“Screen Play” by Christian Marclay, performed by People Like Us & Ergo Phizmiz

“I composed a silent collage of found film footage partially layered with computer graphics to provide a framework in which live music can develop. Moving images and graphics give musicians visual cues suggesting emotion, energy, rhythm, pitch, volume, and duration. I believe in the power of images to evoke sound.”
– Christian Marclay

By Christian Marclay

Trio I: Vicki Bennett, Ergo Phizmiz
Trio II: Steve Beresford, John Butcher, Roger Turner
Trio III: Blevin Blectum, J G Thirlwell

“Having combined excerpts from Hollywood films to cacophonous effect in previous work, Mr Marclay leapt back in film history, making a demonically spliced silent movie whose visually noisy pulsing black and white sequences were complicated by computer animations of bright, jumpy abstract dots, stripes and shapes reminiscent of work by John Baldessari. It was an extraordinary evening of looking and listening.”
Roberta Smith, The New York Times

Forming part of The Wire 25 anniversary celebrations marking 25 years of The Wire magazine and co-curated by Electra, London & New York based visual artist and composer Christian Marclay presented the UK premier of Screen Play, a moving image musical score in which found film footage is combined with computer animation to create a visual projection, to be interpreted by live musicians in an evening length performance.

In the tradition of graphic scores, Marclay designed a “video score” combining found footage and computer animation to be interpreted by three small groups of musicians, to initiate performances while leaving ample room for interpretation and improvisation. For the London performance, Marclay assembled three groups made up of a wide-ranging collective of musical talents, including Vicki Bennett, Ergo Phizmiz, Steve Beresford, John Butcher, Roger Turner, Blevin Blectum and J G Thirlwell.

Screen Play follows The Bell And The Glass, Marclay’s first experiment with the use of video projection to convey instructions to musicians, which was commissioned by the Reloche ensemble and performed at the Philadelphia Museum Of Art in 2003.

First, a pretty bad recording from the mixing desk of the concert…
People Like Us & Ergo Phizmiz – Live Score to Christian Marclay’s Screen Play, Bush Hall, London

“I never heard it performed like THAT before…” – Christian Marclay

And then the raw tracks that People Like Us & Ergo Phizmiz composed for the live score. You may notice that these experiments then went on to be developed in Codpaste, and then Rhapsody in Glue.

Enya With Her Accordian
Honeysuckle Bollocks
Be My Baby Beat
Chase 1
Chase 2
Chase 3
Chase 4
Chase 5
Chase 6
Screen End
Screen End Opera
Fashionette by The Piccadilly Players

Live Excerpts film download

People Like Us have been performing live audio-visual sets since 1996 (for a selected list of venues see here). This started as a fairly crude set up with minidiscs and scratch-video cut up VHS tapes, and swiftly moved on to computer animated and composited collages, very parallel, at least in the mind of People Like Us, to the accompanying music. Here are five live excerpts, made between 2002 and 2007. This set is almost retired – only brought out on special occasions, and a new live A/V set will be available and touring from Winter 2009.

Download from UbuWeb
live excerpts