Manafonistas

on life, music etc beyond mainstream

 


 
 
 

ARGO ist eine illuminierte, interaktive Musikkomposition von Jacopo Baboni Schilingi (Mailand 1971 – )

 

Schilingi forscht auf technologischem Gebiet nach neuen Möglichkeiten, Musik zu komponieren. Seine Werke sind mit Algorithmen programmiert. Die abgebildete Installation bewegt sich seit 2017 ständig neu, die sich verändernden  Klänge reagieren auf das Atmen der Zeit.

 

The Guitar (1) – I have a Martin 12-string that my father gave to me. (…) It’s an old guitar, now. It has a peculiar internal resonance, as though it has a small concert hall inside of it. I try to bring that quality out by stringing the guitar in double courses. In other words, instead of stringing the 4 lower strings with octave courses, I string them in unison. It makes it a lot harder to play, but with double courses I can draw out overtones if I’m willing to really physically engage the strings.

 

The favourite guitarists? It’s not a discovery often made, no matter how much guitar music hits your ears. Neil Young, wizard – electric. Ralph Towner, wizard – acoustic. Yes. And when I heard Steve Tibbetts for the first time, it was a revelation: Northern Song (1981) followed by Safe Journey (1984). All those singular albums, among them Big Map Idea (1989) and Full Moon Dogs (1994). 

I’ve been returning ever since. Always returning.

Tibbetts‘ albums only appear sporadically. You wait in anticipation for the next one. Some very interesting side projects pop up on other labels along the way, while in the meantime ECM always offer a kind of constant companionship. (It’s worth noting here that Northern Song was the only album produced by Manfred Eicher – no introduction necessary.)

A unique sound-world created from St. Paul, Minnesota. A guitar sound you recognise after seconds, never formula. The thrill comes from just listening, and letting  go. And now, LIFE OF. Steve Tibbetts, Marc Anderson, Michelle Kinney, the inner circle. What made me quite so addicted to this music? Honestly I’ll never really know. This confession of not-knowing puts a bigger smile on my face than evocative pictures of distant worlds. 

 
 
 

 
 
 

Michael Engelbrecht: Steve, at first, this photo with the turkeys … a walk through the woods?

 

Steve Tibbetts: This is my back yard in Minnesota.The turkeys arrive around 9 in the morning and cluster outside, gobbling. They are out there right now, talking to each other. There is a bird feeder above them, hanging off of a balcony, so they scratch around in the snow and leaves looking for bird food. The turkeys are quite tame, and they associate our bipedal primate family with food, so they sometimes come running and making sounds when they hear the back door open. Sometimes rival gangs of turkeys go to war in our back yard. It is really something to see and hear. At those time their raptor past is revealed. 

 

Michael Engelbrecht: LIFE OF is vintage Tibbetts, all compositions are credited to you, I think, for the first time ever. It is more on the quiet side, like NATURAL CAUSES, but with its own darknesses and edges.

 

Steve Tibbetts: Yes, it’s of a piece with the last album. They’re relatives. 

 

The Guitar (2) – The frets on my guitar are worn almost flat. There are some tiny intonation issues and places where strings buzz against frets. I took the twelve-string to Ron at St. Paul Guitar repair. He looked the guitar over. He picked up the guitar and sighted down the fretboard. He said, “The frets are flat. There might be some buzzing or intonation issues. Do you like the way it sounds?” I said, “I love the way it sounds.” He handed the guitar back over the counter to me and said, “Then I won’t fix it for you.”

 

Michael Engelbrecht: Looking at the titles, they seem like a collection of people from your life and times. What made you combine the pieces with certain names?

 

Steve Tibbetts: A lot of the songs have a similar feeling to them. I let them cross-pollinate. In order to more easily distinguish them I gave them names a few years ago, and I used the names of friends and family.  Some of those names started influencing the music.  It was a little spooky, but I played along with the process. Some names have more than one reference in my family. For instance, there are several women named „Alice,“ two named „Joel,“ and so on. One of the Joels died last year, another is still living. This sort of thing can give the music a peculiar resonance. „Half of ‚Joel‘ died,“ I might think to myself. This is typical of the managed insanity inherent in the artistic process. It is good to use any upwelling of meaning and emotion you can find, but you have to maintain due diligence and stay sane. 

