Has Gaylani and Joe Murray have surpassed themselves again with another sprawling amalgam of international filmic genius for TUSK – so many treasures here from all over the place (geographically and psychologically), not least the first showings of new work by both Mark Gergis and Hisham Mayet and of course the northern premiere of Tyler Hubby’s unmissable and brilliant Tony Conrad documentary.
SATURDAY 15th OCTOBER
NORTHERN ROCK FOUNDATION HALL, SAGE GATESHEAD
Pablo Pico: La Salvación de la Gacela Imperial
Argentinean musician, film-maker and cosmic prankster Pablo Pico has been ‘stroking the om’ for the last decade with his freek-jam-band Ø+yn and solo projects such as Bardo Todol.
In ‘La Salvación de la Gacela Imperial’ myths and legends are tweaked into new shapes creating a meditative and psychedelic odyssey.This tale of daring-do, chivalry and the restoration of universal balance features a Mahabharat of colourful characters noshing on life’s mysteries. Pablo’s beautifully distinctive herky-jerky animation is peppered with free-folk bells and grooves from the legendary Ø+yn. Drink in the bright bitter magic.
Robert Ridley Shackleton: TUSK film
One of the UK’s most singular and reclusive artists Robert Ridley Shackleton ploughs a needle-sharp furrow of seriously Dada-esque proportions. With a measure of Brit-funk, a splash of underground noise and a dancer’s nimble timing the Cardboard Prince reveals the secret to his unique creative process in this one-off, specially commissioned, message to TUSK viewers.
Try and imagine an Alan Bennett monologue to Jan Hammer’s key-tar and you’re not even close. Robert Ridley Shackleton revels in the absurdity of performance and deep insecurity of artists everywhere with a bare-chested backlash. Is this ‘the shape of Jaxx to come?’
Brian J Averill : Everybody Loves The Tinklers
From the fine and fabulous city of Baltimore – the world’s most charming musical duo, The Tinklers have been mixing moralistic and cautionary tales with ‘naive’ proto-folk since 1979.
Charles Brohawn and Chris Mason are nice guys. Possibly the nicest of guys who create their own dramatic universe and detailed songs on plinkerty-plonk cigar box guitars and grade-school percussion. Their sublime simplicity and homespun approach won the heart of Shimmy Disc’s Kramer who released a set of three unparalleled albums in the early 1990s.
This gentle documentary tells their story. We follow Charles and Chris through decades of intimate lo-fi shows, monster movies remakes and instructional brain-storming with a smattering of friends explaining why they love the Tinklers so.
This is the first ever UK screening of ‘Everyone loves the Tinklers.’ Another TUSK exclusive.
Salvador Cresta Presents: Images from a Trip to Corrientes with Los Síquicos Litoraleños
Fasten your seatbelt and adjust your flying goggles as your travelling companions are Argentina’s Los Síquicos Litoraleños; intrepid explorers into the world of group-goof, tape mulch and tropical skronk.
In this cut-up travelogue Los Síquicos share with us the absurdity of life on the road spliced with a wandering eye for the detail in super-saturated, colourful South America. Fans of the Sun City Girls will goof on the ‘anything can happen at any moment’ vibe. Those with a shorter attention span will marvel at the fleeting images and sounds (all provided by Los Síquicos ‘natch) that will spank your lazy retina.
Remember you can see the Litoraleños, in the flesh at TUSK this year. Why not compare and contrast? The raw, bejewelled and fancy versus this cinematic cocktail – a teasing top note in the collage of your restless mind.
Marlo deLara: An International Call and Response: Ladyz in Noyz
Academic, critic and noise-maker Marlo deLara has been a stalwart of the UK/US Noise scene for as long as I can remember. Today she flexes those filmmaking muscles and presents, for the first time in front of a festival audience, this vital document of the Ladyz in Noyz collective, a global network of female music-makers intent on collaboration and exploration. Take it away Marlo…
“The musical pattern/technique of ‘call and response’ is useful to the understanding of the mutual practices of feminist collectives. The roots of ‘call and response’ in musical discourse lie within a framework where a leader presents a space for democratic direct interaction by introducing a line of music/sound/words. An immediate aural reaction is returned in kind, signifying the singular expressions of reciprocation/accordance/enquiry invoked from members within the performance space.
In this film, a call was made out to the international ‘Ladyz in Noyz’ collective, a virtual collaborative network of women practitioners in experimental musics and sound arts. The network functions as a frame or ‘the leader’ in which all that participate are acknowledged and counted as unique and integral voices to the whole community. The initial call/performance was sent out to members and responses were culled in this audiovisual collage. In addition to being a document to the ideals of the ‘Ladyz in Noyz’ network, this film exemplifies the ways music and feminist networking can be demonstrated, heard, and seen.”
Mark Gergis: I Remember Syria
Mark Gergis: Cambodian Videocassette Archives
Mark Gergis: This From Southeast Asia
Three brand new short film works in progress by MARK GERGIS (Ex-USA – Sublime Frequencies / Sham Palace) AKA Porest, made especially for TUSK and test screened in Kuala Lumpur at a tiny art gallery to an audience of 12 two months ago.
