Iggy Pop, Henry Rollins & Grace Jones To Star in Gutterdämmerung, “The Loudest Silent Movie on Earth!”

Once upon a time, Joe Strum­mer wrote and direct­ed Hell W10a silent black & white film fea­tur­ing the music of The Clash. And the Pix­ies’ Black Fran­cis cre­at­ed a dri­ving, jan­gling sound­track for one of Weimar Germany’s finest silent films, The Golem: How He Came into the World (1920).

If the meld­ing of vin­tage and mod­ern aes­thet­ics appeals, then get ready for Gutterdämmerung. Direct­ed by the Bel­gian-Swedish visu­al artist Björn Tage­mose, Gutterdämmerung promis­es to be “the loud­est silent movie on earth,” with Iggy Pop, Grace Jones and Hen­ry Rollins play­ing star­ring roles. BEAT describes the premise of the film as fol­lows:

The film is set in a alter­nate real­i­ty where God has saved the world from sin by tak­ing from mankind the Devil’s Evil Gui­tar. As a result the Earth has been cleansed into a puri­tan world with no room for sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll (boo). [Queue] Iggy Pop as the punk angel Vicious, who secret­ly sends the Evil Gui­tar back to Earth, unleash­ing all man­ner of sin upon mankind.

Things get even cra­zier when Hen­ry Rollins, as the puri­tan priest, coerces a girl to destroy the gui­tar, a quest that see’s her face the most evil rock ‘n’ roll bas­tards on the plan­et. Grace Jones plays the only per­son capa­ble of con­trol­ling all the testos­terone of all the no good rock ‘n’ rollers – obvi­ous­ly.

The direc­tor and cast set the scene a lit­tle more in the “launch video” above. To be hon­est, the video feels a bit like a spoof, mak­ing me won­der whether this is all a big put on. But they’ve cer­tain­ly set up a respectable web site where, each week, they’ll announce oth­er per­son­al­i­ties star­ring in the film. So, stay tuned…

via Pitch­fork

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

Watch the Ger­man Expres­sion­ist Film, The Golem, with a Sound­track by The Pix­ies’ Black Fran­cis

The Clash Star in 1980’s Gang­ster Par­o­dy Hell W10, a Film Direct­ed by Joe Strum­mer

101 Free Silent Films: The Great Clas­sics

7 Female Bass Players Who Helped Shape Modern Music: Kim Gordon, Tina Weymouth, Kim Deal & More

If you fol­low music news, you’ll have read of late more than a cou­ple sto­ries about two for­mer mem­bers of two high­ly influ­en­tial bands—Jack­ie Fox of the Run­aways and Kim Gor­don of Son­ic Youth. Fox’s sto­ry of exploita­tion and sex­u­al assault as a six­teen year-old rock star comes with all the usu­al pub­lic doubts about her cred­i­bil­i­ty, and sad­ly rep­re­sents the expe­ri­ence of so many women in the music busi­ness. Gordon’s numer­ous sto­ries in her mem­oir Girl in a Band doc­u­ment her own strug­gles in punk and alt rock scenes that fos­tered hos­til­i­ty to women, in the band or no. The dis­cus­sion of these two musi­cians’ per­son­al nar­ra­tives is com­pelling and nec­es­sary, but we should not lose sight of their sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tions as musi­cians, play­ing per­haps the least appre­ci­at­ed instru­ment in the rock and roll arsenal—the bass.

Mem­bers of bands that rou­tine­ly become the sub­ject of peti­tions to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Fox and Gor­don rep­re­sent just two of hun­dreds of women bass play­ers, many thump­ing away in obscu­ri­ty and no small num­ber achiev­ing suc­cess in indie, punk, met­al, and jazz bands, as solo artists, or as ses­sions musi­cians. Gordon’s low end helped dri­ve the sound of nineties alt-rock (see her with Son­ic Youth at the top), and Fox’s basslines under­scored sev­en­ties hard rock (with the Run­aways above).

Before either of them picked up the instru­ment, anoth­er huge­ly influ­en­tial bassist, Car­ol Kaye, played on thou­sands of hits as a mem­ber of L.A.’s top flight ses­sion musi­cians, the Wreck­ing Crew. A trained jazz gui­tarist, Kaye’s discog­ra­phy includes Nan­cy Sinatra’s “These Boots Were Made for Walk­ing,” the Beach Boy’s “Cal­i­for­nia Girls,” the Mon­kees “I’m a Believ­er,” Joe Cocker’s “Feel­in’ Alright”… and that’s just a tiny sam­pling. (See Kaye give Kiss’s Gene Sim­mons a bass les­son, above, and don’t miss a lengthy inter­view with her here.)