 

Michael Engelbrecht: „Life of Carol“ – is there a story?

 

Steve Tibbetts: No story, I’m afraid. It’s just another guitar circling, circling.  

 

The Guitar (3) – I try to play the guitar for one or two hours before recording. Something needs warming up. Maybe the back of the twelve-string needs to be physically warmed up, or my fingertips need a certain pliability. At some point the guitar settles down and the little concert hall inside opens for business. I like the physicality of playing 12-string. I don’t use a pick. If I’m drifting off to sleep at night and feel my fingertips throbbing I know I had a good day.

 

Michael Engelbrecht: There‘s a kind of discreet tension between some more introspective moods, carefully developed dynamics – and the haunting picture on the cover with the „army of cats“. 

 

Steve Tibbetts: Yes, just open up the back door at the right time of day and you’ll see turkeys and ghosts waiting and staring. 

 
 
 

 
 
 

Michael Engelbrecht: Are you making use of meditation or other tools to stimulate creativity?

 

Steve Tibbetts: The process of creativity is really hard to talk about: where does creativity come from? How does artistic vision and inspiration arise? It is a nearly tangible experience when inspiration finally does come to visit, but it’s still very ephemeral and vapor-like.  To go one step further and talk about a meditative influence on the creative process would be a bridge too far, I think. One can only speculate. An interesting thing however: sometimes an apparent spiritual or creative awakening is not at all meditative or serene in its manifestation. Look at „A Love Supreme“ or, especially, „The Inner Mounting Flame.“ There’s a kind of violence there that seems exactly right. Be leery of anyone who speaks with authority about practices of meditation and their impact on the creative process. Be afraid, be very afraid.  

 

Michael Engelbrecht: The music seems to be more centered around sound and texture than around melodies, for example. It seems to circle around an invisible center …

 

Steve Tibbetts: Part of that is my being easily satisfied with circular musical logic. When I worked in Southeast Asia I got used to music that didn’t really go anywhere. It always folded back on itself and it seemed right that it did so. I wish I could compose a piece of music with real changes and progression but I don’t really know how to.  

 

Michael Engelbrecht: Your love for your acoustic 12-string guitar is a life long affair. It is a familiar sound that never gets too familiar …

 

Steve Tibbetts: I remember an interview many years ago with Nana Vasconcelos where he talked about the berimbau which is, as you know, a 1-stringed instrument – a bow, a wire, a stick and a shaker. He said he found new sounds every day on the instrument. I feel the same way about this 12-string. There’s always something new, or something old that refines itself. I can’t take credit for a good sounding instrument.  

 

Michael Engelbrecht: There‘ s such a special balance between the rhythmic parts of the music and the drone fields (of sampled sounds, Michelle‘s cello sounds etc.) Remember Miles Davis, in his electric period 69-75, also had, inside the whirlpool of energy, those stop-and-go passages inside the music. Of course it is a very distant parallel, but in your pieces here, one can also observe a lot of moments where the music seems to hold its breath, stand still, before moving on, and back again …

 

Steve Tibbetts: Yes, I have a copy of „Get Up With It“ at the studio; „Rated X.“ Badal Roy plays tabla. I think that may have been more Teo Maceo than Miles. It’s always special when a great artist works with a visionary producer.  

 

Mixing – The small concert hall in the guitar encouraged me to seek out a large concert hall to mix the album in. The Macalaster College music department kindly let me bivouac in their concert hall for an evening. I set up two pairs of mics: one in the center of the hall, and one pair in back. It worked well to allow a room’s ambience to settle around the piano and percussion. The natural acoustics of the hall helped the guitar settle into the piano.

 
 

 
 
 

Michael Engelbrecht: Apropos piano, you have played that instrument on „Natural Causes“ for the first time. Was the reason for that to keep the spirit of the beginner awake who has, according to Zen teaching, at times more fresh choices than the highly virtuoso & professional „approach“?

