Niblock’s Sound Spectrums – Within Invisible Rivers
The main virtue of the film is to afford Phill Niblock’s music the necessary listening time. Now aged 85, Niblock is one of the most tireless ambassadors of American minimal music, in the vein of psychoactive statics (La Monte Young, Charlemagne Palestine), rather than arithmetic hypnosis (Steve Reich, Philip Glass). His long stretches of sound, always similar but constantly changing, sculpt time much like Warhol, Akerman or Benning have done with the additional help of images. Moreover, Niblock is a filmmaker. In 1973, in the four corners of the world and under the auspices of the Lumière brothers, he observed the mechanics of work gestures in The Movement of People Working. His images like his endless chords bore deep into the eye and ear, which could well explain his singular quietude in between the few words he offers up to Thomas Maury in the film. Others (Eliane Radigue, Jim O’Rourke, Alan Licht), more talkative, have much to say about him. But Niblock’s Sound Spectrums, when it is not offering the bed of its own images to Niblock’s rivers of sound, is also a film about work. The monastic concentration of this sound sculptor in his workshop, as he carves out a single note in the company of his successor, Stephen O’Malley, speaks louder than words of the beauty of this modest and precious crafting of trance.
Thomas Maury was born in Sarlat, France, in 1986. In 2009, he graduated with higher national diploma from the Haute École des Arts du Rhin de Strasbourg, specialised in illustration. After several publications and exhibitions in France, Germany, Belgium and the Czech Republic, he has continued his visual research with cinema. In 2010, he began a film on Phill Niblock, a major American minimalist composer.
- PRODUCTION : Thomas Maury