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March 05, 1993 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1993-03-05

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Visual feast with a touch of Glass

by John R. Rybock
Every once in a while, you come
across something so wonderfully
unique, that trying to describe it is a
serious challenge. Such is the case with
the film "Powaqqatsi: Life in Transfor-
mation." The film is, to oversimplify, a
visual and auditory feast. No plot, no
dialogue -just a perfect marriage be-
tween image and music.
,Directed by Godfrey Reggio,
"Powaqqatsi" (Hopi for "abeing or way
of life that draws its own existence from
the life forces of others") is the second
in a planned "Qatsi" trilogy, the first
being the 1983 film, "Koyaanisqatsi."
Throwing out the crutches other di-
rectors rest on (such as an actual story),
Reggio manages to paint an effective
picture. From Hong Kong to India and
from Kenya to Brazil, the audience is
given images of "life in transforma-
. . t1 11 111. l

Composer / Conductor Philip Glass brings
a masterpiece to life in 'Powaqqatsi /.Live'

tion." The film follows a journey of
society from a subsistence life of indi-
viduals to the just-another-cog exist-
ence in the technological age. If looked
for, the message is clear. However, one
can just relax and enjoy the images for
their basic aesthetic value alone.
However, the stars of the film expe-
rience are not the images, but rather the
extraordinary music of composerPhilip
Glass. Glass' career is a mixed bag of
credits, from compositions for opera
("Einstein on the Beach") to dance ("In
the Upper Room") to film. Glass returns
from his work on the original
"Koyaanisqatsi" to bring a world flavor
to the images of "Powaqqatsi."
As the Reggio traveled the world
looking for images, Glass traveled look-

ing for sounds. The result is a rich score
which adds to the global flavor of the
images. G1ass has become known for
taking a minimalist and repetitive path
in his music. This holds true for
"Powaqqatsi." However, while such a
description might mark other compos-
ers as mundane, Philip Glass seems to
thrive on it, using it as a unique trade-
mark for his distinctive music.
Glass draws heavily not just on
rhythms from around the world, but
also on the wonderfully fresh sounding
instruments he encountered in his trav-
els. Over the strong bass from the Third
World, Glass weaves melodies with a
Western flavor, making his music that
much more unique. And while it tends
toberepetitive, the sound is rich enough

that the audience never tires, and when
the journey has been completed, they
are left yearning for more.
The film itself is highly unique. But
Ann Arbor's cultural life seems to thrive
on going beyond that point. Such is the
case tomorrow night, when the film is
not only playing at the Michigan The-
ater, but Philip Glass and the Philip
Glass Ensemble will visit the theater's
orchestra pit to perform the score live.
The images on the silver screen are
incredible. But with Glass live, playing
one of his best compositions, it will
certainly prove to be a feast for all the
POWAQQA TS/LIVE is playing at the
Michigan Theater tomorrow at 8pm.
Box office hours: M-F 11-6; Sat 12-4.
Call 668-8397 for more information
or to charge tickets.


J.D. and Ludwig
Sunday English ensemble the
Endellion String Quartet will perform
Beethoven's first "Rasoumowsky"
Quartet, and two less well-known quar-
tets by Joseph Haydn and Sir Michael
Tippett. The Beethoven was so radical
in its time that the musicians suppos-
edly thought that Beethoven was play-
ing ajoke on.them. The Haydn Quar-
tet, Op. 72, No. 2 is one of Haydn's
nearly 80 quartets, but not one of the
better-known "Thirty Famous Quar-
tets." The Quartet No. 2, written in
1943; of England's most famous liv-
ing composer, Sir Michael Tippett,
completes the program. The perfor-
mance is at 4 p.m. Tickets are $14 to
$22. Call 764-2538.
Instant Carmen
In case you missed it last night,
you've still got two more chances to
check out Bizet's "Carmen" at the
Power Center this weekend. The New
York City National Opera Company
has been bringing the classics to us
provincial types for several years now,
and though their shoebox touring pro-
ductionsarehardly ideal, they'reabout
all we've got in Ann Arbor. And for
those of you who don't know the mu-
sic, don't worry; you'll surely recog-
nize the theme from "The Bad News
Bears." Performances are tonight and
tomorrow at 8 p.m.; tickets are $20 to
$42. Call 764-2538.