 

Steve Tibbetts: I just wanted to be able to read music a little bit. I read a review of a book about Bach’s „Musical Offering.“ As I recall, the book titled „Evening In The Palace Of Reason“ concerns a challenge from the King of Prussia to Bach. The King presented Bach a theme, a melody, and tasked him with improvising a fugue from it. Bach took up the challenge and played a 3-voiced fugue. The King’s request to create a six-part fugue ex tempore could not be fulfilled by Bach, because the Royal Theme was too difficult for that. The „Musical Offering“ contains a 6-part fugue, elaborated on desk. When I read that, I thought, „Even if I saw the music I wouldn’t be able to understand what Bach had done.“ I wanted to understand. So I began studying with Susana Pinto and she taught me Bartok‘s „Mikrokosmos“ and Bach’s „Inventions.“

 

Michael Engelbrecht: I keep circling, too, a bit. Listening to „Life Of“ you can easily feel something brooding, some darkness, a certain twilight zone. Is the origin for these sensations unknown – or somehow graspable? Echoes from all those „stranger things“ you experienced in Asia?

 

Steve Tibbetts: There is sometimes a sort of credulous enthusiasm to believe in „stranger things“, as you say, especially in Asia. Nonetheless there does seem to be a certain permeability to the fabric of reality in some places in the world. A friend of mine called it „thinness.“ You can look for that in music and art as well. You listen and there is a quiet collapse of duality, self and other. This might sound terribly exotic or over-thought, but if you watch your mind when you listen to music you might witness a kind of melting.

 
 
 

 
 
 

Michael Engelbrecht: After all these years, you and the percussionist at your side, Marc Anderson, did develop a kind of „secret language“ in the studio, not always easy to understand for people you start working with. But Michele Kinney is long enough part of your „inner circle“, I think.

 

Steve Tibbetts: No secret codes. Michelle can make her cello sound like a distant electric guitar feeding back through a Marshall amp. Tony Iommi-style.

 

Michael Engelbrecht: Haha, echoes from Bach and Black Sabbath within a minute. Now, Steve, living in Minnesota: did you follow those cold winter chills that were part of the three seasons of „Fargo“ (I love them!), and the original movie by the Coen brothers? Do you have a favourite TV series at the moment?

 

Steve Tibbetts: Yes, there is definitely a Minnesota way of being that I have grown to love. Very Norwegian, taciturn, reserved. I moved here from Wisconsin in 1972 and this is my home now. I like the way people are here, and I like the devotion to arts, education, and the liberal politics of this state. Some great political figures have come from Minnesota: Al Franken, Hubert Humphrey, Walter Mondale, Eugene McCarthy, and especially Paul Wellstone. And, mhmm, Favorite TV series: politics and the Scandinavia mindset probably figure into my enjoyment of „Okkupert.“

 

Michael Engelbrecht: I know you have quite a big ECM collection. What was the last discovery or re-discovery inside the new or old ECM releases? I personally re-discovered that wonderful Shankar album „Vision“ with Jan Garbarek and Palle Mikkelborg. When I played it on air, the needle died a slow death and added weird distortions to Garbarek‘s high notes.

 

Steve Tibbetts: I don’t have to re-discover the first 300 albums in the ECM catalog; I’ve never really left them! I have „Dis“ on now, as I write this. Brooding, dark, just the way we like it.

 

Michael Engelbrecht: Wow – this is a lovely synchronicity. Yesterday, on the day you wrote this, I felt the urgent need to listen to an ancient ECM recording, I haven’t heard in years and that didn’t leave my turntable for weeks when it had been released deep in the last century. „Witchi-Tai-To“ from the Jan Garbarek-Bobo Stenson quartet. On the opening track, the Carla Bley-composition „Air“, his sopranino sounds sharp like a tool for cracking ice. Listening to that record now, I‘m still stunned, and not so much on memory lane. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Steve!

 

The End – I still think in terms of albums, even in terms of album sides. I lined up the songs, left to right, and worked with the running order until it seemed to hang together or make some sort of story. I played the ending of every song with the beginning of every other song until a plot started to reveal itself (this is what happens when you work alone—musical plots reveal themselves). Here’s how it ends: The kids went to college. Their parents were sad for a little while, then fine. Ellen lived and is in remission. Grandma died. Grandpa was sad. Everyone else lived as happily ever after as could be expected.

