21 January 2009

John Zorn's Essential Cinema - Rose Hobart

A special post from me this time. The most thrilling concert experience for me last year was 4 hours of John Zorn's ensembles, only broken up by short intermissions. He had brought over from New York the Dreamers, Essential Cinema and Electric Masada which as you may know are basically composed of the same people. The middle set was given to the showing of four short movies with the band providing the live soundtrack, playing in pitch darkness, only illuminated by the light from the screen.

This is a video clip, recorded by my son, using the video camera on the Nokia N958gb cell phone. Of course, the clip may not be up to professional standards, but it will give you a sense of having been there, even if it's only watched on a computer screen. It looks like I may have missed the beginning, but most of it is certainly there.

As for the movie "Rose Hobart": It was made by Joseph Cornell in 1936 and it's a montage from a longer Hollywood "exotica" movie called "East of Borneo" and consisting of scenes with the actress Rose Hobart (hence the title), largely freed of whatever context or plot there was, which gives it a somewhat strange, abtract, poetic quality.

More information here: http://archive.sensesofcinema.com/contents/cteq/01/17/hobart.html

This movie was the first of the four showed and was followed by Wallace Berman 'Aleph', Harry Smith 'Oz: the Tin Woodman's Dream' og Maya Deren 'Ritual in transfigured time'. The second, a flickery, hyper-rapid imagery set to a free jazz blow-out soundtrack by Zorn was followed by Smith and Deren, both returning to the dreamy floating visions of the first.

The band:

John Zorn - alto sax, conductor
Marc Ribot - guitar
Jamie Saft - keyboards
Kenny Wollesen - vibraphone, drums
Trevor Dunn - bass
Joey Barron - drums
Cyro Baptista - percussion
Ikue Mori - electronics

The clip is in the mp4 format and best watched using Quick Time which can be downloaded for free from Apple.


kinabalu said...





The movie can also be watched on You Tube to an entirely different soundtrack.

I'll post a separate audio soundtrack in a little while.

kinabalu said...

Here is an audience recording of the same tune from a summer 2008 concert in Paris. Flac/mp3 in one package.


kinabalu said...

The video clip can also be watched on the VLC media player which is very nifty little programme.

Get it from here:


il angelo said...

Thanks Kinabalu, It was a great experience, they were in my city too, unfortunately we could book him for only a two hours a bit concert. Thanks from bringing the document

Anonymous said...

Thanks, especially for the audio link. I've got the film on a DVD compilation, so it works great playing them together.

kinabalu said...

I wouldn't be surprised if the film they showed was from that DVD compilation. Maya Deren's movies, including the one that was shown, are also commercially available. Some of Harry Smith's movies can be obtained, though not the one that was shown. Wallace Berman: No results so far.

kinabalu said...

By the way, the Maya Deren movie can also be seen on YouTube.

lc said...

funny how Zorn manages to refer to movies thru not some soundtrack, but some other band's music, namely British band Bauhaus'hit, "Bela Lugosi's Dead".
nice cover, very nice, but I couldn't recommend enough the original track available on Bauhaus' eponymous record, namely "Bela Lugosi's Dead", which is way sharper, and shorter of course.
thanks for sharing Zorn's version.

El Librito said...

It´s great, thank you so much for the links. Zorn still amaze me and it´s kinda revealing the fact that i am a growing zornhead day after day, wooowwwuuuu!! great stuff
Thanks Kinabalu.

kinabalu said...


your comment got me curious, so I got out my snooping gear to see if I could locate a copy online, because I've never heard the tune, even if I have heard about the band.

The Lugosi has a three note descending chord sequence whereas the Zorn has a four-note descending chord sequence which sound alike, but that's the only point of similarity I can hear. Rhythmically, texturally, instrumentally very different, so to say that one is a version of the other strikes me as rather odd.

lc said...

thanks a lot, kinabalu, for not discarding my opinion right away.
I can only encourage other listeners to check out both tunes and compare them.
keep up the good work.

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