Kaye could, and did, play almost any­thing; she is an exceptional—and excep­tion­al­ly gracious—musician. And while few bass play­ers can match her when it comes to musi­cal range and abil­i­ty, many share her tal­ent for writ­ing sim­ple, yet unfor­get­table basslines that define gen­res and eras. Along­side Kim Gordon’s aggres­sive­ly melod­ic bass play­ing in Son­ic Youth, Kim Deal of the Pix­ies gave us mas­sive 90s alt-rock hooks and, like Gor­don, shared or took over vocal duties on some of the band’s biggest songs. (See them do “Gigan­tic” live in 1988 above.) Although they may not seem to have much in com­mon, both Deal and Kaye mas­tered the art of sim­plic­i­ty, par­ing down what could have been over­ly busy basslines to only the most essen­tial notes and rhyth­mic accents. (Deal dis­cuss­es her approach in an inter­view here.)

Like Kim Deal’s play­ing in the Pix­ies, Tina Weymouth’s bass in Talk­ing Heads worked as both a rhyth­mic anchor and a propul­sive engine beneath the band’s angu­lar gui­tars and synths. (See her awe­some inter­play above with the band and guest gui­tarist Adri­an Belew dur­ing the Remain in Light tour in Rome.) Wey­mouth not only com­prised one half of the funki­est art rock rhythm sec­tion in exis­tence, but she wrote what is per­haps the funki­est bassline in rock his­to­ry with her own project Tom Tom Club’s “Genius of Love.” It’s almost impos­si­ble to imag­ine what the 80s would have sound­ed like with­out Weymouth’s bass play­ing (though we could have lived with­out her danc­ing).

No list of clas­sic female bass play­ers will ever be complete—there’s always one more name to add, one more bass riff to savor, one more argu­ment to be had over who is over- and under­rat­ed. But it should pro­voke no argu­ment what­so­ev­er to point toward Meshell Nde­geo­cel­lo as not only one of the most tal­ent­ed bass play­ers, but one of the most tal­ent­ed musi­cians peri­od of her gen­er­a­tion. See her and band above play “Dead End” live on KCRW. Unlike most of the play­ers above (except per­haps Car­ol Kaye), Nde­geo­cel­lo is a high­ly tech­ni­cal play­er, but also a very taste­ful one. Much of her music flies under the radar, but most peo­ple will be famil­iar with her cov­er of Van Morrison’s “Wild Nights” with John Cougar Mel­len­camp and her neosoul hit “If That’s Your Boyfriend.”

Again, this is only the briefest, small­est sam­pling of excel­lent female bass players—in rock, jazz, soul, etc. An expand­ed list would include play­ers like Melis­sa Auf der Maur, Esper­an­za Spald­ing, and many more names you may or may not have heard before. One you prob­a­bly haven’t, but should, is the name Tal Wilken­feld, an Aus­tralian prodi­gy who has played with Her­bie Han­cock, Chick Corea, the All­man Broth­ers, and Jeff Beck. (See her absolute­ly kill it in a per­for­mance with Beck above from 2007.) Like Car­ol Kaye many decades before her, Wilken­feld made her name at a very young age, play­ing gui­tar in jazz clubs, and quick­ly became a high­ly in-demand play­er called—at age 21—“the future of bass.” Are there any oth­er women play­ers out there deserv­ing of the title, or of inclu­sion in a bass play­ing Hall of Fame? Let us know in the com­ments, and include a link to your favorite live per­for­mance.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Meet Car­ol Kaye, the Unsung Bassist Behind Your Favorite 60s Hits

Four Female Punk Bands That Changed Women’s Role in Rock

Hear Iso­lat­ed Tracks From Five Great Rock Bassists: McCart­ney, Sting, Dea­con, Jones & Lee

The Sto­ry of the Bass: New Video Gives Us 500 Years of Music His­to­ry in 8 Min­utes

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

Hear All of Mozart in a Free 127-Hour Playlist

wolfgang_amadeus_mozart (1)

“You can’t have Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart as your favorite com­posers,” said con­duc­tor and San Fran­cis­co Sym­pho­ny music direc­tor Michael Tilson Thomas. “They sim­ply define what music is!” True enough, though it does­n’t seem to have stopped any­one from, when asked to name their clas­si­cal music of choice, unhesi­tat­ing­ly respond with the names of Bach, Beethoven, or Mozart — and Mozart most often. So why does the man who com­posed, among oth­er works, the Piano Con­cer­to No. 24 in C minor, the Sym­pho­ny No. 40 in G minor, and Don Gio­van­ni still com­mand such instinc­tive alle­giance near­ly 225 years after his death?

