Thursday, March 17, 2011

Monks: The Transatlantic Feedback goes digital

monks - the transatlantic feedback (German version)

monks - the transatlantic feedback (English version)



“More than simply a music documentary, The Transatlantic Feedback is an affecting account of the journey of a group of friends through one of the strangest trips of the 20th century.”
Wire Magazine (10/10)

“A loving and penetrating documentary film.”
The Hollywood Reporter (7/06)

"Excellent pic. The filmmakers do a vivid job etching the creatively fervid times,
with an editing style whose dynamism echoes that of Monk music."
Variety (2/07)

"A fascinating documentary film!"
Der Spiegel (2/07)

“A magnificent film”
Die Zeit (9/06)

"A wonderful documentary film - a long overdue history lesson. Go and watch it!"
Rolling Stone (10/06)

“This absorbing documentary tells the Monks’ story with precision and flair. (...) It’s the witty and unsentimental interviews with the five band members that reveal their focus and idiosyncratic brilliance.”
The Chicago Reader (8/06)

“It takes more than just documenting a great band to make a great movie: the band has to be unique in spirit and story and fit into a larger picture of the rock canon, and the filmmakers have to find the cinematic language to bring that essence to the screen.
Never have these rarities all come together more beautifully than in "monks - the transatlantic feedback". Dietmar Post and Lucía Palacios have given us a brilliant journey with the most extraordinary rock band to ever cut vinyl!”
Allison Anders, Filmmaker, Los Angeles

“Fantastic film! Respect! Full of facts and details, wonderfully tied into the art net, interwoven brilliantly with the band-member interviews. It reminded me of the beautiful film by Fechner* about the Comedian Harmonists – in its mix of intelligence, sensitivity and the description of the greatness of a band, which for a few years was the essence of the (art) world.”
Berthold Seliger, Seliger Concert Agency

“This film is absolutely astonishing for one simple reason. The revelations and connections made by the film are so completely new that the history of popular music not only needs to be reconsidered but most probably to be rewritten. The Monks invented in 1965 punk, prog and political rock and techno. Now they are considered a mega-60’s legend: obscure, raw, brutal, angry, political, just ANTI...! References are, among others, The White Stripes, Schorsch Kamerun and the founder of German Beat-Club, Mike Leckebusch. The film is not only a must for every music fan but also for all people interested in recent German-American history.”
Johnny Bottrop, Terrorgruppe, Germany

“It is a funny, fascinating and hugely enjoyable documentary.”
Filmink Magazine Australia (5/07)

“Everyone knows Elvis Presley served Uncle Sam in Germany, but have you heard about the American GIs who stayed after their tour of duty and formed one of the most influential rockbands of all time? Ladies and gentlemen, prepare to meet the Monks, who dressed the part and are seen wigging out in front of amazed German teens priceless TV archival footage. It is a wonderful window into the German-American cross-cultural experience.”
Variety Australia (5/07)

“Gäbe es nicht die tief aus dem Vergessenen hervorgekramten Zeugnisse, die Dietmar Post und Lucia Palacios für diesen Film ausgegraben haben,
so würden vielleicht selbst die einzelnen Mitglieder der Monks bezweifeln, dass es sie je gab.
(...) An Hand von privaten Fotos, Postkarten und Doku-Material rekonstruieren sie sehr genau das gesellschaftliche Umfeld der BRD im sogenannten Wirtschaftswunder, während des Kalten Krieges, in dem Beatmusik sozusagen zum Vorboten der kommenden Rebellion wurde.”
Spex Germany (10/06)

"Berührender und wahnwitziger Dokumentarfilm"
Der Standard Wien (10/06)

"Der Film vermittelt die Geschichte der Monks und den Geist ihrer Zeit auf sehr unterhaltsame und stimmige Weise."
Zitty (9/07)

"Dass die Monks nun nicht länger nur einem kleinen Zirkel von Musikexperten ein Begriff sind, ist diesem Film zu verdanken. Und nicht nur in musikalischer Hinsicht ist das sehens- und hörenswert; thematisiert der Film doch auch die Selbstzweifel und das Weiterleben von Menschen mit einem ausgeträumten Traum. Das macht ihn zu einem berührenden Dokument der Musikgeschichte."
Kulturnews (10/07)

"Das überzeugende Filmergebnis ist mehr als das Porträt einer außergewöhnlichen Band zwischen populärer Musik und avantgardistischem Kunstansatz.Es ist eine politische und popkulturelle Momentaufnahme der 60er Jahre im Übergang von Kuba-Krise und beginnender Protestbewegung."
Tip (10/07)

"Der Dokumentarfilm ist weitaus mehr als ein Bandporträt. Und er zeigt mehr als eine Band vor dem Hintergrund der politischen Lage der Zeit. Er geht auch dem Einfluss der beiden Bandmanager nach, die ihre künstlerischen Vorstellungen, ihre Nähe zu Fluxus und Dadaismus in das Konzept einfließen ließen und die Monks so erst zu einer Avantgardeband machten. Palacios und Post ermöglichen dem Zuschauer auf diese Weise einen Blick auf die zeitgeschichtlichen Vorgänge in der Kunst, die abseits von Beat und Pop abliefen."
Jungle World (10/07)

And as usual with play loud! films, check out the music releases that come in conjunction with the DVD "monks - the transatlantic feedback:

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Reverend Billy documentary goes digital

Reverend Billy & The Church of Stop Shopping (English with German subtitles)

Reverend Billy & The Church of Stop Shopping (Original English without subtitles)

Press quotes:

"A highly entertaining documentary film"
Boston Globe

"Fine piece of cinéma vérité"
University of California

"The film is a must for all people who believe that Michael Moore went mainstream"
Copenhagen Documentary Film Festival

