♫♪  Coleman Zurkowski - “4”

Coleman Zurkowski’s video for “4” (directed by Anthony Zakharia) is a mélange of over-saturated Super 8 footage, in all likelihood portraying several generations of the composer’s own family. Many of the images show cheerful faces on festive occasions: a grandmother feeding a newborn in front of a Christmas tree, a beautiful young woman playing with a child on a sunny fall day, and two different people (on two different occasions) interacting with a puppy. The fragment that draws you in, however, rings less than idyllic. Beginning around the 45-second mark, it shows two blurry figures, a woman and a boy, walking slowly across a grassy field with their heads down. It seems that there’s tension between them, as if the boy had just been scolded. The scene drags on for longer than you’d want, just like it probably did in the minds of its protagonists; it is that awkward procession of shame, when everything’s already been said and everyone’s more than eager to get some space, but you still have to walk home, and it just so happens that you live together.

The reason why the scene’s both captivating and memorable is that it’s also the brief moment of the video where the music and the visual sync up in emotional consonance. Steeped in a plash of static that resembles both a crowd applauding and steady rain, the interwoven clarinet drone of “4” paints a mood of humiliation, regret, and malaise. The end result, however, is not sad music: Zurkowski pulls off a masterly feat of staging these emotionally-loaded states as the very necessary, commonplace elements of life that they are.

“4” comes off Zurkowski’s recently-released ZERO: an “exploration of the physical and emotional effects of binaural/isochronic rhythms which are gradually slowing into silence,” or an elegantly eclectic collection of minimalist pieces reminiscent of the music of Pauline Oliveros, La Monte Young, and Arvo Pärt. The album, out on Dangerbird Records as part of their “Arthur King Presents” series of experimental releases, can be purchased here. ZERO is also going to have its official live premiere at Wonders of Nature art gallery in Brooklyn on April 15.

Chocolate Grinder

CHOCOLATE GRINDER is our audio/visual section, with an emphasis on the lesser heard and lesser known. We aim to dig deep, but we’ll post any song or video we find interesting, big or small.

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