The Freemartin Calf

The full film in all it's beauty...

‘The realistic narrative of ‘The Freemartin Calf’ never ceases to enrichen its symbolic basis with dreamlike imagery. Here we are closer to a naturalism that its transcended, magnified. From the ambitious mis-en-scène to the intricate structure of the film and the power of the facture, ‘The Freemartin Calf’ is a film of great maturity – and of extraordinary beauty.’ – Gabriela Monelle (Culturopoing, June 2011)

‘Visual symphonies play soundtrack to the poetic voice-over, expanding into a series of images of rare filmic beauty (…). We are shaken by the truth that resides in this innovative expression of the female experience.’ – Raphael Bassan (Short Film Magazine Bref, January 2013)

…on the soundtrack:

‘Divorced from its original context, a film soundtrack can all too easily serve up a problematic listening experience. Once separated from its visual parent, a score runs the risk of losing its purpose and narrative guidance – even the finest examples of the artform are shadowed by the implicit reminder of the absent component. Perhaps then, the first remarkable thing about ‘The Freemartin Calf’ soundtrack is that from a listener’s perspective nothing is missing. Rendered with a painterly detail, the piece is an intensive ebb and flow of musical and verbal imagery that harnesses concrete sound, roving multi-instrumentalism and the bewitching performance poetry of Jayne Amara Ross (the filmmaker behind The Freemartin Calf). Ross’ vocal and carefully constructed dramatic discourse reside at the crux of the piece, ruminating on notions of the creative act made corporeal as she explores the relationship and bond between mother and child. The spoken text resounds with Plath-like flourishes of language, all the while inflected with an artful, purposeful delivery. These words are cradled within an astoundingly fluid and complex musical sequence, crafted by sound designer Maxime Champesme, cellist Gaspar Claus and consummate composer / multi-instrumentalist Frédéric D. Oberland, the latter of whom calls upon a dizzying repertoire of tools, devices and music-making disciplines to provide a soundscape full of texture and nuance. The Freemartin Calf’ assumes an episodic quality that thrives on a deft interchange between the avant-garde and sheer harmonic beauty. Oberland and Claus are equally at home conjuring moments of icily cinematic abstraction as they are establishing stirring melodic themes: by turns the soundtrack brings to mind the immersive sound collages of musique concrète pioneer Luc Ferrari and the neo-classical know-how of contemporary composers such as Max Richter or Johann Johannsson. However, going beyond such aesthetic comparisons, in terms of its spirit and completeness as a project, it might not be too outlandish to draw parallels between this work and the ECM release of Jean-Luc Goddard’s Nouvelle Vague soundtrack – both eschew OST conventions in favour of a comprehensive auditory survey of the film source, encompassing music, spoken content and location-based sound. The outcome is an acousmatic concoction able to stand alone by virtue of its own merits, offering a no-less powerful sensorial experience than that prompted by the film itself.’ David Roocroft

Jayne Amara Ross

Jayne Amara Ross is a Franco-Australian poet and filmmaker. She is the co-founder of the collective FareWell Poetry with French composer Frédéric D. Oberland. Her filmmaking is characterized by her love of hand-processed analog cinematography and spoken-word poetry. Since 2009, her films have been shown in various European festivals (Côté Court, Filmer La Musique, Les Rockomotives, Festival Signes de Nuit…) and galleries (CCA Glasgow, MAMCS Strasbourg, la Cinémathèque Française, le 104, SixDogs Athens…) and she has toured France and the UK with FareWell Poetry. She has produced 5 films to date and her latest film, The Golden House : For Him I Sought the Woods (2011), received funding from the Centre National des Arts Plastiques (France). She is currently recording Only Yearning To Sail to See (working title) with FareWell Poetry and working on a new film for the collective shot between France and Scotland.

Frédéric D. Oberland

Frédéric D. Oberland is a French composer, multi-instrumentalist and sound artist based at Magnum Diva studio in Paris. Founding member of FareWell Poetry, Oiseaux-Tempête, The Rustle of the Stars, Le Réveil des Tropiques, he has also been scoring soundtracks since 2003 and collaborating with a wide range of talents such as Bérangère Maximin, Witxes, Orla Wren, Glissando, Gaspar Claus, Gareth Davis, Monolyth & Cobalt, Arborea, Colin Johnco, Seb El Zin, etc. From modern-classical to noise, free-rock to electro-acoustic, minimalism to expansive orchestrations, his music transcends specific genres, building an organic and cinematic voyage that can be both epic and subdued, bleak and powerful. Since 2007 he has performed extensively (either solo or with his various projects) throughout Europe, including prestigious venues like the Centre Pompidou (FR), Casa Encendida (SP), Vortex Jazz Club (UK), Cinémathèque Française (FR). His work has been released on labels such as Sub Rosa, Gizeh Records, Music Fear Satan, Fac-ture, Lowave, etc.

Gaspar Claus

Born in 1983, Gaspar Claus has started the cello at age 5. From his long studies in music Highschool with great teachers such as Philip Muller (NMSC, Paris) he kept a part of his technical background. But his current research is based on an exploration of his cello skills beyond its basic use. He uses the whole body of the instrument (wood, metal & horsehair) to create a universe of sounds that he plays during his improvisations with many artists. Besides his solo performances (at the Knitting Factory, NYC; at Star Pine Cafe, Tokyo in galleries in Paris and in festivals) he has several projects with dancers like Nina Dipla or Moeno Wakamatsu, French actors (Anne Alvaro, Serge Pey ), electronic musicians (Rone, J_Mahtab, A. Yterce, Joakim Tigersushi), pop musicians (Ramona Cordova, Damo Suzuki, Kria Brekan, Scout Nibblett, Sufjan Stevens), the flamenco guitarist Pedro Soler (the album ‘Barlande’ released on Infine in 2012), with Benat Achiary, Catherine Jauniaux, or FareWell Poetry. Constantly looking for new artistic experiences, he is now also involved in many projects throughout the world. In December 2011 he held the artistic direction of a recording in Tokyo with the currents leading Japanese improvisers (Keiji Haino, Sachiko M, Otomo Yoshihide, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Tomoka Kazuki…). The result is a piece revolving around a system born in Japan in the 8th Century, the album ‘Jo Ha Kyu’ released on Important Records and Modest launch in 2013.

Buy the album here

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