wrong They’re Right addresses a phenomenon largely unknown in Europe:  The 8track-collector. The 8track is/was a cassette-like cartridge with
magnetic tape, which used to be a very popular sound storage medium in the US during the 60s and 70s. It was distributed almost exclusively by major companies and thanks to eBay and the internet has experienced a renaissance during the last few years. Its community in America is more active than ever.
Tiny Tim, David Byrne and Gumball are among the collectors portrayed.

28.07. friends

Lakes to the left, castles to the right ... what this series from kraut to German Post avant-garde lacks is certainly an additional contribution of Deadly Doris. This is shown in a different cinema this time. Amongst others, we see Anima on their 1971 trailer tour through Europe and get told about the creation of Charley’s Girls by a small girl. After that, an older girl tells us about how she really makes music.

Anima-Sound - Europa Tournee mit 20 km/h  - SWF, D 1971, 40 min
Filmed by the SWR in 1971, this documentary accompanies the artists Paul and Limpe Fuchs, their two children and their musical project „Music For Everybody“ on a three month long tour through Europe. This they undertook with an old tractor hauling a self constructed trailer, which could be converted into a stage. It enabled them to perform wherever they were (un)invited, be it Munich’s pedestrian zone, in front of an audience of miners in the Ruhr District or in the open, under the stars. Their archaic means of transportation also served as their home for these three months. Anima-Sound play their freeform noise improvisations on self constructed instruments, percussion an electronics. As the commentator of the films puts it aptly: “Anima Sound is a form of mental and physical baring.”

This film has never been rerun or shown anywhere in public after its initial broadcast on German television in 1971. It is one of the few substantial and totally unique documentaries of the Krautrock-era.

Guten Morgen Hose - Andreas Dorau/Holger Hiller, D 1984, 12 min
A neo-dadaist short opera by Holger Hiller (ex-Palais Schaumburg) with Andreas Dorau playing the lead. The content can be summarized as follows: The film is about the interaction of the spatially isolated Dorau with a woman with trouts, a choir of trousers and a singing carpet, which gets stabbed by Dorau shortly before the latter succumbs to his own madness. This filmic essay can also be interpreted as a proclamation of the end of the so-called NDW’s (New German Wave) positivistic era of the, which by 1984 had already passed its commercial
and creative peak.

Charley's Girls - Astrid Heibach, D 2005, 22 min
In this film, the grandson of Franz Bielmeier (one of the Girls’ founding members besides Peter Hein and Markus Oehlen) gives an account on the beginnings and the early period of Punk in Duesseldorf between 1977 and 1979 from his own point of view (which is charming and not in the least bit naive). Formally, the is a collage based on Astrid Heibachs photo- and film-archive of this time and functions on many different levels. Plus it is an excellent supplement to Jürgen Teipels’ successful documentary novel „Verschwende Deine Jugend“ [Waste Your Youth].

Astrid Heibach has been a photo- and video-artist since the seventies. She’s been awarded the Deutscher Videokunstpreis [German prize for videoart] in 1992.

How to make music with Niobe - Graw Böckler, D 2004, 10 min
An intimate short feature by the Cologne-based production duo Graw Böckler on the musician and singer Yvonne Cornelus (also from Cologne), who experiments in the fields of electro-acoustic, improvisation and songwriting under the name of Niobe. Cornelus open-heartedly explains the guidelines and criteria with which she shapes her music, without ever dealing in depth with technical parameters.

Poemproducer by AGF - Lars Nagler, D 2004, 6 min

+ Ata Tak Video-Selection

30.07. phasers

This is where it all started: Thurston twice within the picture and the phase shift was there. Anyway, Maryanne Amacher and Bruce Haack are allowed to be portrayed extensively. After all they have brought about many paradigm shifts within their musical micro areas. Likewise Thurston Moore, but he has already gained enough credit.

Haack - King of Techno - Philip Anagnos, USA 2004, 70 min
As composer of extremely bizarre children’s records and commercials, Bruce Haack has enjoyed a dubious celebrity. The fact, that before he did all this he developed experimental synthesizers (which alas never made it to production stage) and that he experimented with the techniques of Musique Concrète has been acknowledged only too seldom (the becomes especially evident when put in contrast to the icon that has been made of Robert Moog). In interviews and original footage, the tragic career of this American maverick composer is traced up until his death.

