Thursday, October 07, 2004

Fritz Lang "Metropolis" + Jozef Dumoulin, Brussels 06/10/2004

What an intense film - wow. In stillness (the opening scene with the workers changing shifts) or frenzy (robot-Maria casting a spell over the ravenous men combined with Freder's fever dream) - wow. I don't know if it was intentional or not, but don't the workers end up looking like idiots, letting themselves be dragged from one collective frenzy to the next?

Jozef Dumoulin accompanied all this on Fender Rhodes, building his own narratives whose arcs rarely fitted in scene-by-scene, but always landed in a way that made their course seem logical, in retrospect. Generally, it sounded loosely-composed, but I had to run straight after the show and didn't get a chance to ask Jozef. Maybe he'll answer in the comments box?

He started with a mix of bubbly and percussive sounds that began with the opening credits and continued throughout the initial scenes in the worker city. Things became a bit sparklier overground and a major theme was introduced when Maria brought the worker children in: "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," here played in full, would re-appear many times and in different guises to accompany Maria's side of the story. During the mass, the melody donned a halo of divine chorale chords, while a few notes, bent and ugly, bubbled up from surrounding noise for robot-Maria. Finally, after an incredibly long bout of Hendrixian squalls of noise, bombastic arena rock-god riffs, a few spots of more poppish repose, abstract jazz lines and churning percussion, "Rainbow" reappeared for the Happy End.

Lately I'd been thinking that keyboards in jazz had become rather boring. Back in the day, Keith Jarrett and Chick Corea litterally didn't really know what they were doing, or control their instruments 100%. As a result, there's a sense of danger and plenty of dirt. And I haven't even mentioned Sun Ra yet. Nowadays, it all sounds rather clean and abtruse abstraction sounds more like a refuge than a battle-field. But (and you knew a "but" was coming and where it's going, right?) Jozef puts a lot of dirtiness back in, a bit of danger and madness. In fact, more and more every time I see him, it seems. I'd still like to hear him on piano, but I've been saying that for years now...