“Mozart did not come from nowhere,” writes New York­er music crit­ic Alex Ross. “He was the prod­uct of a soci­ety that was avid for music on every lev­el, that believed in the pos­si­bil­i­ty of an all-encom­pass­ing musi­cal genius. The soci­ety we live in now believes oth­er­wise; we divide music into sub­cul­tures and sub­gen­res, we sep­a­rate clas­si­cal music from pop­u­lar music, we locate genius in the past.” But as past genius­es go, we’ve picked a good one in Mozart to car­ry for­ward with us into our tech­no­log­i­cal age: the kind of age where you can lis­ten to an 18th-cen­tu­ry com­poser’s col­lect­ed works with the sim­ple click of a mouse.

The sim­ple click of a mouse, that is, onto this Spo­ti­fy playlist of the com­plete Chrono­log­i­cal Mozart, brought to you by the same folks who put togeth­er the playlists we’ve pre­vi­ous­ly fea­tured of 68 hours of Shake­speare and the clas­si­cal music in Stan­ley Kubrick­’s films. (If you don’t yet have the free soft­ware need­ed to lis­ten, down­load it here.) A few tracks have van­ished since the playlist’s cre­ation (such are the vicis­si­tudes of Spo­ti­fy) but it still offers about 127 hours of the (most­ly) com­plete works of Wolf­gang Amadeus Mozart, the afore­men­tioned famous pieces and well beyond. Lis­ten and you’ll not only under­stand why Mozart defines what music is, but — apolo­gies to Michael Tilson Thomas — why you, too, should num­ber him among your favorites.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Leck Mich Im Arsch (“Kiss My Ass”): Lis­ten to Mozart’s Scat­o­log­i­cal Canon in B Flat (1782)

Ger­man String Quar­tet Per­forms Vival­di & Mozart in Delight­ful­ly Com­i­cal & Acro­bat­ic Rou­tine

New­ly Dis­cov­ered Piece by Mozart Per­formed on His Own Fortepi­ano

Read an 18th-Cen­tu­ry Eye­wit­ness Account of 8‑Year-Old Mozart’s Extra­or­di­nary Musi­cal Skills

The Recy­cled Orches­tra: Paraguayan Youth Play Mozart with Instru­ments Clev­er­ly Made Out of Trash

The Clas­si­cal Music in Stan­ley Kubrick’s Films: Lis­ten to a Free, 4 Hour Playlist

Col­in Mar­shall writes on cities, lan­guage, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer, and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

Harper Lee Gets a Request for a Photo; Offers Important Life Advice Instead (2006)

Harper Lee

Harp­er Lee wrote To Kill a Mock­ing­bird in 1960. More than a half decade lat­er, the nov­el remains one of the most wide­ly-read books in Amer­i­can class­rooms. And stu­dents still write the 89-year-old author, request­ing pho­tographs and auto­graphs.

Occa­sion­al­ly, they get a lit­tle more than they bar­gained for. Take, for exam­ple, a stu­dent named “Jere­my,” who wrote Lee in 2006 and request­ed a pho­to. In return, he got some­thing more valu­able and endur­ing: some pithy life advice. The let­ter Harp­er sent to Jere­my reads as fol­lows:

06/07/06

Dear Jere­my

I don’t have a pic­ture of myself, so please accept these few lines:

As you grow up, always tell the truth, do no harm to oth­ers, and don’t think you are the most impor­tant being on earth. Rich or poor, you then can look any­one in the eye and say, “I’m prob­a­bly no bet­ter than you, but I’m cer­tain­ly your equal.”

(Signed, ‘Harp­er Lee’)

Lee’s sec­ond nov­el, Go Set a Watch­man, was just released last week — 55 years after her debut. You can read the first chap­ter (and also hear Reese With­er­spoon read it aloud) here.

via Let­ters of Note

Fol­low us on Face­book, Twit­ter, Google Plus and LinkedIn and share intel­li­gent media with your friends. And if you want to make sure that our posts def­i­nite­ly appear in your Face­book news­feed, just fol­low these sim­ple steps.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Stephen King Writes A Let­ter to His 16-Year-Old Self: “Stay Away from Recre­ation­al Drugs”

Harp­er Lee on the Joy of Read­ing Real Books: “Some Things Should Hap­pen On Soft Pages, Not Cold Met­al”

74 Essen­tial Books for Your Per­son­al Library: A List Curat­ed by Female Cre­atives

Miles Davis Covers Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature” (1983)

What hap­pens when the Prince of Dark­ness cov­ers the King of Pop?