Interview with Thurston Moore on Suicide - Thrill Jockey, USA 2004, 5 min
At age 18, Thurston Moore goes to see the New Yorker electro-Rock’n’Roll-duo Suicide at CBGBs. In this film, he tells how this show had a lasting impact on his musical development. This interview is part of a series of interviews under the title “Looking for a thrill”, which tries to get to the bottom of the phenomenon of musical initiation in a phenomenological way.

Day Trip Maryanne - Andrew Kesin, USA 2004, 30 min
Since the late 60s, Maryanne Amacher has been active as a multimedia artist, and has among other things assisted John Cage. Her output as a sound artist in her own right is rather slim and her live performances are rare occasions. One afternoon, Thurston Moore and Andrew Kesin pay Amacher a visit in her studio-cum apartment. This ad hoc meeting is filmed and from this footage Kesin cut a rough shot-on-location under the title 'Day Trip Maryanne'.

Thurston Moore about Day Trip Maryanne - Andrew Kesin, USA 2004, 12 min
Thurston Moore in an interview with Andrew Kesin about the shooting of  “Day Trip Maryanne”.

Tujiko Noriko - Mugen Kyuukou, How To Believe In Jesus - Graw Böckler, 2004, 4min
The video of Tujiko Noriko from Japan comes alive in the interplay of its three visual planes. The basic shot is a statue of Jesus shrouded in wafts of mist. On it, a catalogue of effects is projected while parallel to that, the names of the effects are given in the top right hand corner of the screen.

06.08. makers

This is a kind of making of which is more than bonus material: After a historic schellack record cut feature and an introduction into stereophony Mika Taanila puts himself into the shallowness of Dutch Muzak production facilities and Alan Zweig portrays a hardcore record collector that strangely dies from his addiction after the shoot of the short movie.

Rca Victor presents Command Performance  - USA 1942, 20 min
An industry film produced by RCA Victor in 1942. It shows the complex sequence of operations in the production of a record in the pressing plants of RCA Victor Camden in New Jersey. From the cutting of the matrix and the electroplation with copper, nickel and chromium to the stamper, from the pasting of the label to storage, packing and shipping, every step in the production of this wonderful storage medium is explained.

DVD Manufacturing + Vinyl Cut - Sensemusik,  D2005, 10+6 min
Two features dealing with the production process of storage media. DVD Manufacturing explains the production steps from the authoring via the production of a glassmaster to the copies, while Vinyl Cut accompanies all important steps in the process of cutting a record.

Scratch - Christoph Girardet, D 2001, 4 min
Christoph Girardet’s FoundFootage-collage loops scenes from diverse films in which a record-player or gramophone appears, while substituting the original soundtrack with a loop from the inner groove of a record.

Rca Victor presents how to listen to New Dimensions in Sound - USA 1957, 15 min
Industrial film produced by RCA to promote the advent of stereo record players in 1957. The film explains in detail the features of stereophony and how sound and acoustics function. This feature is still recognizable as a film meant to advertise a new product, but has retained a lot entertainment value apart from nostalgia. "The remarkable achievements of modern electronic recording make possible the truest reproduction of original musical presentation."

Thank you for the Music - Mika Taanila, FIN 1997, 24 min
In this film, the Finnish filmmaker Mika Taanila gets to the bottom of the phenomenon of Muzak, the specially recorded programmed background music, which is supposed to have an effect on the customers well-being and influence him/her in his/her buying patterns. Taanila conducted interviews with the producers Joseph Lanza (USA) and Theo van Leeuwen (NL) about the possibilities and the shortcomings of functionalized music: He also visits Van Leeuwens houseband, the Paul Natte Orchestra in their Hilversum studio, which for the last 30 years has been the most important production location for Muzak in Europe.

