Thursday, April 21, 2005

Sounds Fishy...

Yo La Tengo mounts its Sounds of Science show this weekend.

"Thank you for saying that," Ira Kaplan murmurs. The part-time frontman for the band (he shares vocal duties with wife Georgia Hubley) is quick to note, "We enjoy St. Louis, but I'll say there is something of a coincidence that this keeps happening. The Sounds of Science in particular -- we haven't done it in about three years. It's a pretty hard show to mount, so in particular we don't seek them out. They're self-selecting in that if somebody comes to us, we think they might be ready to deal with everything that's involved. You know, coordinating the films from France, and us and our special needs."

The films Kaplan refers to are the documentaries of Jean Painlevé; the French filmmaker created a strange marriage of science and art when he took his cameras underseas in the '50s and '60s. Somewhere between (and beyond) Jacques Cousteau and Steve Zissou, Painlevé crafted tiny epics with titles such as The Love Life of the Octopus and How Some Jellyfish Are Born. In 2001 the San Francisco Film Festival approached Yo La Tengo about performing live to a film of the band's choice, and after much deliberation, the undersea world of Painlevé was determined to be the perfect showcase for Yo La Tengo's talents. Thus was birthed Yo La Tengo's "The Sounds of Science" project.


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