Good Music We Can Know

Sunday, February 6, 2011

"Cast Away the Poison, Throw Down The Dagger! Rejoice, Sister!": Music From Sergei Paradjanov's Ashik Kerib- Dzhavanshir Kuliyev (1988)


Here is something you won't find anywhere else, fellows and friends: The soundtrack to Sergei Paradjanov's sublime Soviet-Armenian film Ashik Kerib. An Azerbaijan folk tale of a minstrel's intense journey told in poetic imagery, the film is damn near chock-a-block and wall-to-wall with blistering lute workouts, Azerbaijani traditional and spiritual musics, mystifying juxtapositions, otherworldy atmospheres, the occasional electronic flourish, and generally brilliant sound design. Watching the movie, I found myself breaking into a cold sweat. It's not quite Paradjanov's best film (such an honor would go to Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors and/or Color of Pomegranates, although I would still venture to declare Ashik Kerib an unequivocal masterpiece), but here his always-beyond-genius use of imagery is augmented by Dzhavanshir Kuliyev's work on one of the best, most relentless soundtracks I've ever heard... so moving and powerfully otherworldly, I felt as though my brain was being penetrated by Colonel Kurtz's diamond bullet, an epiphanic moment of clarity betwixt beauty and horror.

As soon as the film ended I was on the computer hunting for the soundtrack, and came up empty-handed. As far as I know, no such artifact is available. So when I got the Paradjanov box set for Christmas (oh, what a gift it was- thanks Mom), I set to work extracting audio from the film and compiling a home-made soundtrack. Here it is. Please subject your brain to these pleasures.



Here is the soundtrack, the fruit of my humble looms. It is audio curated straight from the film, which is mostly music (the music of Dzhavanshir Kuliyev, with some songs sung by Alim Gasimov), but does include some dialogue/in-film singing and aspects of the film's excellent sound design. I feel it is sonically interesting even for those unfamiliar with the film. To reiterate: the music is insane.

If you've never seen the film, you very much should. You'd love it. If you've never seen any Paradjanov films, then I urge you to rush to reverse this. I promise you such wild depths of satisfaction and inspiration. Truly one of the most gifted, unique, and important masters of cinema, he is also one of the most obscure, especially today. Tarkovsky once said, "We are guilty of not thinking of him daily and of failing to discover the significance of a master." To view his films is to find a missing link in the history of film, an enigmatic singularity whose influence is felt all over, but whose voice has never been even nearly reproduced or equalled. After viewing a Paradjanov joint, such a magnificent visual stylist and viscerally spiritual filmmaker as Alejandro Jodorowski begins to ring somehow hollower than before (not to be needlessly didactic), in comparison to Paradjanov's hallucinatory visual realm, which is based on, but not slavish to, esoteric rituals of real peoples; using cultural traditions and truths as a poetic kaleidoscope through which to experience passionate, humanist, mystical surrealism.

from wiki: Critic Alexei Korotyukov remarked: "Paradjanov made films not about how things are, but how they would have been had he been God."
Mikhail Vartanov wrote in 1969 that "...Besides the film language suggested by Griffith and Eisenstein, the world cinema has not discovered anything revolutionarily new until The Color of Pomegranates ...".

Get familiar with Mr. Sergei Paradjanov, dear friends.






ASHIK KERIB


For those of you with an interest: I have an unedited file of the film's complete audio. The whole thing plays as an extended, layered sound collage, with even the dialogue being mostly sung or musically delivered, so if you're hungry for a bite this big, then I offer it to you. Let me know if you want that, or I might not bother.

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

i wanna check out the movie --- i gotta check around & see if watching it is an option

øשlqæda said...

love the flick of course & dig how ya harvested the sounds. indispensable prana expenditure

D. Klein said...

HOLY SHIT!

I've been looking everywhere for this. I was going to rip the audio from a shitty vhs copy (one day...) but this is a true treat. I cannot thank you enough. You've made me so happy.
Paradjanov a true magician and poet. What a beautiful man.

ps Nice album art! I wonder who would put this out on vinyl?

Anandamide said...

I came across this randomely and thought of giving it a try! It is beautiful!!!! I would love to watch the movie. Thanks for the effort you put into getting this soudtrack. Cheers!

gilhodges said...

Simply mesmerizing. Thank you for going to the trouble of capturing the audio. Richly appreciated!

Holly said...

What a labor of love. Your amazing description pulled me in - and this is wonderful! Thank you very much.

Flash Strap said...

Thank you all for saying such nice things. My heart soars like a hawk.

kickboxer said...

This is the sweetness of all sweet.

kot said...

I am in love with that file, thank you so much :) it's the fourth time in a row I listen to it, besides, I love Parajanov, tanks so much

Anonymous said...

thanks! a lot for your much appreciated work in making us happy with this wonderful music from such an outstanding film (a poem set to celluloid!!!)
love all of parajanov´s films and thankfully most of them are nowadays available on dvd (but should be watched on the big screen) in the uk & states
essential viewing.

great blog btw.

vitus

Timothy said...

Awesome! Thanks!!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks to your efforts I can indulge in this eccentric aural masterpiece. Thanks a bunch!

Osonnenstrahlo said...

thank you thank you thank you!!!!!

leo prescott said...

THANK YOU! i have been waiting for someone to reissue this on vinyl. incredible stuff - awesome...how can there be a film so rich and artistic and beautiful that found the mirror in sound and music. thanks for editing and posting this!!!! im floored

nogo said...

to me, this is the find of the year. i downloaded the soundtrack about four months ago and listen to it almost every day. thank you so much for this. i got in contact with a music lover from azerbaijan who would rip the orginal soundtrack without dialogues and the tune "dance of woman and child" is the only one i would prefer from you rip of the movie.

Jo/No said...

Sounds very interesting indeed, I'm dl right now. Thank you for your ambitious effort!

Reimer said...

Would love to hear this but mediafire refuses to let me get hold of anything but the smallest part.

Flash Strap said...

I just tested the link. It was good on my end. You might just try it again? Best of luck, Reimer.

rmutt2017 said...

A search for Don Cherry's Relativity Suite led me to your site, then I stuck around for some of your extensive William Onyeabor collection, but this is truly an amazing and gratifying find. I have looked for soundtracks to Paradjanov films in the past, but figured no such thing was or would ever be released. Thanks for making it happen!

Reimer said...

MFire still refuses to hand this over to me at anything faster than a slow dribble that gets cut off by my PC's own housecleaning. Oh well...it'll turn up elsewhere before too long (with no acknowledgement)

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much, this is wonderfull music, and the movies are pure art.

williamceurvels said...

Was the file taken down?

Flash Strap said...

There's a good link right below the camel, friend.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to drop a line and say thank you for compiling this. It's been one of my favorite albums I've listened to.

catarina said...

Thank you so much for this!! really Not only I'm a huge fan of the films of Paradjanov I had been in love with the music in his films. Thank you really! and thank you for your blog also, its really great!
Catarina

Dolmance said...

I sure wish you would repost this one.

Thanks.

Flash Strap said...

It's still up! click the bottom link

Anonymous said...

Hey! I believe the links aren't available anymore. At least, I can't see any on this page. Could you please post it again ( or upload it, if it's the case)? I'd be very thankful. Best regards!

Flash Strap said...

Links are still fine. At the bottom of the post, between the camel and the bald head: "ASHIK KERIB." Click it and download.

Anonymous said...

Many many thanks for this - downloaded and playing now. I've also been searching fruitlessly for a soundtrack for a long while. I'm so grateful to you!

- rivier