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Danielson: A Family Movie (Or, Make A Joyful Noise Here)


PrivateStorm
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Keep it coming, gang. I'm hoping to find a way to slightly moderate my little write-up. And the fact that y'all find the Danielson music actually shows talent is very encouraging in that direction. The clips in the film didn't incline me that way, but maybe if I give some of the studio stuff a listen I'll be able to add some depth to my response to the film alone. Best starting place?

I've posted a couple hundred of my Soul Food Movies write-ups at letterboxd

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Ron, so far, I've only really delved into Ships, which is the newest album, and I'm pretty much hooked. You might want to try listening to "Did I Step on Your Trumpet?," which can be found here. I think that was one of the last songs we saw the group perform in the film, actually. I'm taking in the album bit by bit, and I'm stuck on the last two songs and the first four, listening to them over and over. I don't think I've ever heard such complex structures or so many tempo changes within rock or alternative music or whatever you want to call it.

(By the way, folks, the video for "Did I Step on Your Trumpet?" was posted this week.)

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Ron, so far, I've only really delved into Ships, which is the newest album...I don't think I've ever heard such complex structures or so many tempo changes within rock or alternative music or whatever you want to call it.

Actually, Ships is comparatively light on the odd structures/key signature weirdness/etc. in relation to Fetch the Compass Kids, Alpha, or Tell Another Joke At The Ol' Choppin' Block. That's a big reason why -- to hit Ron's question -- it's probably the best starting place for Danielson newbies. Fetch the Compass Kids would be second. Don't dare start with A Prayer for Every Hour.

Dale

Edited by M. Dale Prins

Metalfoot on Emmanuel Shall Come to Thee's Noel: "...this album is...monotony...bland, tripy fare..."

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Very interesting. I've also got Fetch the Compass Kids and Brother Is to Son at home, but I've only scratched the surface on Brother so far.

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  • 5 months later...

I finally got a chance to watch the DVD this weekend and just posted my review.

...the scenes that prove most affecting for me are those where Smith, sans Famile, works to find his way during the band’s separation. He outlines for the camera his approach to songwriting -- one where he claims the Holy Spirit plays as great a role in the creative process as himself, if not even greater. And yet, at the same time, we never see Smith just sitting back, waiting for divine inspiration to strike. Instead, he's constantly busy in the studio, recording songs over and over again, going back and fixing mistakes, and working on new recording techniques.

It's this dichotomy between the spiritual lens through which Smith sees his music, and the often-mundane activities that are involved in realizing the music (which, given the sparsity of Smith’s studio, have an almost monastic quality to them) that I find most fascinating.

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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Cool, Ope. Can I call you that? :)

I wasn't aware this was out on DVD. Blockbuster has it available to audiences on 4/10. Just got it saved in the queue.

-s.

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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Cool, Ope. Can I call you that? :)

Ope, Opie, Ope-dawg... it's all good to me.

I wasn't aware this was out on DVD. Blockbuster has it available to audiences on 4/10. Just got it saved in the queue.

I was sent a review screener awhile ago, and finally got around to viewing it.

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
Opus, Twitter, Facebook

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  • 3 months later...

Saw it. Loved it. And --

Um, I'm in it.

15:26-15:29. THREE WHOLE GLORIOUS SECONDS.

That's me on the bottom right. Short guy, blonde, I smile and look at the camera and then back to the stage.

Dude. I am in the Danielsons movie.

Almost as cool as being from New Jersey. Oh well. After Garden State this is obviously NJ's second best.

-s.

Edited by stef

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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Saw it. Loved it. And --

Um, I'm in it.

How'd I miss that! I'm going to dig out my screener and look at it again!

I loved this piece, and (as it was my most complete introduction to the band) I loved getting to know the famile. But it is patently obvious that this will not be for everyone. Daniel has found a new frontier, and his ideas and innovations will be co-opted by others who will popularize them - such is the way with many original artists. But he seems to be a treasure: genuinely creative, more concerned with creativity than "success", delightfully filled with wonder in his relationship with God. I found much to admire, even though some of it was a bit too experimental for my tastes.

"Could we ever know each other in the slightest without the arts?"

« Nous connaîtrions-nous seulement un peu nous-mêmes, sans les arts? »

Quoted on Canada's $20 bill; from Gabrielle Roy's novel La montagne secrète. The English translation, The Hidden Mountain, is by Harry L. Binsse.

