DATE: Thursday, March 3rd, 2005
TIME: 8:00pm – 10:00pm
LOCATION: Ceremony Hall
ADDRESS: 4100 Red River (map)
ADMISSION: $12 general; $10 for members/students
AGES: All ages
Phill Niblock [Experimental Intermedia, Touch]
(New York, NY)
Phill Niblock is an intermedia artist using music, film, photography, video and computers. He was born in Indiana in 1933. Since the late 1960’s, he has been a maverick presence on the fringes of the avant garde. He makes thick, loud digitally-processed drones filled with microtones of instrumental timbres which generate many other tones in the performance space. The result is sound without melody or rhythm. Movement is slow, geologically slow. Changes are almost imperceptible, and his music has a tendency of creeping up on you. His performances are physical experiences, affecting the listener in dramatic ways.
Far from being purely digital or electronic constructions, Niblock’s drones incorporate a variety of live and sampled instruments, often pitch shifted and processed to create a smeared, stretched incarnation of the original sound. Acoustic conditions are an important factor in Phill’s music. What the listener hears depends to a large degree on the space where it’s being played, the location of the listener within that space, etc. Due to the importance of these elements, Niblock prefers live presentations of his music, where he has some degree of control over the circumstances. This preference has resulted in very few commercially available Phill Niblock recordings. But he has recently begun to release more albums, including one on Jim O’Rourke’s exclusive Moikai label, another on Mute’s experimental sublabel Blast First, and several on the highly respected Touch Records. And despite a lack of early recorded work, Niblock’s music has influenced a generation of younger composers, including Glenn Branca, Susan Stenger, Lois V Vierk, and David First.
Niblock’s films and videos also play an important role in his presentations. His films, which he shot in China, Mexico, Peru and Hungary, are painstaking studies of manual labor, giving a poetic dignity to the sheer grueling slog of fishermen at work, rice-planters, log-splitters, water-hole dredgers and other back-breaking toilers. They often depict people in non-industrialized communities, doing manual labor involving continually repeated movements, while their faces are often kept outside the frame. The films and the music combine elements that seem contradictory, creating tension as a result. However, there are striking parallels between the image and sounds as well, not because one was made as a companion to the other, but because of correspondences at a deeper level. Both display movements within a larger frame that changes at an exceedingly slow rate, evoking simultaneous sensations of motion and immobility. This juxtaposition can bring about a curiously alert trance-like condition, in which associations have free reign.+ View Printed Program (PDF)
View Event Photos →
About the Performance Series
The Austin Museum of Digital Art (AMODA) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to engage the public and artists in the creation, understanding, and appreciation of digital art. The Performance Series is focused on presenting experimental music and digital performance art in a contemplative setting. More info →