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Kubrick Études is the second work in The Criterion Collection: an ongoing collection of glitchbased pieces that delve into the worlds of iconic filmmakers - each with a unique cinematic style - that have made a marked impact on my aesthetic. Each work is constructed around damaged and deconstructed audio and video from specific films from the auteur’s canon. The resulting errors and imperfections are woven together to create a sonic landscape over which accompanying piano material - itself emulating the traits of broken or malfunctioning media - is performed live.
The first piece in the series, 2010‘s Hitchcock Études, was constructed using sonic material and visuals from four middle period Hitchcock films, extending beyond Bernard Hermann’s soundtrack and into the foley sounds and other audio artifacts present in the film. While creating Kubrick Études I found myself being drawn into other aspects of a markedly different filmmaker's vision resulting in a somewhat contrasting aesthetic than that of the Hitchcock Études. These pieces reflect this dissimilar methodology. Kubrick’s style of pacing, motion, perspective, texture, layering all informed the musical material. I was absorbed in the meticulous symmetry, extreme angles and points of view, long tracking shots, as well as the emphasis on the design, framing, and physical qualities (of, for example, The Overlook Hotel). Add to this the clean, sterile and cold lines - yet basked in warm red hues - of 2001: A Space Odyssey, and the emotional upheaval of the characters (Jack Torrance, Alex De Large, HAL 9000) and a trove of inspiration is there to manipulate.
The interaction of the glitched material with the live performer is what makes the marriage of these two worlds so appealing. The glitch informs the piano writing, instilling an inhuman, machine-like quality. The performer simultaneously breathes new life and emotion into the characters or icons, while bending, stretching, and even hacking the original context, function and storyline. There is something sinister and terrifying when the performer infiltrates the scene and engages with the (often psychotic) character; at once becoming part of the terror, yet also nudging it into a new direction.
I've taken to using a number of new techniques, one of which is integrating the ambient room sound that is captured by the built in microphone of my video camera. Rather than digitally ripping the audio and visuals directly from the DVD I videotaped the screen while capturing the sound using the mic. This lo-tech alternative has the benefit of added resonance and a breathy pitched room sound that can be shifted to create melodies that are synchronous with the mutating imagery.
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