Richard Thompson — „Music from Grizzly Man“ (2005, May 6th, 2022)

UK FLAG                                 Richard Thompson — „Music from Grizzly Man“ (2005, May 6th, 2022)
•→  S pomocí Jima O’Rourkeho a Henryho Kaisera dodává britský kytarista hořkosladké pozadí filmu Wernera Herzoga z roku 2005 o lidské touze dobýt přírodu odsouzenou k záhubě.
•→  Hudba Richarda Thompsona „Music from Grizzly Man“ — dokumentární film Wernera Herzoga z roku 2005 o skutečném životě a smrti v aljašské divočině — je jedním z nejlépe střežených tajemství v epickém kánonu britského kytaristy: instrumentální mistrovské dílo, maskované jako filmový soundtrack. Tyto něžně detailní melodie a tiše niterné improvizace, které byly nahrány během dvou dnů ve studiu živě na Herzogův záběr — většinou sám, občas v komorních prostředích s violoncellem, klavírem a perkusemi — jsou samy o sobě kinematografií, vykresleny s obrazovým instinktem. Oslnivá technika, vytvořená v Thompsonově celoživotním průchodu tradičním folkem, psychedelií, severoafrickými módy a intenzivně osobním psaním písní. Thompson je zde ve svém nejpřirozenějším stylu — fingerpicking dance; snake~curl twang a singing~wire harmonics — v sólové čistotě, která přechází od jigové radosti k meditaci s hlubokými tóny, poté bluesový pochod „Grizzly Man“ s ozvěnami „Sloth“ Fairport Convention k dlouhé noci „Treadwell No More,“ trýznivá temnota v krájejících výškách a tremolovém chvění. Grizzly Man, produkovaný kytaristou Henrym Kaiserem, je albem silné samoty — stejně odvážné a majestátní jako země v Herzogově filmu; tak intimní jako modlitba — a opět zásadní Richard Thompson. Score: ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
•→  AD: Přemýšlíš o tom, že bys začal psát více memoáry, nebo to za tebe převzal Beeswing? 
Richard Thompson: „Myslím, že jsem skončil s chronologickým psaním memoárů. Psal jsem různé epizody. Žádné „to vede k tomu a tano k tomu.“ Jde spíše o konkrétní okamžiky. Doufejme, že se to spojí do druhého svazku. Většina rockových biografií má oblouk, kde je to na začátku velmi zajímavé a pak končí slovy: „Byli jsme na předávání cen“ a „Pak Jeff zemřel na předávkování heroinem“. Dostanu se přes dvě třetiny většiny z nich a pak ztratím zájem.“     
Birth name: Richard John Thompson
Born:  3rd April 1949, Notting Hill Gate, London, England
Location: UK
Recording date: Dec. 8 & 9, 2004
Recording Location:
••  Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, CA
Album released: May 6th, 2022
Record Label: No Quarter
Duration:     58:17
01. Tim And The Bears   0:59
02. Main Title   3:59
03. Foxes   4:22
04. Ghosts in the Maze   1:32
05. Glencoe   1:50 
06. Parents   3:31 
07. Bear Swim   0:45 
08. Twilight Cowboy   3:51
09. The Kibosh   3:28 
10. Treadwell No More   6:25
11. Teddy Bear   3:30
12. Small Racket   4:15 
13. Streamwalk   2:35
14. That’s my Story   2:18
15. Bear Fight   3:07
16. Big Racket   3:58 
17. Corona For Mr. Chocolate   3:56 
18. Main Title Revisited   3:56
19. Coyotes 
Written by:
(James Scott Skinner, arranged by Thompson)  5
(Richard Thompson, Danielle DeGruttola)  6, 7, 11
(Richard Thompson, Jim O’Rourke)  9, 12
(Danielle DeGruttola, Damon Smith)  15
(Richard Thompson, Jim O’Rourke, Henry Kaiser)  16
(Jim O’Rourke)  17
(Don Edwards)  19
Richard Thompson — guitar, bass guitar
Danielle DeGruttola — cello
John Hanes — percussion
Jim O’Rourke — piano, guitar
Damon Smith — Double bass
Henry Kaiser — electric guitar on Big Racket.

by Grayson Haver Currin May 13, 2022 Score: 8.0 
√  The first thing Werner Herzog needed viewers to know about Timothy Treadwell was that he was dead. His Grizzly Man had indeed become at best a vanquished hero, eaten by the very bears he sought to protect, or perhaps even become. Just 31 seconds into Herzog’s 2005 documentary, Treadwell — a failed actor with a blond Prince Valiant bob, who spent 13 seasons documenting grizzlies in the Alaskan wilderness — kneels in front of his camera and between two bears, bragging to an imagined audience about how dangerous and important his work is.
√  “(1957~2003),” the screen reads, a tacit taunt that offers up the ending by way of introduction. The specifics of Treadwell’s death, though, always mattered less to Herzog than the fundamental question Treadwell’s life presented: What right do people have to think they can completely return to nature or, worse, conquer it?
