Friday, June 26, 2020

discourse of vortex (crackers Jacob)

why not more storied?

i guess because no visible records of it bequeathed to us

MUSIQUE CONCRETE – A genre that features a wide array of sounds recorded to tape and then arranged in a specific order to create spatially composed sound. Original Vortex Concerts SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, MAY 29, 1957 "Space became a creative dimension of sound last night at the Morrison Planetarium, when a group of composers and technicians, headed by Henry Jacobs, demonstrated a new resource called VORTEX "As described in the program, Vortex involves the use of 36 loudspeakers grouped in stations of thee speakers each evenly spaced around the perimeter of the planetariums dome with two additional Bass speakers diametrically opposed to each other. The name VORTEX is derived from the ability to move the sounds around the dome in either clockwise or counter clockwise rotation at any speed "....It is ideally suited to the new world of sweeping jarring, scattering, booming, reverberating sounds introduced by the TAPE RECORDER and several of the tape recorder compositions performed last night were magnificent in their affect. Especially magnificent was the sense of space-limitless, incomprehensible vast, and awe-inspiring - witch this music evoked...." SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, MAY 29, 1957 This Factory Release original tape was only sold at the San Francisco Morrison Planetarium in the late 50's... The tape is a 2-track stereo tape for inline or "Stacked Heads" And played on a Technics 1506 reel to reel tape player ABOUT the VORTEX Concerts: During the late 50s, Jordan Belson collaborated with Henry Jacobs to produce a series of performances titled ‘Vortex Concerts’ at the San Francisco Morrison Planetarium. These widely popular shows, consisting of experimental electronic music and abstract visuals, became an early counter-cultural magnet for the Bay Area. 'Especially magnificent was the sense of space limitless, incomprehensibly vast, and awe-inspiring in its implications,' wrote Alfred Frankenstein in the San Francisco Chronicle. "'Amazing!' said a member of the capacity audience. 'It's hypnotic,' said another. A Euphoric Correlation of Image and Sound VORTEX was a swirling totality of sensory experience. Featuring new electronic music from avant-garde composers worldwide curated by composer/DJ Henry Jacobs Artists include Henry Jacobs, Gordon Longfellow, David L. Talcott, and William Loughborough.

belson went on to do this kind of thing

having earlier (1953) done this

Henry Jacobs's use of surroundsound would influence Walter Murch

Jacobs supplied the voice-over to this film, made by Belson's missus Jane Conger Belson Shimane

Jane Conger Belson Shimane's
Odds & Ends (1959)

Narrator: “Rheny Bojacs” [Henry Jacobs]. Transfer note: Copied from a 16mm color negative preserved by the Academy Film Archive of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Running time: 4 minutes.
By the mid-1950s San Francisco was an avant-garde boomtown. Young filmmakers honed their skills in classes at the San Francisco Art Institute, and screenings—especially those in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s “Art in Cinema” series (1946 to 1954) and the “Vortex Concerts” at Golden Gate Park’s Morrison Planetarium (1957 to 1960)—nurtured an audience. Some artists fused filmmaking with jazz and poetry in a distinctive San Francisco style. By 1959, avant-garde film was sufficiently well established that it could inspire the spoof Odds & Ends.
Little has been written about its maker, Jane Conger Belson Shimane (1927–2002). Her distributor, Creative Film Society founder Robert Pike, considered Belson Shimane the “most gifted talent” of the “new San Francisco group,” having a “formal background in art plus the graphic sensibility of an artist.” Born in Missouri, she studied at the San Francisco Art Institute and married Jordan Belson, the University of California–trained painter who took up abstract animation and exhibited as part of the “Art in Cinema” series as early as 1947. Belson Shimane premiered her first film, Logos, in 1957, the same year that her husband created the “Vortex” light shows with sound artist Henry Jacobs. Featuring an electronic score by Jacobs, her animated work played at festivals in North America and Europe and toured Latin America through the United States Information Agency. Belson Shimane followed up with Odds & Ends and by 1960, had three more films under way. She seems to have stopped filmmaking with the end of her marriage.
Odds & Ends is a sly comment on the collage film and Beat culture. To discarded travel and advertising footage found at a local film laboratory, Belson Shimane added a mélange of animation—assemblages, cutouts, color fields, and line drawings—and faux hipster narration by Jacobs (credited via the anagram Rheny Bojacs) punctuated by a bongo backing. Strung together with doublespeak and non sequiturs, the monologue skirts the edge of nonsense as Jacobs waxes on about poetry, jazz, “reaching the public,” “having a good time,” and—although “money doesn’t count”—the “possibility of subsidy” through grants. Footage of champagne, tropical beaches, and exotic peoples intermingle with rhythmic drawings and stop-motion flights of fancy. The visuals race on through dazzling transformations, both amplifying and undercutting the patter.
In 1960, Odds & Ends won a Creative Film Award, a cash prize presented by the film society Cinema 16 and the Creative Film Foundation, the New York nonprofit developed by Maya Deren to encourage experimental filmmaking. Among the other winners that year were Robert Breer, Bruce Conner, Ed Emshwiller, and Stan Vanderbeek. Commenting on the award, Belson Shimane remarked, “I don’t know just what to say other than I have been extremely impressed with the works of other film makers and ‘I just got high and put it together.’”
About the Preservation
Working from the filmmaker’s original materials, the Academy Film Archive created a preservation negative, a sound track negative, and viewing prints.
More Information
Background on the 1960 Creative Film Awards appears in Cinema 16: Documents Toward a History of the Film Society (Temple University Press, 2002), edited by Scott MacDonald. Robert Pike discusses the San Francisco film scene in his 1960 University of California, Los Angeles master’s thesis, “A Critical Study of the West Coast Experimental Film Movement.” The Wide Weird World of Henry Jacobs (Important Records, 2005) showcases Jacob’s sound pieces, including several involving his hipster persona Shorty Petterstein.

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