Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Music For Silent Films_updated 06_29_2010
"Goad" a silent film by Noe Kidder and Arianne Anthony
Music for Silent Films
Chris Becker writes:
The core trio of myself (on laptop), Lewis 'Flip' Barnes (trumpet), and Lynn Wright (electric guitar) over the past couple years have continued to develop our Music For Silent Films project and it still continues to inspire me as a composer, improviser, and film enthusiast. In concert, we improvise music to accompany contemporary silent films many created by friends in New York as well as in New Orleans. The film I've posted above is one we've played to several times. It is a beautiful piece of work in gorgeous black and white created by film maker Noe Kidder and choreographer Arianne Anthony.
For each film, I create a specific session in Ableton Live that sort of acts as a template in performance for the other musicians to play off of over the course of a film. The sessions are built from my library of recordings of instrumental performances by friends as well as field recordings. So there is a strong compositional gesture in place, but the components of the sessions I create are completely malleable, meaning, the music is never ever the same performance to performance. I adapt as a result of the music Flip and Lynn (and guests) are coming up with. And sometimes - as a result of the heat of the moment in performance - I will throw out my original concept altogether and do something completely different. The session may act as a template, but the moment and the film truly determine the outcome. I am not conducting the music; I am simply a part of the band.
I am always refining or completely breaking down and rebuilding my sessions to keep myself and the band stimulated. It can be a lot of work, but ultimately, creating sessions to improvise with in a live setting is a truly enjoyable, fluid, and completely immediate way to "compose." And as an added bonus, I get to perform onstage with Flip and Lynn who simply don't sound like anyone else but themselves.
We've performed Music for Silent Films in New York City at Studio 111 and Live With Animals, Richmond, VA at ADA Gallery, New Orleans, LA at Zeitgeist Theatre Experiments, and Columbus, OH at Capital Universities annual NOW Music Festival.
Guest musicians for Music for Silent Films have included bassists Tony Maimone (Pere Ubu, Bob Mould, Frank Black) and Dana Schechter (Bee and Flower, Angels Of Light), cornet player Paul Watson (Sparklehorse), guitarist Stan Smith, and tenor saxophone and flute player Ralph "Buzzy" Jones.
Film makers featured on Music for Silent Films programs have included Noe Kidder, Molly Schwartz, Micki Pellerano, Tom Murphy, Ruby Quincunx, and Maya Deren.
Chris Becker, Music for Silent Films, ADA Gallery, Richmond, VA
Lynn Wright, Paul Watson, Music for Silent Films, ADA Gallery, Richmond, VA
Lewis 'Flip' Barnes, Music for Silent Films, Studio 111, New York City, NY
Posted by Chris Becker at 9:07 AM