 

The End (2) – The texts about the guitar, the mixing process, and „the end“ were taken from Steve Tibbetts’ Life Of-page. Steve’s landscape photo belongs to the „thin places of the world“ he’s talking about, and is from Ramagrama, near Lumbini, 2015. This assembly is a truely manafonistic work: thanks to „Joey“ Siemer for fighting the devil in the details, and his sensitive, delicate and tactful design that allows linear and non-linear reading. Thanks to Ian McCartney for giving my small introduction the right groove and sharpness. Thanks to my late English teacher Dr. Egon Werlich who inspired my love for English language and culture (I still have in mind what he told us about the Beatles song „When I’m Sixty-Four“ – and I never got a better introduction to the works of Samuel Beckett (on an existential level, no smart-ass knowledge). Thanks to Hans-Dieter Klinger for cross-checking the Bach anecdote – Steve asked for this. Hans Dieter, former music teacher, once invited Keith Jarrett to play a solo concert in his school in Kronach (German hinterland), and still remembers well how carefully Manfred Eicher had placed the microphones. A week later music history was in the making – The Köln Concert happened! And, to be circling one more time: thank you for LIFE OF, Steve – „Where-am-I-music“ of a rare kind!

2018 14 Mai

BOOM FOR REAL

von | Kategorie: Blog | Tags:  | 1 Kommentar

 

 
 
 

SLEDGEHAMMER EYES

THE LAW OF LIQUIDS

HIGHER MONKEYS

THREE MISSING LINKS

A RUBBER LION

COLONIES OF BLACK RODENTS

THAT THORN IN MY HEAD NAGGING MY FISTS CLOSED

YOU CAN’T SELL A HUMAN

AN ORPHAN

A BIT TOO BITTER

I WAS CURSED FROM BIRTH

NOT IN PRAISE OF POISON

 
 

Nicht nur die Einträge in seinen Notizbüchern geben die Wahrnehmung einer medial fragmentierten Welt wieder, sondern seine Bilder um so klarer und intensiver. Graffiti, Tags, Schlagzeilen, Momentaufnahmen, Mythologien, archaische Embleme, auf das existenzielle heruntergebrochene Satzfragmente in schlagkräftigen Parallelströmen zwischen Multitasking und Aufmerksamkeitsdefiziten, schnell, hart, substanziell. Ein Entwurf, der seiner Zeit weit voraus war. Das viel zu kurze Leben des Jean Michel Basquiat. Dazu der Soundtrack: Beat Bop.

 


 
 
 

Es ist eher ein singuläres Erlebnis, einer monologisierenden Person geteilte Aufmerksamkeit zu schenken. Gestern begegnete ich einer Hutmacherin, die ich ausgesprochen unterhaltsam fand. Mir ist nicht klar, ob sie mich wirklich wahrnahm. Ob die Katze je Montaigne’s Streicheleien erfühlte, oder ob es beim „Streichen“ blieb, wissen wir auch nicht. Da ich auch meinerseits nicht auf ihren Vortrag oder ihre Geschichte reagierte, kann auch ich nicht sicher sein.

 

