RTV: Phill Niblock

Release Date: Sunday, December 31, 2000

This Roulette TV episode from 2000 shows the beginning and ending segments of Phill Niblock’s composition Guitar too, for four, also known as G2, 44 and includes an interview with the artist. This performance is one of the first iterations of Niblock’s 6 Hours of Music and Film, which is staged yearly at Roulette on the Winter Solstice.

Although only three guitarists are seen on the tape, the computer samples make a total of 24 guitar parts plus two tracks respectively from five other players, which contribute to a slowly unfolding density of harmonic richness. On two screens are images of Japanese workers on Honshu island unloading and processing fish, mending and re-stringing nets, trawling out to sea, and displaying their catch. Bits of ephemeral melodic-like gestures (overtone illusions) sometimes arise later in the piece. In his interview, Niblock explains how the notion of minimalism applies to his music, his fascination with the movements of people working, his efforts to get rid of editing-style, his relationship to the audience, and how to keep his work filled with content but “neutral” in the sense of allowing the audience their own perceptions.

Aired on rTV: 2000
Performance date: 05/14/2000
Episode digital release date: 04/23/2010
Host: Phoebe Legere
Produced by Jim Staley
Directed by Matt Mehlan

Composer, filmmaker, and photographer, Phill Niblock runs the Experimental Intermedia Foundation in New York and writes noble, hypnotic, majestic music constituted of sustained sounds for large instrumental ensembles of the same family (e.g. all strings, all flutes, all trombones, etc.) that very gradually change their timbre and pitch characteristics (pieces such as “Four Full Flutes”, “Early Winter” for massed strings, “Didjeridoos”, and “Five More Strings Quartets”).