Day #143/365: Central Office Of Information + Mordant Music = MisinforMation

  • MisinforMation-Mordant Music-Central Office Of Information-BFI-DVD cover-A Year In The CountryFile under: Trails and Influences.
    Other Pathways. Case #20/52.

    Well if, as was once said, writing about music is like dancing about architecture, what is writing about an audio-visual piece of work like? Dancing about two buildings with an adjoining door or overhead walkway?

    That was a thought that occurred to me when I watched MisinforMation and for some reason a conventional piece of writing didn’t seem appropriate.

    What follows are the notes I quickly made as I watched (and half re-watched) the DVD, presented largely as written:

    Rats in a maze… non-future vision/visuals… cutting edge blunted… This segment is distressing. Don’t need to see it again… Illusions… Walking in circles… None actually used… Return to edgelands… Boschian concrete… A wander through a carpark: a view from a dystopian, paranoid period piece/drama?… Waste… A very real simulacra… Why does the Ideal/show homes part feel more like Protect and Survice?… Overspill areas… Decay like this can set in anywhere… The only solution is…

    The future, technological dreams and hope… Is now our friend… Yolk, knife, finger, sleeve, fork… Again and again: repeat… Orchid, living, tomorrow, good… bye…

    Boffins… In every dream home a heartache… Mannequins, countdown, stone circles… Sun flare. Beauty. Glints of beauty. Stands alone (through time?)… Distant breeze… crystal clear… And this. And this. Etched in his features/face?…

    Britain: echo + fade… There are other ways… Shadows on the landscape: don’t usually see that/the vessel…

    The end (tone?)… They appear over the hill. Cagoules. COI: curiously Orwellian? Monolothic?

    MisinforMation-Mordant Music-Central Office Of Information-BFI-menu titles-A Year In The Country

    Nematode. Cronenberg-esque? Black screen. Nulation. Exudation. Black Screen. Under The Skin?

    Modernism vs nature; blunt + brutal; what it brings to the forefront…

    Tractor drives down country lane – scan to flat-roofed new builds on hillside…

    Made from/covered in concrete dust… Outdoor holiday necessities… The Golden Eagle… Bare empty conurbations, devoid of beauty + ornament…

    Collapsed new buildings (that never stood up?)… Washington New Town – anything but new… Boxes/box houses…

    Domestic building vehicle: militaristic vehicle (bleak)… Intercut: utopia + end of modernity… Spaceship Earth… the sick man of Europe… yellow haze…

    Estrual slurry… expensive to leave, expensive to stay… Brief snatches of green but all looks like edgelands…

    Rapid solutions, bent institutions…

    Nuclear storage not sure where yours is.

    All scrubland…

    Eastbourne… Remoteness? Peter Greenaway… Hitchcockian burglar birds…

    Early building – director chap… about terrifying… “Your child is at risk”…

    Oddly out-of-place utopian cartoons…

    Population as virus… Teeming… Pink salmon bleached out colours… Unsettling… The sea is in their blood… Driving music at odds with pastoral visuals but fitting… seaside; giving a different rhythm…

    England protected: fallout?

    MisinforMation-Mordant Music-Central Office Of Information-BFI-A Year In The Country 2MisinforMation is a DVD released by the BFI where Mordant Music was let loose with and rescored films from the archives of the Central Office Of Information – short films/programs/adverts intended for educational or instructional use from the 1970s and 1980s.

    It is an unsettling, entrancing piece of work. These films in their original form now often have a disturbing around the edges, spectral feel, often they are visions of a future hoped for but never quite reached, snapshots of a society which now looks stuck or mired (though history has marched on). This unsettling aspect is added to by the fading of their colours over the years – the films show a world which often looks full of grimy shadows even out in the open and afternoon daylight let alone under unlit concrete structures and stairwells; often the colour palette is that of a sickly, washed out salmon pink.

    MisinforMation-Mordant Music-Central Office Of Information-BFI-A Year In The CountryAdd to this the musical rescoring and re-interpretation of Mordant Music and… well there are some parts that I’m not sure if I want to watch again.

    Though I have to say, it’s not all unrelenting hauntological worry and grimness: there are glimpses of beauty, sun and the rolling landscape in amongst this. Glimpses mind.

    It has been asked by Simon Reynolds if this is the ultimate hauntological artifact, which is quite probably a fair question. Visit him here.

    Visit Mordant Music here. Visit the disc at the BFI here. Peruse a clip or two here and here.

    A more conventional overview of the disc can be found at Boomkat here; ah, you see, dancing about music/audio-visual work can be done effectively.

    MisinforMation-Mordant Music-Central Office Of Information-BFI-A Year In The Country-egg

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