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October 28, 1987 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1987-10-28

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Page 10-The Michigan Daily-Wednesday, October 28, 1987






By Matthew Smith
The practice of using guitars, or
rather abusing them, in ways that
guitars were not intended to be used
(abused?) has become a familiar
musical trend in recent years. That
is, outside the realm of mainstream
music. The nervous atonal
stutterings of Blixa Bargeld
(Einsttirzende Neubauten), and the
guerilla guitar tactics of Thurston
Moore and Lee Ranaldo (Sonic
Youth), not to mention the dis-
orienting strains of Glenn Branca's
multi-guitar holocausts, have all
become more or less commonplace
these days.
This was not the case however,
when British guitar virtuoso Fred
Frith first started to develop his
highly experimental, multi-faceted
guitar stylings. Frith began making
strange sounds with guitars as far
back as the late 1960s. Throughout
the span of his career, he has made
records with Henry Cow, Art Bears,
Skeleton Crew, and as a solo artist.

His countless collaborations include
work with such notables as Bill
Laswell, Brian Eno, Robert Wyatt,
and the Residents, to name only a
Frith manipulates and mutates the
guitar to convey a wide variety of
emotions. His guitars sometimes
drift between brutal, jagged, dis-
orienting states and delicately
executed melodies. He often
experiments with other instruments
as well, such as violin, keyboards,
and various percussion instruments.
Frith stands as one of modern
music's quirkiest, most unpredict-
able individuals.
Hans Reichel is a German-born
guitarist of similar repute, though he
is not as well known as Frith.
British avant-jazz drummer Chris
Cutler (in a conversation at Monday
night's Pere Ubu gig) describes
Reichel as "one of the most brilliant
and innovative guitarists that has
ever lived." Like Frith, Hans Reichel
has played around in music circles
all over the world. He builds his

own instruments, which are
evidently as strangely constructed as
his music. Though his playing is
bizarre and unorthodox, it is highly
regarded for possessing a range of
emotions that few guitarists manage
to convey.
Tonight, Joe's Star Lounge In
Something Of A State of Transience
(he prefers Exile) will bring Fred
Frith and Hans Reichel to the Ark.
Each guitar virtuoso will play a solo
set, to be followed by a collaborative
performance. This promises to be a
compelling musical endeavor, as
Frith's past Ann Arbor performances
are still talked about. For those
unfamiliar with Fred Frith, it is a
good opportunity to check out a
pioneer of what many people these
days might label the "Sonic Youth
sound." In any case, we'll hopefully
get a glimpse of two very strange
and fascinating musicians being,
well, strange and fascinating.
Showtime is set for 8 p.m.
Tickets are $7 for Ark members and
students, $8 for neither of those


The innovative Fred Frith will be joined by Hans Reichel tonight for three sets of challenging music at the Ark.



world is a

little smaller on


By Scott Collins
On the rare occasion when I
happen to shop in a video rental
store, I'm always reminded of how
silly the notion of buying or renting
films is. The customers browse
around, reading the backs of the
empty cartons as if they were
considering the bran content of
breakfast cereals. As in a bookstore,
hundreds of products are within
reach, and are even categorized for
convenience: "Drama," "Thriller,"
"Comedy," "Adult." As much as I
hate to say it, for many people

today, a movie - whether Platoon
or Citizen Kane - is nothing more
than another white elephant they can
proudly display on a shelf in the den.
All of the impulse, all of the
excitement involved in standing
outside the box office in the evening
and finding a seat in the theatre as
the lights go down, is gone forever.
The VCR owner isn't likely to
watch the film with the same sort of

thrill and urgency that he or she
would have felt while glued in a
soda-stained cushion seat. In the
video store, you lose the sense of
discovery as you ponder this catalog
of movies, six months to 60 years
old. You're just shopping, and that's
I suppose it's a cliche by now to
say that movies lose something in
the translation from the silver screen
to the television screen. Television
sacrifices the grand image of the big
screen and substitutes instead its
own dim, distorted, concave
reflection of the frame. And TV can
distort a film's time as well as

space; with the rising popularity of
the remote control, a couch potato
with a 13-inch diagonal attention
span can edit any film without
leaving his comfy chair.
Think, then, how much we lose
when we begin to watch films, even
new films, on a VCR. We push the
videocassette into the slot and
receive the television version of the
film, just as it might be presented
on Channel 9. And far worse, the
VCR enables you to manipulate the
projection of the film; you can freeze
the frame, repeat a sequence, and
pause the projection, all on a
moment's whim.