"By taking away the ego of the artists, background music allows the listener to fill in the blanks." - Joseph Lanza

Vinyl - Alan Zweig, USA 2001, 110 min
Being a filmmaker as well as a longtime record collector, Alan Zweig was almost predestined to make a movie on the more or less highly charged topic of collecting vinyl (ok, /and /shellac). Vinyl attempts to answer the big questions about the subject – does it create identity or are collectors just archivists? Is it a utopia or just an escapism of nerds? - by means of interviews. Zweig filmed collectors in an advanced stage of collecting, people whose collections dominate 100% of their day to day life and whose collections demand more time for care and maintenance than is possible. And in a few cases this passion has become quite painful. Taking into consideration that this film was made before eBay made its big impact on record collecting, it is an interesting snapshot of collecting in the good old days.

07.08. grinders

How Circuit Bending can be understood as a purely American outsider phenomenon is not answered by Derek Shybell in his two feature movies. Tom Hovinbøle does not find an answer either in his interview epic but here, as in Skills, his focus is more on the social parameters and the esthetical discourse of a internationally working network that has emancipated from the cynical aphorisms of the Industrial Culture long ago.

Nor Noise - Tom Hovinbøle, NOR 2004, 115min
What started life as a documentary on Norwegian noise-activist Lasse Marhaug soon progressed into a real stocktaking of the international noise scene’s present state from Norway to Japan. For Nor Noise, Tom Hovinbøle conducted a dozen interviews about aesthetic, cultural and technical questions and thus generated a straightforward and unpretentious portrait of a self-sufficient and non-commercial subculture and its global network.

Featured artists : Tore H. Bøe (Origami Republika), David Cotner (USA), Masami Akita (Merzbow), Lasse Marhaug (Jazzkammer), Tashimaru Nakamura (Japan), Arm (Aleksander Rishaug, Arne Borgan, Are Mokkelbost), Asbjørn Flø (Oslo), Maja S.K. Ratkje (Spunk, Fe-mail), Kjell Runar Jenssen (DEL), Francisco Lopéz (Spain), Helge Sten (Deathprod) and Otomo Yoshihide (Japan)

Skills - Jan van Hasselt, D 2005, 35 min
A documentary by the filmmaker Jan van Hasselt from Bremen (Germany) which adheres to one of the theories of Villem Flusser. At its center are three of the noise-scene’s front performers: Zbigniew Karkowski, bad boy of the harsh and one-dimensional laptop noise; Lukas Abela, Australian extreme performer who for some time has been using contact microphones attached to easily breakable glass among his performance instruments; last not least there’s Rudolf, Swiss Kung-Fu-teacher with a predilection for feces and a carte blanche for crossing ethic borders. Between the performers’ bits, one gets to see a computer  pickled in oil and a bad tempered Vampyroteuthis Infernalis, which have been assigned the function of hosts.

What is Circuit Bending? - Derek Shybell, USA 2002, 6 min
Wow and flutter-like clip collage by New Yorker-based Derek Saybel on the impossibilities of Circuit Bending. Children’s toys soldered to car horns, cracked consumer electronics plus board’n’pot-madness to eleven provide a foretaste of Saybel’s documentary on the annual Circuit Bending meeting BENT in 2004 and show how easily everyday life can be manipulated.

Bent 2004 - Derek Shybell, USA 2004, 60 min (excerpt)
Documentary by Derek Saybel on The First International Festival Of Circuit Bending, which was held in April 2004 for a week in New York. Circuit Bending is a technique which manipulates circuits and boards of consumer electronics, ordinary and cheap musical instruments, keyboards and everything that generates sound. Over the last few years, it has become very popular with the American noise scene. Bent reveals an independent network, whose vital tool is the soldering iron, which it uses very un-nerdy in performances. It is also the most important tool against a culture which is being increasingly dominated by digital media.

JJoyce Hinterding - The amplified music of weather storms and electro-magnetic fields - Brandan Walls, AUS 2003, 10 min
Sydney-based composer Joyce Hinterding works with multiple amplified  electromagnetic fields, acoustic phenomena and microtonal traces of sound from the airwaves in her compositions. The documentary shows her at work in the studio and accompanies her on sonic explorations into the unheard. This film was produced as one episode of a six part music documentary series titled “Subsonics”, which was produced by Alison & Brendan Walls together with Oren Ambarchi for Australian television in 2001.