French selection 2019

Niblock’s Sound Spectrums – Within Invisible Rivers

Thomas Maury

2019France110 min

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. 
–Jérôme Momcilovic

  • 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

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