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Touched My Soul

By tt stern-enzi · November 7th, 2012 · The Alternative
alternative 11-7
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What does “local” mean anymore?

With all the movements to instill a local and/or regional focus on our consumer urges counter-balanced by the narrowing of our reach, thanks to technology, what is the difference between local and global? What would 19th century hipsters think of the accessibility present in today’s world?

My soul has been touched by sights and sounds that, to be honest, I have been largely resistant to, much out of character for an alternative man of the day. I have fallen, overnight again and again, for “Search and Destroy,” a track from singer-songwriter Sanders Bohlke, which was featured in the trailer for Conrad Jackson’s film Falling Overnight.
Touched my soul, it did, this music. Ethereal acoustics with fragmented poetics from a multi-tracked choir of Earth-bound, back-alley angels shuffle into a highly organic mix of beats and atmospherics. The haunting vocals and the music seep inside the ear, taking quiet shelter the recesses of the mind and the beat, full of trip-hop melancholy, starts to replace the heart’s time signature with a sense of eerily resigned calm.

Fitting, I suppose, for a movie about a young man scheduled to have a brain tumor removed, who meets an attractive young artist the night before his surgery and embarks on an intimate adventure. It is Before Sunrise meets Love Story, but far more awkward and endearing. And while the lyrics of “Search and Destroy” were not written specifically for the film, it is difficult to deny the resonance of lines like, “and the lovers did feast and the birds flew away/and I was so mad at the coming of the day/and I will leave the monsters all at bay/we can believe it’s better this way.” Each time I hear the start of the final verse — “and they bury their dead with the flowers in the field” — I give thanks for the gift of this music and Jackson’s film (available now through VOD and on DVD).

That this all came to me from the Internet astounds the Luddite in me.

This spirit emerges from my computer, not the heavens above or the natural world around me. No, it comes from the technology at my fingertips. And it is transforming, localizing things that in another not-quite-bygone age the curious seeker of alternative culture would not have been privy to with such ease.

Another marvelous find, the new international promo video for Chan-wook Park’s new English language feature debut, Stoker, creates a trailer of sound and visual breadcrumbs, weaving and remixing elements of the film with the luscious orchestral Hip-Hop from Emily Wells and the time-lapsed creation of the film’s illustrated poster. Formalism and pure pop-inspired production meets uninhibited improvisation. The sum of these parts approximates the meticulous precision and inner workings of the mind of a killer. And it is fascinating that the cast (Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman and Matthew Goode) feels like an afterthought in the wake of this teaser.

Shifting, for a moment from trailer tracks and scores, to the moving images themselves, I went a-questing to find out what happened to Barry Jenkins, an African-American director who captured the fleeting attention of the indie film scene a few years ago with his low-key Medicine for Melancholy, a portrait of the next-day aftermath of a hook-up between a pair of black San Francisco hipsters (Wyatt Cenac and Tracey Heggins) trapped by their status as minorities in a gentrifying urban landscape. Even though the film never played in area theaters, I tracked it down on DVD and sensed that Jenkins might be able to ride the Next-It-artist wave.

Instead of cashing in and selling out (that sounds so old-school, forgive me), Jenkins joined a collective of fellow independent-minded visionaries and has written/directed a short (“Remigration”) for the web series Futurestates, which explores today’s complex social issues by re-framing them from the perspective of what impact they will have on society in the decades to come. “Remigration,” about an incentive-based program aiming to attract minorities back to the urban centers they abandoned or were pushed out of, is a speculative take on what might happen to the couple from Medicine for Melancholy and it asks audiences to adopt a more modern, forward-thinking view of the currently unresolved immigration argument.

The new Third Season of Futurestates is available (at futurestates.tv) and it has not only touched me; dare I say it has grabbed me by the collar and mashed my face into the future I can no longer avoid because now, everything is local.


CONTACT TT STERN-ENZI: letters@citybeat.com


 
 
 
 

 

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