Eigentlich bin ich Musikerin, Gitarrenspielerin, genauer Gibson Playerin. Ich habe seit Jahren eine Les Paul im Keller. Ich kann sie schlecht in meiner Wohnung aushalten, es macht mich traurig, dass ich sie nicht mehr spielen kann. Ich stand jahrelang auf der Bühne. Sie wog immer schwerer, meine Schultern hielten den „Pott“, wie Les Paul selbst sie treffend nannte, immer weniger aus. Das Vollholzbrett drohte mir das Schlüsselbein wie ein Hühnerbein zu zerquetschen. Ich überlegte kurz, mir eine schlankere E Gitarre zu kaufen, eine Fender Strat etwa – nein, einmal Gibson, immer Gibson. Was habe ich mich die Tage aufgeregt, als Gibson Insolvenz anmeldete. Nicht die Information, dass jetzt keine Qualitätsgitarren mehr gebaut würden, das stimmt ja so gar nicht, ärgerte mich, sondern dass in der Presse das ungesunde Wachstum, verursacht durch falsche Investitionen, mit der Qualität der Gitarre verwechselt wurde. Mit Kopfhörern und Lautsprechern und dem ganzen Konsumentenelektronikkram kann doch nicht die Gibson Qualität geopfert werden. Lieber hole ich persönlich die rote Gibson „ES330“ aus dem Sarg von Chuck Berry, als dass ich das zulasse. Schließlich war die „ES-150“ die erste an Strom angeschlossene Gitarre. Schließlich spielt mein Lieblingsmusiker Ray Davies auf einer „SG“. Die Gibson ist nicht tot zu kriegen, die wird immer gebaut werden. Und wenn sie demnächst eine Gibson mit einem schlankeren Griffbrett vorstellen, versuche ich meinen „Pott“ gegen eine leichtgewichtigere einzutauschen. Obwohl die Schulter nicht mehr mitmacht, deswegen bin ich ja Hutmacherin geworden. Sehen Sie mal dieses rote Modell hier vorne, das hat den Sound, den George Harrison aus seiner Gibson gezaubert hat.

Wenn der Tempo mit dem Jukebox-Man kommt … – wenn ich jetzt hier davon erzählen würde, dass ich beinahe Schläge bezogen habe, nur weil ich eine bestimmte Platte in einer Jukebox drücken wollte, man würde mir nicht glauben. Allerdings, die Geschichte habe ich erlebt. Anyway, vielleicht glaubt man ja Michael Scholl, er schrieb folgenden Gastbeitrag:

 
 

Don’t Cry for Me Argentina

Wie man sich durch die Juke-Box selbst gefährden kann

 

Ort: Ardossan, Schottland, in einer Kneipe mit Spätlizenz

Zeit: Frühjahr 1982 an einem Abend nach 23.00 Uhr

 

Niemand wird glauben, dass es gefährlich sein kann, einen Song an einer Juke-Box auszuwählen.

Im Schuljahr 1981/1982 lebte ich in Schottland und unterrichtete Deutsch als Foreign Assistant Teacher an der Ardrossan Academy. Aber eigentlich war ich noch Student und eher am Ausgehen als am Unterrichten interessiert. Mit dem Sohn meiner Vermieterin und dessen Freunden gingen wir oft abends Bier trinken. Unsere Stammkneipe schloss immer um 23.00 Uhr und es gab nur eine Kneipe in der kleinen Ortschaft, die eine Spätlizenz hatte. Man kann sich vorstellen, welche Leute in welchem Zustand dort nach 23.00 Uhr dort verkehrten. Und natürlich auch wir und im selben Zustand.

In diesem Zustand mag man Musik, die ans Herz geht. Also wählte ich an der Juke-Box dieser Kneipe, nachdem wir uns alle ein weiteres Bier bestellt hatten, den Song „Don’t cry for me Argentina“ aus dem Musical „Evita“ von Andrew Lloyd Webber. Ja, betrunken hat man nicht den besten Geschmack

Unmittelbar nachdem der Song angefangen hatte, zog der Barkeeper den Stecker und die Juke-Box war stumm. Natürlich – angesichts des Zustandes, in dem ich mich befand – ging ich sofort zur Bar und beschwerte mich, was ich besser unterlassen hätte. Ich sah mich plötzlich einer Front bedrohlich aussehender, betrunkener Schotten gegenüber, die mir verständlich machten, dass dieser Song nicht gespielt werde und ich mich besser zurückhalten solle, wenn ich mir weiteren Ärger ersparen wolle.

Wie kam das alles, was war an diesem Lied so schlimm? War es für schottische Ohren eine musikalische Zumutung, die sie nicht ertragen konnten, weil kein Dudelsack dabei war? Nein – es war Falkland-Krieg und solche Musik war schlicht non grata.

Letztendlich ist alles gut gegangen und ich konnte die Kneipe unversehrt verlassen. Was habe ich aus der Situation gelernt? Wenn der Barkeeper die Macht über die Juke-Box ausübt, dann sollte man das hinnehmen. Und die Schotten sind den Engländern mehr verbunden als sie zugeben.