Miles Davis’ deci­sion to record a stu­dio ver­sion of Michael Jackson’s 1983 hit, “Human Nature,” caused Al Fos­ter, his friend and drum­mer, to walk out mid-ses­sion, thus putting an end to their long­time col­lab­o­ra­tion. Davis chalked it up to Foster’s unwill­ing­ness to “play that funky back­beat,” and brought in his nephew, Vince Wilburn, Jr., to fin­ish the job.

Fos­ter must’ve real­ly hat­ed that song.

Say what you will, “Human Nature” is–like most Jack­son hits–an ear worm.

Depend­ing on who you talk to, Davis’ stu­dio track, above, is a either a straight­for­ward homage in which his horn recre­ates “Jack­son’s breathy inti­ma­cy” or “flat, schmaltzy ele­va­tor music.”

Peo­ple’s feel­ings for it tend to echo their response to Jack­son’s orig­i­nal, to which Davis cleaved pret­ty close­ly.

“Human Nature” was writ­ten by Toto’s key­boardist Steve Por­caro, the son of a jazz musi­cian who idol­ized Davis. He was under­stand­ably hon­ored that his dad’s hero chose to cov­er his work along with Cyn­di Lauper’s “Time after Time,” on 1985’s You’re Under Arrest, one of the pro­lif­ic artist’s final albums.

Davis’ asso­ci­a­tion no doubt con­tributes to the tune’s ongo­ing pop­u­lar­i­ty. Those who want to com­pare and con­trast, can take their pick of reg­gae, hip-hop, elec­tron­i­ca and funked up New Orleans brass ver­sions.

But back to “Human Nature” as ren­dered by Miles Davis. Most crit­ics pre­fer the live ver­sion, below, cap­tured July 7, 1988, at Mon­treux. Slate’s Fred Kaplan described it as “an upbeat rouser” through which Davis “prances.”

As Davis him­self explained in a 1985 inter­view with Richard Cook:

On a song like “Human Nature,” you have to play the right thing. And the right thing is around the melody. I learned that stuff from Cole­man Hawkins. Cole­man could play a melody, get ad-libs, run the chords – and you still heard the melody. I play “Human Nature,” varies every night. After I play the melody, that tag on the end is mine to have fun with. It’s in anoth­er key … uh, D nat­ur­al. Move up a step or so to F nat­ur­al. Then you can play it any way you want to.

Anoth­er remark from the same inter­view proved pre­scient:

You don’t have to do like Wyn­ton Marsalis and play “Star­dust “and that shit… Why can’t “Human Nature” be a stan­dard? It fits. A stan­dard fits like a thor­ough­bred. The melody and every­thing is just right, and every time you hear it you want to hear it some more. And you leave enough of it to know what you want to hear again. When you hear it again, the same feel­ing comes over you. 

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Night When Miles Davis Opened for the Grate­ful Dead in 1970: Hear the Com­plete Record­ings

Miles Davis Opens for Neil Young and “That Sor­ry-Ass Cat” Steve Miller at The Fill­more East (1970)

Watch Miles Davis Impro­vise Music for Ele­va­tor to the Gal­lows, Louis Malle’s New Wave Thriller (1958)

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday

1,000,000 Minutes of Newsreel Footage by AP & British Movietone Released on YouTube

Both Faulkn­er and the physi­cists may be right: the pas­sage of time is an illu­sion. And yet, for as long as we’ve been keep­ing score, it’s seemed that his­to­ry real­ly exists, in increas­ing­ly dis­tant forms the fur­ther back we look. As Jonathan Crow wrote in a recent post on news ser­vice British Pathé’s release of 85,000 pieces of archival film on YouTube, see­ing doc­u­men­tary evi­dence of just the last cen­tu­ry “real­ly makes the past feel like a for­eign country—the weird hair­styles, the way a city street looked, the breath­tak­ing­ly casu­al sex­ism and racism.” (Of course there’s more than enough rea­son to think future gen­er­a­tions will say the same of us.) British Pathé’s archive seems exhaustive—until you see the lat­est dig­i­tized col­lec­tion on YouTube from AP (Asso­ci­at­ed Press) and British Movi­etone, which spans from 1895 to the present and brings us thou­sands more past tragedies, tri­umphs, and hair­styles

