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Saturday, April 07, 2007

Xiu Xiu and Co.

Back when I thought I would certainly be all done with work on my thesis the night before it was due, I planned to go to a Xiu Xiu show with Shane on Thursday night. Despite not actually being done, I went anyway, and it was definitely worth it. It was at the Ottobar, which I like a lot better than Sonar, the big venue downtown. Ottobar is smaller, the sound is better, and it I just like the vibe better.

I wasn't familiar with the first opener, Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, though Susie had coincidentally mentioned them a few days before. In any case, "them" turns out to be a misnomer, because it's just one dude, Owen Ashworth, with a bank of cheap Casio keyboards and some other audio equipment. It turned out to be really cool, and Shane and I both bought CDs.

I've been enjoying the album I bought, Etiquette. Two of the songs, Bobby Malone Moves Home[mp3] and Young Shields[mp3] are available for free.

You can tell that Ashworth is a film school dropout from the instructions he gave the makers of the video for Young Shields:
1 . All footage must be taken from nine different shots, each 2 minutes 59 seconds in length.
2. Each shot must be taken from a different location.
3. All footage must be shot outdoors, using only available, artificial light.
4. No script, no actors. Any persons appearing in the video must be strangers to you.
5. No stationary shots. The camera must constantly be in motion, but without zooms.
6 . No special effects, titles, or any sort of post-production treatments can be made to the images.
7. All audio must come from a single, on-location microphone.
8. All audio must be cut to match the image, without any other
audio source. hence, the song must be broadcast wherever you are filming and recorded as part of the environment.
9. The video must run for the exact length of the song.

Oh yeah, Xiu Xiu were great, too. I'd seen them once before in Minneapolis, and this time they had a drummer with them, which was a big plus. While the second opener, Shearwater, had been dramatic, it seemed forced and overdone. Xiu Xiu, by contrast, was genuinely dramatic and freaky -- it makes for a great live show.

3 comments:

lj said...

Those video instructions sound like Dogme95.

teague said...

Thank you, LJ -- I was thinking that it reminded me of some experimental cinema thing I had heard of, but couldn't quite recall.

I think the idea of having restrictions like that is cool, because it makes you focus your creativity, but in this case I think I would have liked the video better if a few of them hadn't been there. I also noticed that in the comments on YouTube one of the people who made it said "I hated making this video."

lj said...

No problem. These kind of things always make me think of this one Stravinsky quote that I can never seem to remember exactly. Google's first hit claims it goes like this:

"My freedom will be so much the greater and more meaningful the more narrowly I limit my field of action and the more I surround myself with obstacles. Whatever diminishes constraint diminishes strength. The more constraints one imposes, the more one frees one's self of the chains that shackle the spirit."
Igor Stravinsky, Poetics of Music

Along these lines, I enjoyed "The Five Obstructions", a sort-of documentary in which Lars von Trier (a sometime Dogme95 guy) challenges his hero and mentor to remake a film of his (which is von Trier's favorite film) under 5 different sets of constraints.

Although it doesn't seem to be the case in The Five Obstructions, I gather that many people have hated working with von Trier.