I Remember Syria
Memories of Syria at the end of the world. An attempt at creating a space where the Syria that once was can briefly speak to us, through a collection of images, music and sound montaged from original video, photographs, archival VCD and historical television footage, field and radio recordings. All material filmed or collected between 1997-2010 by Mark Gergis, who produced the 2-CD audio document “I Remember Syria” for Sublime Frequencies in 2003.
Cambodian Videocassette Archives
Dramatic film and music clips from Khmer-produced VHS tapes made during the late 1980s and early 1990s in the US & Cambodia, assembled from the personal archives of Mark Gergis, compiler of “Cambodian Cassette Archives” for Sublime Frequencies in 2004. The tapes were bought or borrowed between 2002 and 2010 from Cambodian shops throughout California. Selected clips from low budget suspense and drama give way to fantastical musical clips from film and karaoke of the era.
Culturally, the 1980s remain a unique and often overlooked period in modern Cambodian history. Though entertainment was understandably not the top priority during these times, surviving musicians, singers and entertainers from the Cambodian diaspora who had settled in the United States were among the first to produce works in the post-war Khmer film and music industry.
The excerpts seen here are culled from feature-length films and karaoke music collections that were largely ephemeral in the emerging market of the 1980s and 1990s. The material existed solely on VHS tape, and seldom, if ever graduated to the physical formats that followed.
This From Southeast Asia
Filmed in Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Cambodia and Indonesia between 2008-2016. Incredible music performances pair alongside montaged segments and vignettes from original footage and regional television, assembled for dramatic impact. Featured are a stunning luk thung performance by a young girl in a Bangkok neighborhood singing competition, a children’s street production of molam pop, scenes from a Vietnamese national rally in Hanoi, among others.
SUNDAY 16th OCTOBER
NORTHERN ROCK FOUNDATION HALL, SAGE GATESHEAD
Holly Thompson and Mark Frosty McNeill: LAFMS: How Low Can You Go?
A short and intimate examination of the methods and minds of the Los Angeles Free Music Society. Create your own world and anything goes: maybe you’ll quietly influence the real world to see sound-making opportunities everywhere and make w.e.i.r.d. wonky noise and amazing art. Ace Farren Ford, Dennis “Duck” Mehaffey, Fredrik Nilsen, Joe Potts, Joseph Hammer, Mitchell Brown, Rick Potts, Tom Recchion and Vetza Trussell are all here spraffin, performing and keeping it curious.
Unknown: Universal Newsreel – A New Note in History: Harry Partch
A wonderful curio from the time when the avant-garde was viewed with genuine curiosity. This ‘almost lost’ 1950’s newsreel introduces the American public to Hobo composer and visionary Mr Harry Partch and his search for “the elusive tones that exist between the notes on a regular piano.”
Marvel as this Bobby-Soxer orchestra pluck and hammer on the Chromelodeon, the Quadrangularis Reversum, and the Zymo-Xyl too wearing the grooviest twin-sets.
Shades of Mr Cholmondley Warner? Oh yes please!
Hisham Mayet : Among The Taureg Of Libya (re-cut version with new footage)
Another TUSK special: a new director’s cut of this Sublime Frequencies classic which has only screened once before in 2013 at the prestigious BAM Cinematek in NYC.
“Folk music of the Sahara is an intoxicating experience of sight and sound captured among the Tuareg and Libyan people of North Central Africa. Filmed from the perspective of actually being one of the performers, this mind-blowing IN YOUR FACE document captures the spirit of Libyan folklore and the essence of emotion armed with pounding rhythms and wailing vocal choruses. Both men and women are featured here equally as overseers of the hybrid forms of expression where central African traditions collide with the tones and colors of the Arab world creating one of the most unique overviews of Saharan folk music ensemble and dance the outside world has ever witnessed. The diversity of faces is extraordinary, every costume is stunning. If you ever wondered where some of western music’s more exotic ideas originated from ( Sun Ra’s Arkestra/call and response choruses/ trance drumming/ and even some forms of modern hip-hop) this is a great place to start!
Drew Christie: Psychedelic Blues
This beautifully animated micro-documentary explains the very first meeting of the young Peter Stampfel and Steve Weber… AKA The Holy Modal Rounders.
These bad boys sized each other up, took a bunch of amphetamines and played for three days straight, in the process inventing Psychedelic Blues.
Their augmented folk reels, bridge the gap between hillbilly fiddle and country-blues guitar with the heart of free jazz all blasting off in all directions at once spraying paisley patterns across tangerine skies.
Hey man. You can almost taste the rich, vibrant colours in this film. First screening in the UK brother!
Tyler Hubby: Tony Conrad: Completely in the present
TUSK is proud to present the Northern premiere of this new feature length film examining the pioneering life and works of artist, musician, and educator, Tony Conrad.
It’s hard to avoid the usual blah about how important and influential the late Tony Conrad has been on contemporary music and art but without him we’d be in a really boring parallel world, so join us in celebrating a fantastic life and career full of mischief, beauty, fun, persistence, wonder and noise.
“The film is superb; I’ll just say that I laughed out loud literally dozens of times — usually at the comic timing with which Tony delivers a punchline, but also at the sheer number of insane, ingenious left turns as each new artistic project is described. I found myself thinking about person after person who needs to see this, who would be amazed and inspired and chastised and emboldened by the film and its subject.” – David Grubbs, Author / Musician