A Skin, A Night

I bought the slightly brilliant documentary A Skin, A Night by Vincent Moon last week. It’s about The National, a Brooklyn-based rock band which have been making their way to the spotlights slowly in the last few years. Their latest album, Boxer, got some great media coverage in Europe last spring.

Moon didn’t shoot a rockumentary: it’s a – quite depressing at times – sober montage on the subject of the band members and the recording of the album. A lot of the songs have multi-layered sequences with a lot of instruments, and it’s wonderful to see how it all comes together.

Also, the photography is quite odd: instead of using the standard interview and overview shots, we often look at scenes from a fly-on-the-couch perspective, the band members often not even noticing that the tape is rolling. There’s also a lot of zooming in to small details, like eyebrows, mouth twitches and … well, legs.

The DVD came with The Virginia EP, but with it’s length of nearly an hour, it’s fair to call it an album. Sure, it’s a collection of live registrations, b-sides and demo’s, but other artists would give a kidney to come even close to these gems. Make sure to check out the Rest of Years demo and the live version of About Today.

Which brings me to another project of Mr. Moon: Concerts a Emporter.

The idea is simple: follow a known (or less known) artist for a couple of hours (I’d like to know how exactly he tackles that part), which often results in a spontaneous street performance or very intimate versions of songs, all at unusual locations. Some of the highlights: The Arcade Fire performs Neon Bible in an elevator , Beirut performs Nantes in the streets of Paris, and once again, The National plays Ada on a mountain top.

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