"Which American TV will have the guts to show this film?"
Albert Maysles, Documentary Filmmaker, New York

"A documentary about the Messiah of Stop Shopping"
El País, Spain

"The most hilarious and pointed political theater in New York"
New York Times

Official Movie Webpage

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Freqzine reviews Klangbad/Faust DVD

Faust – Live at Klangbad Festival/Various Artists – Avant-Garde in the Meadows

Faust - Live at Klangbad FestivalAlthough this DVD was released in late 2010, the footage – shot at the second annual festival held in Scheer, southern Germany- dates from 2005. Scheer is a small provincial town that since the late 90s has been the headquarters of Faust(or rather one of the two Faust factions, this being the one grouped around keyboardist Jochen Irmler and the Klangbad label). There are actually two films on the disc- a 70 minute record of Faust’s performance at the event, and a slightly longer film titled Avant-Garde in the Meadows which gives an overview of the festival’s three days.
Lobdell, inscrutable behind dark glasses and a forest of hair and beard, scrubs at his guitar, emitting a hail of fire and lifting his bandmates’ dirge-like improvisations into molten psych-fuzz territory
The Faust performance features the aforementioned Jochen Irmler and one other figure from the group’s early ’70s origins,Arnulf Meifert, apparently absent from Faustian circles for many years before resurfacing to contribute percussion and noisemakers to this line-up, which is completed by the very wonderful Steven Wray Lobdell on guitar, Lars Paukstaton percussion and vocals, Michael Stoll on electric and upright bass, and Ralf Meinz (of Zeitkratzer) on drums. They’re shown playing in a marquee accompanied by a simple-but-effective psychedelic light show, and it’s an engrossing watch, as they run through a set of rumbling, propulsive pieces that successfully fuse organic and industrial elements in a way that has become this Faust’s trademark. Ralf Meinz may not have the elemental power of original Faust drummer Zappi W. Diermaier but he keeps the whole thing driving along with aplomb. Lobdell, inscrutable behind dark glasses and a forest of hair and beard, scrubs at his guitar, emitting a hail of fire and lifting his bandmates’ dirge-like improvisations into molten psych-fuzz territory. That’s the basic MO throughout, although the musical territories explored range from some of the most straightforwardly structured rock ever to carry the Faust name (“Beat That”), to some of their most challenging scrabble and twitter abstraction, on “Dschungelbar”. This latter piece evolves into the best of the set, taking flight on a space funk underpinning that Michael Stoll conjures from his upright bass.
There’s an interesting insight into the group’s dynamics towards the end of this footage, when they finish the set and have a breather before some members return to the stage for an encore: this seems to take Paukstat and Lobdell by surprise, the former remonstrating with Irmler: “It was such a lovely ending.. it’s bullshit to play more” (helpfully subtitled for non-German viewers). But they work out the tension in another cauldron of improvisation, and everyone seems happy at the end.
Avant-Garde in the Meadows
we get plenty of festival colour, the film-makers successfully capturing the outdoor setting and relaxed atmosphere of the event
Avant-Garde in the Meadows opens with a handheld camera view of a drive through picturesque smalltown Germany to the festival site, the only audio a faint electronic drone. Gradually we’re introduced to the sights and sounds of the festival – a chap asleep on a multi-coloured sofa in the great outdoors, a clanking iron bell, shots of tents, equipment, and people. Denizens of the Faust mailing list will spot some familiar faces here. Arnulf Meifert pops up and tells us that “Music should be understood as a form of communication,” after which we get into live footage of the various acts: MinitJutta KoetherKammerflimmer Kollektief, Steve Lobdell playing solo, Lars Paukstat’s group Captain HowdyCircle, an extract from the Faust performance, The One Ensemble of Daniel Padden, and Nista Nije Nista. It’s all of interest, from Minit’s arch synth-pop that takes a sudden detour into a full-blooded electronic storm, via Capt Howdy’s retro garage-rock (so rigorously correct in its adhrence to genre that it seems oddly fresh in this context) through to the One Ensemble’s striking meld of singer-songwriter acid-folk and acoustic improv breakdown. Along the way we get plenty of festival colour, the film-makers successfully capturing the outdoor setting and relaxed atmosphere of the event. We also take a drive to Faust’s studio and workspace in the company of Jochen Irmler, who explains that Klangbad was launched in 1997 after “we came to the conclusion that you have to do everything yourself.” Have the group faced any problems from their smalltown neighbours, asks the interviewer? No… well yes… a bit, last year, muses Jochen, before explaining that by inviting concerned locals to come and see the festival for themselves, it was possible to show people that the whole thing is in essence an “extended living room.”
the intrigue is heightened by an interview snippet in which all four Nistas answer a question simultaneously, producing a mysterious group babble
The strangest performance here is saved till last: Nista Nije Nista (“nothing is not nothing”) are a quartet of young women from various parts of the globe, who appear here in a kind ofKraftwerk-like group identity, with spy-movie raincoats instead of business suits, and play an extraordinary mix of electronics, percussion, and what appears to be a sewing machine. The effect is something like a lo-fi, cyberpunk take on Laurie Anderson‘s vocal and electronics experiments, but if all this sounds dauntingly arty and high-concept, it isn’t: in fact it’s refreshingly free of that kind of baggage. It’s fascinating stuff, and the intrigue is heightened by an interview snippet in which all four Nistas answer a question simultaneously, producing a mysterious group babble before lapsing back into silence and favouring the interviewer with (apparently) guileless smiles. There’s a long pause, before he says “Danke,” and we learn no more about this oddly compelling group, as baffling as they are winning.
 -Manfred Scholido-

Review of Klangbad/Faust DVD