 

Michael Scholl

 

Michael Engelbrecht: For someone with such an approach to music, let‘s call it „minimal input, maximum effect“, you must feel a certain soulmateship with the one record of YOUNG MARBLE GIANTS: COLOSSAL YOUTH. Not only because of the kind of voices you prefer …

 

Bill Wells: It’s funny, a number of people have mentioned that record in comparison with what I do and I can understand why, but it’s an album that I wasn’t aware of at all when it was released, so was therefore not an influence. (I was probably too busy listening to „Gaucho“). I do however really like Alison Statton’s voice, though actually (rather ironically I suppose) I prefer her work with Weekend.

 

Michael: I bet you have a pile of Robert Wyatt albums. I know Robert from heartfelt encounters and interviews for a very long time, lost a bit contact since he retired. Now he, too, sometimes has a special way of using jazz vibes in a very British setting. Can you tell me about your „stories“ with Robert‘s music? 

 

Bill: Yes, for sure. I had a dream that the first six chords of „O Caroline“ were the same as the first six chords as „Streets Of London“. That was the first time I realised I had more musical ability when I was asleep. I did manage to ask him, R.W. I mean, (and indirectly via Douglas T. Stewart) about his version of Little Child, a cover which always fascinated me as he imitates, in a sort of really over the top way, both a child and an adult and I’m not sure how he pulls it off but for me it totally works and, well, I can’t remember the exact answer but he did say something to the effect of it being about the most daring thing he’d ever attempted.

 

Michael: Your new album, Standards Vol. IV, has a musical narrative, from the „almost nothing“ of the first notes till the crescendo in the „showdown area“. Do you remember the time of production, did it all fell into place, or was it more a subconscious process? … 

 

Bill: Well, since you both noticed and asked, I wrote / arranged all the material and recorded most of it as I was heading for a nervous breakdown, then became suicidal and consequently ended up in psychiatric hospital for over a month, that was September 2016. I finished the recording in 2017.

 

Michael: Oh, sorry for that. Ahem … you very carefully chose the moments for Ab‘s viola coming into the foreground … it only happens a few times, and always has this nearly overwhelming quality (your sense for understatement easily undermines the passion involved). And Kate‘s voice: wow! When looking at the responses to the „trio music“, all these „standard albums“, people speak of lightness, nursery rhymes, easy listening, charming pleasures, but rarely rock bottom comes into sight. That there is a darkness hidden of considerable depth. Is there a special source of inspiration for such dark matters delivered with an innocent smile, so to speak? 

 

Bill: No idea.

 
 
 

 
 
 

Michael: Okeydokey … now, hope you are in a good mood for this …

 

Bill: … I’ve certainly felt worse.

 

Michael: Can you name some of your all time favourite records for the infamous desert island …

 

Bill: Well I could but my choices are pretty definite and they’re also mainly ones that are well – known eg The White Album, Innervisions, Kind Of Blue, Hunky Dory so, with that in mind …

 
 

  • Van Dyke Parks – Moonlighting (Van is indeed the man. One great thing about this live recording is that you also hear the spoken intros which are eloquent and witty, as is the music, which is refreshingly out of step with anything else currently going on then or now in contemporary music. Much though I love Brian Wilson’s voice I do prefer the version here of „Orange Crate Art“. I love that quote of his about making pop music that isn’t very popular.)
  • Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath – Live at Willisau … First track – greatest riff of all time, plus ….. icing on the riff cake … an Evan Parker solo! … thinking of food and drink … Gary McFarland – Butterscotch Rum. Jazz arranger that understood pop.
  • Jens Lekman – Life Will See You Now …. One of the best records of last year and one of his best ever.
  • Yumbo – Onibi    Shout out to Saya, Ueno, Tori, Reiko, Namio, Shugo, Otomo, Satomi, Takuji, Satoko, Tetsuya, and Nika.
  • Marvin Gaye – Here My Dear … Best break up album ever.
  • Peter Blegvad – Just Woke Up … Best wake up album ever.
  • Wayne Shorter – Native Dancer … Best Milton Nascimento album ever.
  • Carla Bley – Everything, but just to mention one, Fleur Carnivore which has a beautiful harmonica solo (by Karen Mantler) 
  • Kevin Ayers – Whatevershebringwesing … thinking of great solos, Mike Oldfield on the title track.
  • Mick Softley – Any Mother Doesn’t Grumble … Proof that the good stuff doesn’t always rise to the top.
  • Donald Fagen – all four solo albums.
  • Tyondai Braxton – Central Market … Seamless sonic mix.
  • Tot Taylor – The Girl With Everything … Not an album so I’m taking a slight liberty here …. nevertheless as perfect a pop single as was ever recorded.

