Three Way Tie: The soundworld of Tomas Riedelsheimer’s Rivers and Tides

Greene, Paul (2017) Three Way Tie: The soundworld of Tomas Riedelsheimer’s Rivers and Tides. In: Music and the Moving Image XII, 24 - 27 May 2017, New York University. (Unpublished)

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The 2001 documentary Rivers and Tides by the German filmmaker Tomas Riedelsheimer focusses on the work of the British landscape artist Andy Goldsworthy. Goldsworthy’s work is most often ephemeral and located in outdoor environments, where the particular location, the vernacular materials and the act of time on the artistic object are key elements of his practice. In the film we see Goldsworthy working in various locations including Canada, Scotland and England’s Lake District.

The film’s rich cinematography is enhanced by the score composed by the British experimental musician Fred Frith; throughout the film Goldsworthy’s work is a gift for the camera and Frith’s composition provides understated but crucial structural support throughout. His contribution frames and enables the position of the various elements of the soundworld in relation to the image. The instrumentation used by Frith has elements of both ‘noise’ and a purity of timbre which form a distinctive empathetic relationship with the visual aesthetic of the work.

My paper argues that within this work there is an overarching structural equality in the triangulation of (a) the Artists visual presence and actions, (b) the Art itself, and (c) the cinematic soundworld, inhabited as it is by non-diegetic music, diegetic sound, ‘designed’ sound and the artists voice. These sometimes complex interactions will be examined to establish how this equality is arrived at.

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