Debutant director Tim Perkis from the Bay Area attended the recent Göteborg Film Festival where his self-released film Noisy People
was in the official selection. Traditionally the Göteborg festival has a special section of music films and Perkis’ film on experimental music in the Bay Area drew a dedicated following and rightfully so. Tim followed seven musicians for a year who are presented in the documentary, all in a creative and musical way. George Cremaschi, Tom Djll, Greg Goodman, Phillip Greenlief, Cheryl Leonard, Dan Plonsey, Gino Robair and Damon Smith. Chance encounters such as microphone socks at times at the top of the screen or the hand held camera style do no harm and lend themselves to the organic material. It is to Perkis’s credit that he has succeeded in transmitting the impetus behind a whole world of fascinating music by innovative composers, an area that should not only be confined to the Bay Area but opens up limitless possibilities everywhere. George Cremaschi reports that the musical scene in certain cities is fixed and those who live in rent controlled apts seem to be the only ones free to explore this kind of music. And the rest come established and ready for a particular packaged sound. This seems to be true of many cities today where artists are pushed to the fringes and the traditional kinds of art forms have free rein.
The documentary is sure to change whatever preconceptions you have about music that you don’t even realize you have to begin with. The first to crash is the notion of playing for an audience. If music is for the people you certainly need people for encounters. That seems to be no problem for these musicians who have set up stages in their homes or who play for crowds of 25 people.
Dan Plonsey points out the difference between John Cage who said that music was sound, and Ornette Coleman who said that music is for the people. Plonsey agrees with Coleman and it is evident throughout the film that music is above all a sense of community. Many of these musicians are traditionally trained and they felt cramped and pigeon holed into a form that did not really speak to them. Instruments are played in creative ways such as drumming with an electric toothbrush, or pushing down a tennis shoe in order to make different acoustic sound. There is also something known as an analogue lip synthesizer. All in all these musicians are bold and adventuresome in finding new sounds and ways of expressing them.
is also a showcase of new ways to compose and ways to relate to music. The standards of perfect pitch and musical perfection are all cast away. Freed from tradition there are infinite possibilities than the standard forms we grow up with.
For Cheryl Leonard a musician is like being a scientist. She works with the sounds of nature, pinecones and plants. The musicians of this film compose within a complex system” of chance operations which leaves a trace according to Perkis which is music. Noisy people is an odyssey into this world.
For Movie Magazine this is Moira Sullivan Göteborg Sweden
© 2008 - Moira Sullivan - Air Date: 2/08
Noisy People at the 31st Göteborg Film Festival, Sweden