Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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2012 December 31 • Monday

Happy New Year!

Usually the Soundtrack of the Week is something that's actually been released as an album of some sort that you can listen to. For #250, however, no such document exists, and if it did it would probably only be about six minutes long. But we're picking the score for Punishment Park because it's by the great Paul Motian.

It's an interesting movie, very prescient in some ways, and certainly impressive though not exactly enjoyable. Read about it here and watch the whole thing here.

The music appears to be Paul Motian solo, mostly playing a couple of cymbals and/or gongs, a drum or two and what sounds like the inside of a piano or a zither or something like that. His score is similar to Toru Takemitsu's work, not only in what he actually plays but in how much space he leaves. There is very little music in the movie, which suits its documentary style.

I wish I'd known about this earlier. Paul Motian died last year but I'd been going to his gigs regularly—several times a year—for the last twenty years or so. If I'd been aware of Punishment Park I would have asked him about it.

For instance, did he come up with specific music for the exact spots where you hear his music or did he compose a solo drum piece for the director to use however it worked best? (I guess the next step is to ask director Peter Watkins about it.)

Special thanks to John Kirby for giving me a DVD this movie!