Two Big Jokes
Consider this a companion piece to the ‘review’ I penned of Rick Alverson’s The Comedy, a film that briefly captured my attention for all the wrong reasons before being relatively forgotten. I probably could have summed up my feelings about the movie in the following reviews, though what’s the fun of writing if not occasionally dabbling in self-indulgence?
WILLIAM BASINSKI – The Disintegration Loops (2062 ‘03): I figured the bits appearing in The Comedy for original score until I discovered it’s a seventy-five minute exercise in monotony—and the first of four volumes, the other three I’ve never heard. Neither the mythos surrounding its genesis—Basinski’s tapes crumbling whilst digitizing them, later placing them alongside a piece of footage filmed atop his apartment building of smoldering Manhattan in 9/11’s wake—nor its tribute to it fascinates me, at least not nearly as much as it inadvertently reflects the attacks’ impending literal and figurative fallout. But more than that is its sound; a trance-inducing hour-long blurry blend of crashing horns admirable as musical wallpaper more than experimental avant-garde electronica. Heartrending work of beautiful genius? Nah. Background music for late-night writing, maybe a joint to help. B PLUS
Music From The Comedy, A Film By Rick Alverson (Jagjaguwar ’12): What inspired me to seek the soundtrack (and the movie, for that matter) were the excerpts of William Basinski’s beguiling post-rock opus The Disintegration Loops—an earthy admixture of swooning, churning horns, origin of which (aged magnetic tapes destroyed by the transferring process to digital) matched the ethos of Heidecker’s aging hipster persona and attendant gang of irreverent semblables; cruddy things falling apart that occasionally produce moments of gorgeous light once the muck is cleared away, without intention or expectation. Other choices occasionally illuminate the scenes in which they’re situated: Donnie & Joe Emerson’s “Baby” opening with a slow-mo pan of naked, chunky white man-children slapping each other’s asses; sleazy horns in Gayngs’ “Gaudy Side of Town” raising the skin-crawl factor; and Eric Wareheim’s insistent cries for “hip-hawp!” encapsulate the capsuled world in which these losers live. Soundtrack’s like the film—some great moments, a lotta clutter, and more frustrating than it’s worth. B PLUS