29 March 2008

Drag show adjectives

Went to hear composer Nico Nuhly speak about music for films Friday night. He wrote the music for the very good film "Joshua." He spoke a lot about the importance of ambiguity in music, especially in regards to film, and he proved to be about 2/3rds musical genius and 1/3rd comedian. He's also just 26 years old, the bastard. Anyway, it's unbelievable that this was a free program.

Some highlights:

* He dissed big-sounding major chords in films as cheese. "Like the opening of 'Star Wars' -- you can tell it's going to be terrible," he says, pounding the chord on the RiverCenter's Steinway grand. "Well, it's not terrible. It's great. But like a drag show is great," he says.

* He's from Vermont, so the Southern drawl down hee-yah is a bit of an adjustment to him. And he speaks very fast, as flamboyant artsy types from anywhere are want to. It made for yuks when he tried to order coffee in a restaurant. Had to repeat himself three times, he said, and by then, "I was afraid they were going to spill the coffee on me in some hate crime in a Southern cafe."

* He played a 12-minute folk ditty -- a murder ballad -- that he reclaimed as a piece of horror by recording it with sounds of whale flesh being cut from the bone, the bones themselves being sawed apart, and percussion played with human bones wrapped with cloth. And other horrid stuff. It was great.

The Columbus State University's Percussion Ensemble will play the world premiere of a piece commissioned to him by CSU at a concert Monday night. It's 7:30, free, and at RiverCenter's Legacy Hall. Go ye.

Oh, and he's got a great blog here, and he's been posting from Columbus.


Amanda said...

I like the idea of a murder ballad. Maybe an execution ballad could be next. The sound of the electric chair going and such. If he ends up doing it I totally take credit for that idea.

Brad Barnes said...

Nick Cave did a whole album called "Murder Ballads." You should give it a spin. In the daylight.