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LOVE the Danielson Famile! I enjoyed the film from the standpoint of being a fan, but found the documentary itself to be lacking.

It seemed they kept trying to find controversy with all the folks at shows -- all of the "yeah, I'm not a Christian, but the Danielsons are cool" quotes seemed far too competitive. Since everyone seemed to say the same thing, I thought it was weird to keep pushing the issue.

Overall though, I found it enjoyable. Made me want to attend another Danielson show pronto!

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Saw it. Loved it. And --

Um, I'm in it.

How'd I miss that! I'm going to dig out my screener and look at it again!

I loved this piece, and (as it was my most complete introduction to the band) I loved getting to know the famile. But it is patently obvious that this will not be for everyone. Daniel has found a new frontier, and his ideas and innovations will be co-opted by others who will popularize them - such is the way with many original artists. But he seems to be a treasure: genuinely creative, more concerned with creativity than "success", delightfully filled with wonder in his relationship with God. I found much to admire, even though some of it was a bit too experimental for my tastes.

Having spent a little time with Daniel, and a little more time with his dad Lenny, I wish the Smith clan nothing but grace and success. I just don't like their music. The music strikes me as innovative in the same way that Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music or John Cage's 4'33" are innovative. Yeah, it makes a philosophical point. I just find the point unlistenable. I think it's possible to do childlike wonder without sounding like a four-year-old.

But that's me. I will readily admit that people I know and respect think very highly of this band. It's also clear to me that Lenny is the inspiration behind much of this music. Lenny wrote one massively successful song -- the praise chorus "Our God Reigns" -- that put his kids through college. Since then he's written a few dozen songs that are every bit as experimental as what Daniel is doing, and that no one will publish.

One thing is patently clear: the whole bunch of them are doing what they do because they desire to honor God. Worship permeates the lives of these folks. They're odd in an endearing way, and there's not a whiff of pretense or music industry moneygrubbing about them.

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Thanks for your comments, Andy. While I love the music that Daniel & company create, I certainly realize it has a select market. I would never give a Danielson album to my sister, for instance.

Of course, I was incredibly excited when I saw that 4'33" was being performed at my college's New Music Concert five or so years ago. I attended and was almost giddy when it reached the program.

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With all the crap involved with moving halfway across the country...

You moved? To where?

I've posted a couple hundred of my Soul Food Movies write-ups at letterboxd

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You moved? To where?

Chicagoish. I can be more exact in a couple weeks, hopefully.

Dale

Edited by M. Dale Prins

Metalfoot on Emmanuel Shall Come to Thee's Noel: "...this album is...monotony...bland, tripy fare..."

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You moved? To where?

Chicagoish. I can be more exact in a couple weeks, hopefully.

Dale

Dang. I was hoping for Seattle, at least.

I've posted a couple hundred of my Soul Food Movies write-ups at letterboxd

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  • 1 year later...

Apparently I'm the last person in the world to see this. I wasn't a Danielson fan before but after the movie I'm tempted to go back and try listening again. It was very interesting to watch this after the huge success of Sufjan's Illinoise album. I think the movie would have been more interesting if it did more exploring of the relationship between Smith and Stevens, but after some reflection that wasn't the point of the movie. I also would have liked to hear more from the young women of Danielson.

I'm still smarting over Smith Sr.'s women who only want "1.5 kids" as not "real women" comment but maybe I just took it too personally.

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  • 1 year later...

Projected grade: A++++.

Actual grade (thank you, Netflix on demand): B. Ron's review on page 2 of this thread, Danielson-hating excepted, was pretty spot-on; "ordinary" is, unfortunately, a good descriptor of the doc.

Boo.

Dale

Edited by M. Dale Prins

Metalfoot on Emmanuel Shall Come to Thee's Noel: "...this album is...monotony...bland, tripy fare..."

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Yes, Dale, but -- did you see me in it? Did you see me?

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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After rereading the thread (but before seeing your comment), I went back to rewatch those seconds, and: Hey! It's Persona! At (what I assume was) Cornerstone!

Dale

Metalfoot on Emmanuel Shall Come to Thee's Noel: "...this album is...monotony...bland, tripy fare..."

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Proof that I'm in it! Dale said so. That must make me a G.C.H.* (oh gosh, on second thought maybe I hope not)

*Genuine Christian Hipster

Edited by Persona

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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Yes, Dale, but -- did you see me in it? Did you see me?

That was the most transcendent moment of the film.

Nah. Brother Danielson and his nurse sisters were all in it, too. :)

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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