 

2018 11 Mai

Wildnis

von | Kategorie: Blog | 2 Kommentare

Irgendwo am Missouri, in der Nähe des Yellow Stone. Es ist die Zeit vor dem Wintereinbruch. Die Gruppe der Jäger hat viel mehr Felle erbeutet als erwartet. Aber es kommt anders. In der ersten Hälfte des 19. Jahrhunderts sind die wichtigsten Utensilien fürs Überleben eine Wasserflasche und ein Stein, um Feuer zu machen. Der Himmel ist immer weit und die Zeichnungen der Wolken. Die Halme am Abend im Gegenlicht. Der Nebel, wie er schwebt über der Steppe. Wege, die keine Wege sind. Zwei schmale Streifen der Schneelandschaft schimmern in der Pupille des gestohlenen Pferdes. You out there? When there´s a storm and you stand in front of a tree … if you look at its branches, you swear it will fall. But if you watch the trunk, you will see its stability. In diesem vom Western inspirierten Film aus dem Jahr 2015, The Revenant (Der Rückkehrer), ist die sonst so ausgeprägte temporeiche Handschrift von Alejandro González Iñárritu kaum wiederzuerkennen. Eine große Stärke ist die Innenwelt der Hauptfigur Huge Glass, die von Leonardo DiCaprio gespielt wird. Die eben erschossene Frau liegt am Boden. Ein kleiner Vogel schlüpft aus dem Ausschnitt ihres Kleides und fliegt davon.

Alle Männer beginnen eine Art Gesang: „Sada sada sada sada sada sada sada sada“. Zwei Männer setzen die Hähne ab und lassen sie laufen. Sie fliegen gegeneinander, ein Gestöber von Flügeln und Federn, übereinander, stop, senkrecht gegeneinander, ihr Nackengefieder ist aufgerichtet, sie fliegen wieder ineinander, wieder und wieder; schliesslich hat einer eine Klinge in seiner Gurgel. „Ahhhh“, rufen die Männer. Blut spritzt, Wetten gewonnen, Bhutakalas, böse Dämonen steigen aus der Erde. Der Dinosaurier, der verloren hat, wird von seinem traurigen Besitzer aufgelesen und einem alten Mann am Rande der Menge, noch lebend, überreicht. Er nimmt ein Messer und den Hahn – er legt den Hahn auf ein Stück Bambus, schneidet den Fuss mit der Klinge ab, und dann durchbohrt die Klinge, an welcher der Fuss noch hängt, das Herz des Hahns. Der Hahn gurgelt und blutet. Blut ist verspritzt worden, die Dämonen kommen heraus, aber sie werden später in der Nacht wieder verscheucht werden, wenn die Jungs ihre Töpfe schlagen.

 

Hills, woods burning. The genre of catastrophy movies has its obvious limitations, heroes are born, and heroes die. At first there is peace, and then everything turns to dust and crumble. This American movie is different, it is exceptional. Certain great works of cinema don‘t need the experimental touch, even the soundtrack (with some ass-kicking rock’n’roll, overflow and dignity in right measures) moves along well-known parameters. The camera work is incredible, the acting superb, the story told with much love for details – and big panorama. Jeff Bridges is the good spirit in the background – when he picks up his guitar and sings a beautiful song, you could start to believe in happy endings. Get lost, dear reader, you might have a lesson to learn – and don‘t tell me you have a problem with „heroes“, they are all flawed and cursed – nothing to bless but fading memories, and the will to love!

 


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