People with the Playback Devices 2011 from justin asher on Vimeo.

People with the Playback Devices

composed a guided improvisational music and sound design film accompaniment, to a collection of excerpts from Dziga Vertov’s 1929 silent documentary film “The Man with the Movie Camera”. Considered the first truly experimental cinematic piece in history, it’s patterned subjects and fast cut pacing reflects the technocratic machine-lust of the early Soviet Union. The poetry of a newly blossoming affair, one between humans and the motion picture, subverts the objective intentions of the director.
Vertov’s manifesto, stated in text at the beginning of the film, is as follows:
“this new experimentation….. is directed towards the creation of an authentically international absolute language of cinema….. on the basis of complete separation from the language of theatre and literature”
Similarly, the musical and FX accompaniment is directed towards the creation of an authentically international absolute language of sound, on the basis of separation from the standard notation of acoustic instruments, the concert idiom, and the conventions of diegetic and non-diegetic sounds.
The performers follow a timeline score with thematic and technical descriptions for each sound action and it’s relation to the images using a collection of recorded media and electronically modulated instruments. The devices include laptop sample triggers, iPods, cassette decks, CD players, turntables, microphone mallets, gongs, empty fluid containers, no-input mixer, and modulated flute.

Joining Asher was composer/performer Maryclare Brzytwa.

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