Skip to main content

Asian Dub Foundation - THX 1138

Usher Hall, Edinburgh
Four Stars


The two laptops that shine in the gloom from one side of the stage flanked by Asian Dub Foundation's live quartet speak volumes about how far we've come since George Lucas's first and best feature film appeared in 1971. Before Lucas veered off into smash hit space operas and pulp adventure yarns, THX 1138's depiction of a medicated dystopian society utilised hi-tech surveillance techniques and computer data to illustrate a form of social control which seemed like so much post-1960s paranoia. Almost half a century on in ADF's mash-up of sound and vision that began a UK tour this weekend it now looks and sounds like prophecy.

ADF have previous form in grafting live soundtracks onto the likes of La Haine and Battle of Algiers, and you can see the appeal of Lucas and co-writer Walter Murch's parable about a man who attempts to escape from a psyched-out world of sex crimes and virtual messiahs to such a politically charged band.

As a pioneer of sound design, Murch's input to the film was crucial, as was made clear in a filmed interview that preceded the main feature. Here the three time Oscar winner made clear the effect of music concrete on a soundscape that looped a Pierre Henri piece for atmosphere, while John Cage and Terry Riley are also acknowledged influences.

Such subtleties aren't always heard through ADF's beat-led approach, as flute, guitar, bass and drums lend pounding propulsion to an era defining work that goes way beyond Lalo Schifrin's original score. The end result gives urgency to the film's soporific trippiness, refreshing it with a twenty-first century intensity that thunders its way to freedom.

The Herald, October 20th 2015


ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Maids

Dundee Rep

Two sisters sit in glass cases either side of the stage at the start of Eve Jamieson's production of Jean Genet's nasty little study of warped aspiration and abuse of power. Bathed in red light, the women look like artefacts in some cheap thrill waxworks horror-show, or else exhibits in a human zoo. Either way, they are both trapped, immortalised in a freak-show possibly of their own making.

Once the sisters come to life and drape themselves in the sumptuous bedroom of their absent mistress, they raid her bulging wardrobe to try on otherwise untouchable glad-rags and jewellery. As they do, the grotesque parody of the high-life they aspire to turns uglier by the second. When the Mistress returns, as played with daring abandon by Emily Winter as a glamour-chasing narcissist who gets her kicks from drooling over the criminal classes, you can't really blame the sisters for their fantasy of killing her.

Slabs of sound slice the air to punctuate each scene of Mart…

Phoebe Waller-Bridge - Fleabag

Phoebe Waller-Bridge is a busy woman. The thirty-two year old actress who burst onto our TV screens as writer and star of Fleabag, the tragi-comic sort of sit-com about a supposedly independent woman on the verge is currently overseeing Killing Eve, her new TV drama which she's written for BBC America. As an actress, Waller-Bridge is also filming a big screen project which we can't talk about, but which has already been outed as being part of the ongoing Star Wars franchise.

These are both pretty good reasons why Waller-Bridge won't be appearing in the brief Edinburgh Festival Fringe revival of the original stage play of Fleabag, when it opens next week at the Underbelly, where it was first unleashed to the world in 2013. In her place, Maddie Rice will take on the role of the potty-mouthed anti-heroine after touring Vickie Jones' production for Waller-Bridge and Jones' DryWrite company in association with Soho Theatre. This doesn't mean Waller-Bridge has turned…

Futureproof 2017

Street Level Photoworks, Glasgow until February 4th 2018
Four stars

Now in its ninth year, Futureproof's showcase of recent graduate photographers from seven Scottish art schools and universities returns to its spiritual home at Street Level, with nineteen artists embracing photo essays, abstraction and constructed narratives. It is Karlyn Marshall's Willies, Beuys and Me that grabs you first. Tucked in a corner, this depiction of a woman impersonating iconic artist Joseph Beuys says much about gender stereotyping, and recalls Manfred Karge's play, Man to Man, in which a German woman took on her dead husband's identity.

The personal and the political converge throughout. Ben Soedera's Foreign Sands contrasts natural resources and the constructed world. Gareth and Gavin Bragdon's The Bragdon Brothers moves onto the carnivalesque streets of Edinburgh. Kieran Delaney's Moments also looks at the apparently ordinary. Matthew Buick goes further afield, as tourists…