Philip Glass draws on rhythms from around the world in his music.
Hawks and Crowes.
by Kristen Knudsen
The Jayhawks are currently on the road with the Black Crowes, but please,
don t accuse them of sounding anything like those Georgia rockers.
"We dOn't want to sound like them," snapped Jayhawks drummer Ken
Callahan. "Why would you want to go out and hear two bands that sound the
same anyway? I think our music kind of speaks for itself."
Excuse me for asking. Would you care to tell me, Mr. Callahan, exactly what
the Jayhawks' music is saying? "I don't know what those songs mean but they0
have a meaning to me," he said. Thanks, that clears everything up. "It's like any
art form, and especially in Mark and Gary's songwriting (Mark Olson and Gary
Louris, both singers and guitarists, are the principal songwriters for the.
Jayhawks. They're joined by Callahan and bassist Marc Pernman). What you
pull out of that song and what I pull out of that song, and maybe what they even
initially wrote, and what it's really about don't even have to be the same thing.
That's the great thing about their music I think. Like any good art, it just creates
images in you - it doesn't have to be verbatim what they meant."
Yeah, whatever. Iguess it's agood thing that we don't have to analyze lyrics
like "back home there's a funeral" (from "Two Angels"), which probably
wouldn't be easy or fun. Above all, it seems, it is the Jayhawks' music that is
meant to intrigue us.
"It's a familiar sound," Callahan proposed, and this concurs with their
album "Hollywood Town Hall"'s liner notes, which describes that "fella" we
all know. He's somebody "you've known all your life," said Callahan. "It's just
that some of the images or some of the feelings you get from the album is
something that's very comfortable right away to people."
The Jayhawks'music may sound familiar because it's heavily influenced by
early '70's artists like the Flying Burrito Brothers and Gram Parsons, to whom
they're often compared.
"Obviously, we come from a Neil Young, blues, soul, white soul, country
background. Rock, there's rock in there, too," Callahan explained. "It all
influencesus.Gary,alotofhislicks,he probably stole afew things fromJimmy
Page in Led Zeppelin. And Ihave. I've stolen alot from John Bonham.Notone
person in this world, not one musician, can say he doesn't (borrow)unless he's
lying.Nobody's completely original unless they came from the moon andnever
heard anything playedon thisplanet. Theresmno way."My,laren't we defensive.
As long as the comparisons make sense, they don't bother Callahan, but I
guarantee it will be difficult to describe them in terms of today's music. The
Jayhawks' sound is very relaxed and mellow, an extremely counatrified rock
that's not without blues and soul. Callahan summed it up, "We're not trying to
follow any trends and we're really not trying to set trends. We're just trying to
make music that sounds good to us."
O.K. We'll see how it sounds to the rest of us tomorrow night.
TH'E JAYHA aWKS will appear with the BLACK CROWES tomorrow at Hill
AudTtoriu.ckt r 22. p c
"I'sa amlirsond" alaanprpoed ndths onus it tei
alu Holwo Tw al ' iernts wihdscie ha fla"w,"
all now He' soeboy "yu'v knon al yur lfe, sai Calahn. "t'sjus
thatsom oftheimaes r soe o th felins yu ge frm te abumis
somehin tht's erycomortale igh awa topeole.
The~yhaks'msicaysund amiiar ecase t'shaviyipfuenedb
eary 70s rtst lketheFlin BrrtoBrthrs ndGrm aro., o ho

The Jayhawks sound nothing like the Black Crowes.

Big Mouth Strikes Again
Put on your pith helmets, kids - Motorbooty bad boys Mouth are back to give you more. This frantic five-piece
from America's underbelly (aka El Lay) torque it up like Soundgarden on cheaper drugs (and that's a real good
thing). You might have been baptized in the saliva a few months ago when Mouth blazed through the area with our
posse of personal Jesus' known as Big Chief. The real lucky ones got to see both bands blow a hole through the
ceiling of the Lab in an intimate night of debauchery. If not, you get two (count 'em - two) chances to catch this
death-defying bomb squad. Tonight they rock the Lab yet again (and remember - People live here. Show some
respect). It's at 411 Hill, and things get under way at the usual party time. On Saturday, they move on up to the big
Detroit city, turning up the big boom at St. Andrews Hall (961-MELT. Local grunge gods Phunhogg, Brickyard and
Bog Blast round out this night of bone-crunching fun. Doors at 9:00 p.m., and tickets are a mere $5. Still supporting
their mind-blowing ep, "Foreword," Mouth are sporting a spankin' new drummer to lay that groove trail even
deeper. Grunge never sounded this good ...


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Michigan Daily Account Executives
Deadline for Applications: Friday, March 12
More Information and Job Description Available at
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10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
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