fennesz wozencroft

RGB02 Fennesz + Wozencroft – ‘Liquid Music ll’

Liquid Music ll features a full-length video by Jon Wozencroft, an extract of which you can view above. The download bundle also includes audio of the soundtrack, by Fennesz. This is a Bandcamp exclusive release.

This release is now available here

The film was made for Fennesz’s live performances on the Touch 2001 tour (with Hazard/Heitor Alvelos and Biosphere/Jony Easterby) and the first version eventually released on a Touch 30 USB stick in 2012, from an incendiary performance at Brighton Gardner Arts Centre which centred on material from the Endless Summer release, amplified to the max. A DVD release was scheduled in 2005 but this proved impossible to master due to the fast–moving nature of the footage… once compressed for the demands of the format at that time, it looked like a pixelated jigsaw.

The DVD was to be partnered with this quite different set by Fennesz at the 2004 Norberg Festival in Sweden, shortly after the release of Venice, but totally improvised, including few traces of that release. Liquid Music II is now available for the first time and is “the extended version” to take account of the longer set times and the continued synergy that it gave to Fennesz’s live performances. Christian’s performance was trance-like in comparison to the Brighton gig three years earlier and is in itself an essential document of his developing sound.

The footage was filmed on Hi-8 and mini-DV between 1995 and 2001 and is intended as an analogue to the fast moving developments of digital media and its distribution at that time. With this in mind, none of the footage benefits from any post-production nor processing, it is as seen through the lens of the camera which often involved dangerous positioning, close to the edge of rivers and rocks to get a forensic capture of the movement. A tripod was impossible; at times the camera is almost touching the water.

I call it a film and not a video because the inspiration was from classic avant-garde interventions by such luminaries as Stan Brakage, Peter Kubelka, Guy Sherwin and others, who always shot on celluloid. I did it on camcorders because there was no budget to use a Bolex and it was simply a question of what was practical, portable and a kind of guerrilla action when the weather was favourable. In addition, it was becoming a big thing at the time for ‘electronic’ musicians to use digital video projections to frame their naked-laptop performance situations, but I felt Fennesz did not fall into this perceptual grid, his music having a romanticism and a harmonic force that was more timeless and would be neutered by the latest software aesthetic.

The film challenges the notion of sync between sound and image, so that every time it was projected, and every time Fennesz played, the connection would be different and the chemistry personal to each member of the audience. In that way it becomes a live conversation and not simply a ‘show’ nor wallpaper for the music.
[Jon Wozencroft, March 2024]

RGB01 – fennesz wozencroft “Liquid Music”

Touch.30 USB flash drive + title card in velvet string bag
Flash drive contents: .mov + text & images (2GB) – 32:30

Track list:

1. Liquid Music

Jon Wozencroft writes:

“Liquid Music was made in 2001, in conjunction with the music Christian Fennesz was developing during that fertile period when the future was still a good idea. The first version – this is it – was premiered during the Touch tour of 2001, the time of Fennesz’s Endless Summer and the steady movement towards Venice.

The footage for Liquid Music originates from Prague, Paxos, Crete, Cephalonia, Messinia, London and one short clip from Monterey Bay. It was filmed on Hi–8 and mini–DV between 1995 and 2001. The main idea was to film everything through the lens, with no post production other than the compilation of many years work into a coherent whole. Fennesz’s music, and its ascendent quality, made that a pleasure. The optical quality is on the cusp between analogue and digital resolution. In many respects it’s an exchange of values as much as working methods.

I feel it’s one of the best works we did in the last 10 years. The Brighton concert, where the audio comes from, was a key moment on the Touch 2001 tour. The PA was Loud. Everything worked. The film, as on all nights, was played in parallel, it is not sync’d in the conventional sense. Every time is was shown it was different. On this night, the second night of the tour, the audience was shocked in a way that shock rarely happens these days.

This very same year, industry experts got together in California to set the MPEG compression codes for DVD mastering. MPEG4 algorithms basically sample 3 frames out of the PAL 25 frames-per-second standard, and interpolate, which is OK if you’re trying to get a drama onto a DVD, but hopeless if the film involves very fast movement and transitions. Liquid Music is in some respects a laptop response to the celluloid flicker film from the 1960s – Paul Sharits, Tony Conrad, Stan Brakage – Peter Kubelka’s Arnulf Rainer. We tried everything Soho facilities houses had to offer but there was no way the film was going to master accurately onto the DVD format.

The movement of water is a difficult thing to film, and to sonify. For years the only way Liquid Music could be shown was either as a live projection or a dedicated screening – these have taken place at Tate Modern, the BFI, Austria, Hungary, Germany… Ten years later, the satisfactory outcome is to see what it looks like on an iPad or an iPhone, and then to imagine it on the big screen.”

Thanks are due to: David Metcalfe, Kamal Ackarie, Steve Connolly, Andrew Lagowski, Philip Marshall and Denis Blackham.

See also: Callum Coats, Living Energies – An Exposition of Concepts Related to the Theories of Viktor Schauberger, Gateway, Dublin 1996.

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