CHRISTINE OTT &
Nanook of the North
Nanook of the North tells the daily life of the Eskimo family living in Hudson Bay. Fights for life, constant shifts, fishing, seal hunting... The spectator shares the life of the family of the far north. "The magic of the film lies in the fact that they are themselves and that they are not comedy. They are." says Robert Flaherty. Christine Ott's sober compositions combined with unusual timbres by Torsten Böttcher marry these images together and bear witness to a great simplicity and humanity.
This live soundtrack creation was first commissioned to Ott in 2013 by La Rochelle International Film Festival. Ott is internationally known for her Ondes Martenot playing; but this time we do not discover Ott playing Martenot, as in the recent soundtrack she did with Snowdrops to the movie Manta Ray. In agreement with Flaherty's film, she decided to work with acoustic instrumentation, of skin, of hammers, of breaths... She's playing piano, percussions, gong, and decided to invite Torsten Böttcher to add hang, kalimba & didgeridoo.
Ott met Böttcher in 2011. She was impressed by his hang drum playing. Torsten has collaborated with renowned world music players, jazz formations and also orchestras. They first collaborated for Ott's Tabu soundtrack, created in 2012 and released in 2016 on Gizeh, also as part of the labels Dark Peak Series. One year later, Ott and Böttcher co-composed this new live soundtrack - again on a Robert Flaherty movie, travelling from the south of Bora Bora to the far north of Nanook.
This very acoustic set is deeply linked to the rough life of Nanook and his family. The setlist is mainly balanced between Ott's piano pieces (the main theme Nanook, Kayak Fragile, Lights) and Böttcher's hang lead works (Family, Igloos, Morning). We can feel in the compositions and in their playing the sincerity and the beauty of each gesture of Nanook's daily life. One of the highlights of this live recording is the haunting duet Première chasse / Walrus hunting, in which Ott's bouncing piano playing is perfectly responding to the groove of Böttcher’s hang, in an almost jazz influenced sequence.
Ott & Böttcher reworked this creation during 2018 in Strasbourg. This recording is a bit shorter than the stage version, but keeps the movie's frame. And at the end, the last piece ...Et le blizzard resonates as a magnificent repetitive track in this majestic but relentless North; Nanook died of hunger, two years after the shooting, during a particularly disastrous hunting expedition. But we are not about to forget his radiant face and his courage for eternity.
"The mythical Nanook of the north sublimated by Christine Ott & Torsten Böttcher" FIP, Radio France
"Fans of both Philip Glass and Terry Riley ought to enjoy it."
New York Music Daily
"Tension, subtlety and beauty go together in an inimitable way." De Subjectivisten
"Between neoclassical and jazz, the spectrum is wide and the duo explores a significant part of the contours. The telluric compositions bring us back to primary elements that it would be rather urgent to consider as current. Indeed, how can we project ourselves onto a planet whose needs we refuse to understand? The power of music is strong when such questions add to the intrinsic beauty of the compositions. Christine Ott and Torsten Böttcher thus perform a work that is both malignant and full of accuracy." Indie Rock Mag
Live soundtrack composed by Christine Ott & Torsten Böttcher
Christine Ott : Piano, Toy Piano, Gong & Percussions
Torsten Böttcher : Hang, Didgeridoo, Kalimba
Recorded live in Cheval Blanc, Schiltigheim
by Eric Gauthier-Lafaye, May 2018
Edited and Mixed by Mathieu Gabry, 2019
Warm and special thanks to Eric "Rico" Gauthier-Lafaye and Sara Sghaier for making this recording possible.
CD artwork and packaging designed by Richard Knox and
hand-printed by Death Rattle Press.
October 25th 2019
CD / Digital
CD is a limited edition of 175 copies as part of Gizeh's 'Dark Peak' series. Housed in a black, gatefold, recycled card sleeve. Each copy is printed and assembled by hand at Gizeh HQ. Download code included.
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