Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Thoughts about Phillip Bimstein's Lockdown

The piece of Phillips which struck me the most was his journey through a Youth Prison in St. George, Lockdown. The jaunting pace with classical instruments creates an operatic feel, swinging through different stories and different emotions.

In that way I was reminded very strongly of Damon Albarn's Monkey, Journey to the West. Monkey is a modern Opera by the same musical mastermind behind the Gorillaz. It's an hour long, in Chinese, and incredible. The strongest thing about the piece taken as a whole, and Phillip's, is that the moods evoked are not dependent on each other, but they add up to a complete sonic piece. Like strawberry fields, the imagery that the images compel are strong, and individual. This was Jamie Hewlett's visualization of one of the songs off of Monkey:

David Forman - Monkey Bee from David Forman on Vimeo.

Phillip's stories have a different element of human interest to them. The almost documentary aspect makes it a good way to get a feel for the kid's stories, and turns their bare and sometimes self-conscious statements into lyrics.

I noticed Phillip's slideshow on his myspace page, I think it functions as a visualizer of the music. The slideshow picks up all the subliminal details of prison life that add up to the clinical, depressive, controlled presence the place has. Same effect as the sonic buildup of the clicks, ratchets, and slams of the detention center.

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