This release of “more than 1 mil­lion min­utes” of news, writes Vari­ety, includes archival footage of “major world events such as the 1906 San Fran­cis­co earth­quake, exclu­sive footage of the bomb­ing of Pearl Har­bor in 1941, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the 2001 ter­ror­ist attacks on the U.S.” And so much more, such as the news­reel above, which depicts Berlin in 1945, even­tu­al­ly get­ting around to doc­u­ment­ing the Pots­dam Con­fer­ence (at 3:55), where Churchill, Stal­in, and Tru­man cre­at­ed the 17th par­al­lel in Viet­nam, dic­tat­ed the terms of the Ger­man occu­pa­tion, and planned the com­ing Japan­ese sur­ren­der. No one at the time could have accu­rate­ly fore­seen the his­tor­i­cal rever­ber­a­tions of these actions.

Anoth­er strange, even uncan­ny piece of film shows us the Eng­lish foot­ball team giv­ing the Nazi salute in 1938 at the com­mence­ment of a game against Ger­many. “That’s shock­ing now,” says Alwyn Lind­say, the direc­tor of AP’s inter­na­tion­al archive, “but it wasn’t at the time.” Films like these have become of much more inter­est since The Sun pub­lished pho­tographs of the roy­al family—including a young Queen Eliz­a­beth II and her uncle Prince (lat­er King, then Duke) Edward VIII—giving Nazi salutes in 1933. Though it was not par­tic­u­lar­ly con­tro­ver­sial, and the chil­dren of course had lit­tle idea what it sig­ni­fied, it did turn out that Edward (seen here) was a would-be Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tor and remained an unapolo­getic sym­pa­thiz­er.

This huge video trove does­n’t just doc­u­ment the grim his­to­ry of the Sec­ond World War, of course. As you can see in the AP’s intro­duc­to­ry mon­tage at the top of the post, there is “a world of his­to­ry at your fingertips”—from tri­umphant video like Nel­son Man­de­la’s release from prison, above, to the below film of “Crazy 60s Hats in Glo­ri­ous Colour.” And more or less every oth­er major world event, dis­as­ter, dis­cov­ery, or wide­spread trend you might name from the last 120 or so years.

The archive splits into two YouTube chan­nels: AP offers both his­tor­i­cal and up-to-the-minute polit­i­cal, sports, celebri­ty, sci­ence, and “weird and wacky” videos (with “new con­tent every day”). The British Movi­etone chan­nel is sole­ly his­tor­i­cal, with much of its con­tent com­ing from the 1960s (like those hats, and this video of the Bea­t­les receiv­ing their MBE’s, and oth­er “Beat­le­ma­nia scenes.”)

Movi­etone’s one nod to the present takes the form of “The Archivist Presents,” in which a his­to­ri­an offers quirky con­text on some bit of archival footage, like that above of the Kinks get­ting their hair curled. The com­plete­ly uniron­ic lounge music and casu­al­ly sex­ist nar­ra­tion will make you both smile and wince, as do Ray Davies and com­pa­ny when they see their new hair. Most of the films in this mil­lion min­utes of news footage (and count­ing) tend to elic­it either or both of these two emo­tion­al reactions—joy (or amuse­ment) or mild to intense hor­ror, and watch­ing them makes the past they show us feel para­dox­i­cal­ly more strange and more imme­di­ate at once.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Free: British Pathé Puts Over 85,000 His­tor­i­cal Films on YouTube

New Archive Makes Avail­able 800,000 Pages Doc­u­ment­ing the His­to­ry of Film, Tele­vi­sion & Radio

700 Free Movies Online: Great Clas­sics, Indies, Noir, West­erns, etc. 

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness.

A Master List of 1,150 Free Courses From Top Universities: 35,000 Hours of Audio/Video Lectures

free courses online 1000

Dur­ing these sum­mer months, we’ve been busy rum­mag­ing around the inter­net and adding new cours­es to our big list of Free Online Cours­es, which now fea­tures 1,150 cours­es from top uni­ver­si­ties. Let’s give you the quick overview: The list lets you down­load audio & video lec­tures from schools like Stan­ford, Yale, MIT, Oxford and Har­vard. Gen­er­al­ly, the cours­es can be accessed via YouTube, iTunes or uni­ver­si­ty web sites, and you can lis­ten to the lec­tures any­time, any­where, on your com­put­er or smart phone. We did­n’t do a pre­cise cal­cu­la­tion, but there’s prob­a­bly about 35,000 hours of free audio & video lec­tures here. Enough to keep you busy for a very long time.

