For the CD included in Esopus 12: Black and White, due out in early May, 11 musical acts were asked to select a black-and-white film to use as inspiration for a song.
This cinematic source material ranges from the earliest days of filmmaking (Caledonia Mission chose Hell’s Hinges, a silent movie from 1916) to Guy Maddin’s 2003 film The Saddest Music in the World (the pick of Two Dark Birds). Hollywood classics It’s a Wonderful Life (Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson), To Kill a Mockingbird (Lisa Cerbone), and Hud (Sand Pebbles) make an appearance, as well as foreign films like Luis Berlanga’s 1963 cult favorite El Verdugo (DJ/rupture) and Roman Polanski’s Repulsion, chosen by Nina Nastasia (see photo to right). Some contributors took a literal approach—reflecting on, or expanding upon, the film’s narrative, while others created what are essentially post-facto soundtracks. They all prove to be fascinating complements to the films that inspired them, as well as compelling songs in their own right.
The CD is included in the 12th issue of award-winning arts publication Esopus, which carries the theme of “black and white” to its visual extreme: the entire issue is printed in black ink only. Contents also include artists’ projects by Fiona Banner (a 25” x 16” pullout poster), Michael Iskowitz (a 24-page removable booklet), and James Pyman, harrowing recollections by a group of Vietnam vets about their experience touring the war’s front lines with the off-Broadway musical The Fantasticks, 100 still frames from Charles Burnett’s 1977 film Killer of Sheep, a facsimile reproduction of a 1974 artists’s book by the late underground legend Bern Porter, Stanley Greenberg’s fascinating photographs related to particle physics laboratories, and much more.