Archive of films Balance Beams / Balance Beams

USA / Japan
2003, 109 min

Section: 2004: A Musical Odyssey
Year: 2004

Tokyo: post-modern improvisers and superlative non-traditional music full of silence, murmurs, and unusual instruments.


Synopsis

Tokyo, Japan at the beginning of the 21st century. Amplify music festival. We watch a quartet of Japanese guitarists as they sit holding their instruments almost without movement, playing only a handful of isolated tones. Singer Ami Yoshida uses her vocal cords as if she didn’t know what they were for and is only now trying to figure it out. Other musicians from Japan, Austria, and the United Kingdom perform subtle, unusually generated music. The show is rounded out with digital electronics, aging instruments, and classical guitars. Today, the creative scene featured in the film is at the forefront of new music. It seems an apt and topical diagnosis of today’s society. The music, emphasizing silence, noise, and audio details, reacts against the deluge of sensory impulses and the degradation of values found in the irrepressible music of the various media. It evaluates and relativises technological progress, projects human characteristics onto the operation of machines and vice versa. Balance Beams is a unique opportunity to get to know this currently highly-prized scene. The music is truly new, yet still offers a link to ambient, post-modern classical à la Cage, eastern traditional of “a different pace,” and alternative club music. Conversations with musicians ease the viewer into the mood of the film.

About the director

Jonas Leddington, who heads Viskafors Media Works, will continue to cooperate with the same group that put together Balance Beams. In May 2004 he documented the festival AMPLIFY 2004: addition, once again organized by New York based record company Erstwhile Records (for the first time in Europe: Berlin and Cologne; past venues were Tokyo and New York). Currently, Leddington is creating experimental, narrative digital-video films, and is defending a dissertation in visual studies (history of art and philosophy) at the University of California, Irvine. Balance Beams is his first feature. It was released in the eight-part AMPLIFY 2002: balance box set, praised by music magazines as one of the highlights of 2003.

Contacts

Visakfors Media Works
1691 Mesa Drive, Apt. H1, CA 92707, Santa Ana
United States of America
Tel: +1 949 933 2253
E-mail: [email protected]

About the film

Color, DVD
World premiere

Section: 2004: A Musical Odyssey
   
Director: Jonas Leddington
Dir. of Photography: Jonas Leddington
Editor: Jonas Leddington
Producer: Jonas Leddington
Production: Visakfors Media Works
Contact: Visakfors Media Works
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