Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Put Blood in the Music (1989) Charles Atlas

In this documentary-style work, critics, artists, and musicians are interviewed about the New York music scene and its many influences. Early on, the "talking head" interviewees are juxtaposed with images that illustrate the concept of a "New York sound" -- street scenes, construction workers, a Salvation Army band, and a host of street performers. Composer and performer John Zorn and rock band Sonic Youth are featured in detail. Zorn discusses his relationship with film and cartoons, Ornette Coleman,... Tonco music (an Asian trio form), Mickey Spillane, and the composition of his work "Spillane." Frequent Zorn collaborator Arto Lindsay is seen in a recording session with his band, Ambitious Lovers. Another band, Hugo Largo, is shown performing at the Central Park bandshell. Zorn's Ornette Coleman cover band, Spy vs. Spy, is shown in performance at the Knitting Factory. Sonic Youth talks with former Velvet Underground member John Cale. They also have a roundtable discussion with their first drummer (who has since been replaced), Bob Bert. Sonic Youth is shown in a variety of situations. Band member Lee Ranaldo goes to a tarot card reader. The band performs outdoors on what appears to be a train platform. A clip of the "Death Valley "˜69" video is included. Sonic Youth's Madonna "tribute" band, Ciccone Youth, appears in a video clip. While many issues are covered, "Put Blood in the Music" keeps returning to the question of a "New York sound." David Donahue is credited with conceiving and developing the work, which is approximately an hour and 14 minutes long. Produced by James Morris. Directed by Charles Atlas

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