From the little theaters of the 1920s to the ad hoc film societies of the 1950s, avant-garde cinema knew no established form and held no predictable position. The boundaries of its history are still hotly debated, but its rough sensibilities informed and permeated the visual music of Mary Ellen Bute.
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Like the works of Viking Eggeling Oscar Fischinger this lovely animation dances with the musical score. The hypnotic homage to Duchamp's precession optics and concentric circles is a nice touch. Avante Garde for it's time today it is an excellent music video.
When I read the description for this film, I thought the term "visual music" was metaphorical. But no! This is actually visual music, and it's great. I love that the music guides the visual experience, rather than being in the background. I've seen narrative features that try to do this, but the music still just seems like it's intruding on the visual. Or, the music shapes the visual into something that it's not--as when directors rely on scary music to make you feel scared even when there's almost nothing in the scene to match the mood. Here, because the image is abstract, the music actually takes the foreground even though you can't see it. Or CAN you?