Right now you’ll find 133 free phi­los­o­phy cours­es, 85 free his­to­ry cours­es, 120 free com­put­er sci­ence cours­es, 71 free physics cours­es and 55 Free Lit­er­a­ture Cours­es in the col­lec­tion, and that’s just begin­ning to scratch the sur­face. You can peruse sec­tions cov­er­ing Astron­o­my, Biol­o­gy, Busi­nessChem­istry, Eco­nom­ics, Engi­neer­ing, Math, Polit­i­cal Sci­ence, Psy­chol­o­gy and Reli­gion.

Here are some high­lights from the com­plete list of Free Online Cours­es. We’ve added a few unconventional/vintage cours­es in the mix just to keep things inter­est­ing.

The com­plete list of cours­es can be accessed here: 1,200 Free Online Cours­es from Top Uni­ver­si­ties

Relat­ed Con­tent:

1,000 Free Audio Books: Down­load Great Books for Free.

800 Free eBooks for iPad, Kin­dle & Oth­er Devices.

4,000+ Free Movies Online: Great Clas­sics, Indies, Noir, West­erns, Doc­u­men­taries & More.

Learn 48 Lan­guages Online for Free: Span­ish, Chi­nese, Eng­lish & More.

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Björk Presents Groundbreaking Experimental Musicians in Modern Minimalists, a 1997 Documentary

Exper­i­men­tal music, by its very nature, stays out of the main­stream. All styles of music begin as exper­i­ments, but most soon­er or lat­er, in one form or anoth­er, find their way to pop­u­lar accep­tance. But if one liv­ing musi­cian per­son­i­fies the intrigu­ing bor­der­lands between the pop­u­lar and the exper­i­men­tal, Björk does: since at least the 1980s (and, tech­ni­cal­ly, the 1970s), she has steadi­ly put out records that con­sti­tute mas­ter class­es in how to keep push­ing forms for­ward while main­tain­ing a wide fan base, seem­ing­ly giv­ing the lie to John Cage’s dic­tum that mak­ing some­thing 20 per­cent new means a loss of 80 per­cent of the audi­ence.

Cage, an icon of min­i­mal­ist exper­i­men­tal music who still caught the pub­lic ear now and again, does­n’t appear in the BBC’s Mod­ern Min­i­mal­ists [part one, part two], but only because he died in 1992, five years before it aired. But this Björk-host­ed whirl­wind tour through the com­pa­ny of a selec­tion of inno­v­a­tive min­i­mal­ist com­posers of the day actu­al­ly feels, at points, a bit like Cage’s 1960 per­for­mance of Water Walk on I’ve Got a Secret: we not only hear them talk, but we hear their music, see them make it, and get an insight into the way they work and — per­haps most impor­tant­ly — the way they think.

“When I was asked to do this pro­gram,” Björk says in her dis­tinc­tive Ice­landic inflec­tion, “it was very impor­tant for me to intro­duce the peo­ple I think are chang­ing music today.” That ros­ter includes Alas­dair Mal­loy from Scot­land, Mika Vainio from Fin­land, and, most famous­ly, Arvo Pärt from Esto­nia. Björk not only draws out their musi­cal philoso­phies, but responds with a few of her own.

“Peo­ple have moved away from plots and struc­tures, and moved to its com­plete oppo­site, which is tex­tures,” she says over a series of post­mod­ern land­scapes, “A place to live in, or an envi­ron­ment, or a still­ness.” And the role of the musi­cian in that mod­ern real­i­ty? “To take these every­day nois­es that are ugly, and make them beau­ti­ful. By this, they’re doing mag­ic.”

via Net­work Awe­some

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Watch Björk’s 6 Favorite TED Talks, From the Mush­room Death Suit to the Vir­tu­al Choir

Hear the Album Björk Record­ed as an 11-Year-Old: Fea­tures Cov­er Art Pro­vid­ed By Her Mom (1977)

A Young Björk Decon­structs (Phys­i­cal­ly & The­o­ret­i­cal­ly) a Tele­vi­sion in a Delight­ful Retro Video

Björk and Sir David Atten­bor­ough Team Up in a New Doc­u­men­tary About Music and Tech­nol­o­gy

John Cage Per­forms Water Walk on US Game Show I’ve Got a Secret (1960)

Col­in Mar­shall writes on cities, lan­guage, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer, and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.