Friday, July 19, 2013

PROJECT// Vincent Moon: Collection Petites Planetes

Western music is entirely paradoxical, in that it is both infinitely huge and infinitesimally small. We know of thousands upon thousands of artists and bands, and yet they are all huddled between the staunch bookends of public convention. Pop and rock are accepted staples of this isolated musical expanse, interspersed with volumes of alternative indie electronica and the rare, leather-bound jazz standard. The far more interesting tomes are left outside the barricading bookends, and talk of free-jazz atonality and primal metal aggression. They whisper of the avant-garde and point towards the far-off lands of world music, where religion and ritual are of the utmost importance.

Vincent Moon's project Petites Planetes roots out this enchanting world music and places it neatly back upon the cultural shelf. Best known for his guerilla film-making style, Moon collaborated with the likes of REM and Arcade Fire before deciding to embark on his search for tradition and folklore. From the singing women of Croatia's Carpathian Mountains to the shamanistic rituals of Java, he has painted intimate portraits of distant cultures. He has preserved the dying Glagolitic mass and recorded the tribal songs of Southern Ethiopia. The Yiddish traditions and the HudHud chants of the Filipino Cordillera have all be committed to film and to tape, each a beautiful expression of the boundless delights of human existence. These musical explorations defy convention. The voices are not perfect, and neither are the instruments. But in each note there is a passion. They retain a truth and a meaning and a spirituality, that has all but seeped through our sad, staunch bookends.

Listen to a wonderful Ukrainian folk song above and then check out Petites Planetes here.