Many VCR owner so obviously
consider their machine a money-
saving device of course, but I also
suspect they value its convenience.
The VCR enables you not only to
avoid a tiresome car ride and the
smelly crowds at the bijou, but also
to exert power over the film. You
see the movie when you want to,
not at certain showtimes; you replay
the scceaes you want to see rather
than relying on memory and
But doesn't that in turn trivialize
the whole process of film-watching?
Rather than sitting helpless in your

seat as the vision washes over you,
you take control. Film becomes a
marginal event that must fit into
your schedule, not a creative
experience that could inspire any-
thing so dull as an intelligent
question. The "modern convenience"
of videocassettes emphasizes just.
how casually we've come to regard
film, and how we foreclose any
possibility of ever really thinking
abcat it. And that's why people
who depend entirely upon VCRs for
their film viewing have made their
lives smaller, in every sense of the

Warsaw to perform


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By Jose-Arturo Martinez
While other styles of dance may
struggle for an audience in Ann
Arbor, classical romantic ballets are
consistently drawing large audiences
to their performances. This is
exactly the case for tonight's
performance by the Warsaw Ballet at
the Power Center, which is report-
edly sold out already.
Giselle is based on old Slavic
legends and is the story of young
brides who die tragically before their
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wedding days and, as spirits, return
at night to dance enticingly for their
supposed young husbands.
This is the Warsaw Ballets' first
tour in the United States and they
chose to limit the dances they will
perform to Giselle due to the cost of
staging other dances. They have
toured extensively throughout Eur-
ope and have appeared in both East
and West Germany, Czechoslovakia,
Italy, Great Britain and the USSR.
Giselle is widely regarded as the
Michigan Daily

greatest of the romantic ballets. It
was first choreographed by the two
French ballet masters Jean Coralli
and Jules Perrot. It had its premiere
at the Paris Opera in 1841 and has
come to represent the best of the
Romantic Era of ballet.
The Warsaw Ballet will present
the re-staged version of the 1841

Leningrad Kirov Ballet production
which was inspired by Ballet Great
Marius Petipa.
University Musical Society will
be presenting GISELLE tonight at
the Power Center for the Performing
Arts 121 Fletcher in Ann Arbor 8
p.m. The performance is sold out.


Pink Floyd
A Momentary Lapse Of Reason
Columbia Records
"Like wow mann, it's time to go
to class!"


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"Are you sure dude? Last time I
looked it was 5:30."
"Sorry mann, it's 8 already.
We've got a bowl left, you want it?"
"Oh well, looks like we'll be late
for first hour again."
"What? Your German class is
waiting for you."
"No mann, I've gotta catch the
bus and get to gym class."
"Dude'you're fucked up, do you
know what year it is?"
"Weren't We listening to the new
Floyd tape before we gumbied out?"
"Which tape?"
"You know, Animal Wall or
something like that. It sure blew me
"Mann where's your head, any-
way? The album's called A
Momentary Lapse Of Reason.
Waters isn't even in the band
"What? Doesn't he write every-
thing? Who wrote this stuff?"
"Gilmour did most of it, mann."
"Well then what's the theme?
Every Floyd album's got one."
"I'm not sure. Some dude is born,
goes through puberty, gets drafted,
marries, and becomes another
faceless TV-watching bourgeois
worker who finally kicks off a pretty
depressed old guy. Your typical
Floyd stuff."
"What's that got to do with a
'lapse of reason' ? I have those all



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