√  In his clenched German accent, that’s the issue Herzog repeatedly confronts for 100 minutes above Treadwell’s wondrous footage of bears in the Alaskan bush. But Grizzly Man’s most understated element — its instrumental music, somehow as dark as it is refulgent — may be as important to the film’s emotional gravity as Herzog’s editorials or Treadwell’s views.
√  Guitarist and songwriter Richard Thompson assembled a modest quintet to improvise alongside an edit for two days, part of a spirited rush to finish Grizzly Man before its Sundance premiere. (The credited “James O’Rourke” is indeed that Jim O’Rourke, then on a collaborative tear but too kind to ask that his name be fixed.) Under the aegis of producer and much wilder guitar hero Henry Kaiser, they embodied Treadwell’s personal volatility, Alaska’s untamed grandeur, and the film’s philosophical quandaries. The music never tells us how to feel about this man who seemed to know how it would all end; it only underlines the moral complexity of Treadwell’s tenuous relationship with his harsh reality.
√  Thompson and his little band display incredible range; their playing suits the action on screen no matter how dramatic or subtle it becomes. “Bear Fight” — a raging duet between cellist Danielle DeGruttola and bassist Damon Smith — introduces a titanic clash between Sergeant Brown and Mickey, two males in pursuit of “the queen of the grizzly sanctuary.” On the other hand, the spirited acoustic tangle of “Foxes” is all agility and so little power, its frothy ebullience the perfect accompaniment to playful footage of Treadwell’s steadiest forest friends. Presaging the solemn blues Earth would soon make, the title theme is majestic but troubled. Unfurling while Treadwell plays with adorable cubs that get too close and Herzog tell us that the man has “crossed an invisible border line,” it is a sublime wordless thesis, perfect in reductive function.
√  But a newly remastered edition of Thompson’s score is a pointed reminder of how well these pieces work without the movie, especially in the way they speak to our broadening and deepening conflicts with nature. Much like the film it traces, most of this music lingers in a bittersweet daze, pondering questions of right and wrong, and romance and ridicule, that Thompson knows he can never actually answer.
√  The minute~long preamble “Tim and the Bears” is as light as a Windham Hill feather, but there’s an undercurrent of accepted doom, too — fitting, since this is what plays in those opening moments, as Herzog offers his introductory silent obituary. Thompson’s stately arrangement of “Glencoe,” a Scottish fiddle lament written to memorialize a 17th~century massacre, is gorgeous and warm, its melody lazily sparkling like late~fall sunshine on a country lake. As Thompson lets his licks linger in the cracks of the restrained rhythm section, however, it’s hard not to feel uneasy, like someone is watching you. Unfathomable beauty and inescapable, irresistible danger — is there a simpler distillation of what drove Treadwell to his death?
√  Those tracks, though, follow the more familiar model for bittersweet or even emotionally ambivalent music in general — make it pretty and approachable first, then tuck the darkness into seams and corners. Grizzly Man is actually at its most stirring and enduring when it inverts this trope, adding pleasant overtones to music that feels sad or despondent. Thompson and crew nail this effect during a mid~album suite of four pieces, including his only two co~writes with O’Rourke. They mirror the way Herzog seems to see Treadwell and nature itself — skepticism and fearful respect, backed with unwavering wonder.
√  Notice the way that the eerie prepared piano and quiet metallic clanging of “The Kibosh,” the start of this suite, pair with Thompson’s warm acoustic line, cloaking everything they touch in sinister shadows; then notice the way all those elements slowly settle into conversation, as if warring parties have reached a promising compromise. “Small Racket,” the last of this stretch, waltzes with despair, each electric note extending another new frown. Thompson steadily lets a little more air into the lugubrious riff, harmonizing with it until it seems almost to smile. “Treadwell No More,” one of the most remarkable guitar works in Thompson’s very remarkable career, gathers up the loose threads of a Loren Connors abstraction and winds them into a long, tense, and luxurious blues, like some languid Mississippi raga. Sadness and sweetness are never far apart here.
√  “Human beings conscript themselves to fight against the earth,” John McPhee wrote decades ago in his canonical The Control of Nature, “to take what is not given.” He was talking about the Mississippi River and our endless efforts to manage its course, but he could have been talking about Treadwell — a tragic hero or lovable villain, depending on your vantage, who thought he was strong enough to protect animals that could and finally did kill him and his girlfriend, Amie Huguenard. The bear was subsequently shot, too. Nature didn’t need Treadwell; he harmed it, however much he loved it.
√  The real magic of Thompson’s work for Grizzly Man is that it could score a million such movies about humanity’s quests to dominate nature or integrate back into it. In the splendor of these sounds and their ingrained fatalism, you can picture wildfires ripping through mountain towns that perhaps shouldn’t exist, or waters ruining coastal cities we couldn’t save. Do you marvel more at the dam whose intricate engineering controls the river for a spell, or the mighty river when it eventually wins? Do you admire Treadwell’s devotion to the bears, or do you privately relish his fate as a subject’s pre~hibernation meal? Thompson steps back and watches, playing along to a sort of beautiful doom that seems bound to become more routine. — Pitchfork
Grizzly Man [Original Soundtrack] Review by Mark Deming. Score: ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
INTERVIEW, May 5, 2022:
Label: Thompson — „Music from Grizzly Man“ (2005, May 6th, 2022)