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Saturday, October 24, 2009


Inspiration does come from the darndest places. As a creative musician, the object is to make sound that has never been made, no matter how many others share the same inspirations.
Rist's Elixir surely must have come from nature, the same sounds and trees and sticks we all spend our lives tripping over. If only there were a way for Chuck and I to transpose this immersive experience and bottle the beauty of Kerala in a musical performance.
Even within relatively muted and contained colors of the classical music world, there is the occasional shocker: last week, the Rachel Barton Pine Foundation in Chicago awarded me the loan of a 1718 Stradivarius violin.
On Monday, I fly to Warsaw with it to record with the Sinfonia Varsovia. In the meantime, I've been spending time with this legendary antique, getting to know it, learning how to mold its moods even as the damned thing seems to be bending me to its ancient will.
How many ways there are to impale oneself on beauty.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Inspiration from the Swiss

I'm here in Helsinki, Finland working on my next action sports video, and yesterday it was too cold to film (big surprise) so I had a tourist day downtown. In addition to all the normal stuff like coffee and gift shopping I was able to make time to check out a new exhibit at the contemporary art museum called Elixir by Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist. The subject matter of the exhibit was much different from Song of the Untouchable, but the presentation and the use of technology and space to create a comfortable, immersive environment was really awe inspiring.

At the last performance of Greg's that I attended - a multimedia work titled 'Searching for the Perfect Planet' - there was extensive use of projected images and sound, and Greg also has mentioned his interest in creating a multimedia work from some of the footage in Song of the Untouchable. Truly, when an artist gets the combination correct of all the varius elements, it really creates something special.

At Elixir, the visitor is enveloped in a large space, with colorful images surrounding them on all sides including the ceiling. Objects such as tree branches and clear plastic objects are suspended in the beam of the projectors offering strange silhouettes and reflections. Comfortable carpet and long pillows invite the visitor to lay down and enjoy the sights and sounds.

Though there was no clear narrative to the program, I wound up spending about 45 minutes enjoying the exhibit... about as long as a film.



Sunday, October 11, 2009

Developing a style - starting from scratch

In addition to directing Song of the Untouchable, I'll also be serving as the Director of Photography for the film. One of the reasons Greg decided to bring me on board is that he felt a sneaky suspicion that if the subject matter was handled wrong it could turn into an un-watchably boring nightmare of a travelogue. My approach will not be entirely different from the way I handle my action sports material, in terms of my choice of subject matter and visual elements. Landscape will play a big part in Song of the Untouchable, since the Kerala region is a beautiful place and it would just be wrong to ignore that. Transportation is another element... I'm always looking for ways to show transportation. Character and lifestyle is another important element I like to pay attention to, so as Greg moves through the landscape with his violin on unique forms of transportation (a houseboat as been discussed for some of the travels) that means I'm right at home.

As I write this I'm in Helsinki working on a action sports film. My friend Nalle lives here... in a unique urban landscape, using interesting forms of transportation, and living a very unique lifestyle. As I work on documenting him and his recent athletic achievements my thoughts are also progressing to the long-term goal of developing a unique visual style for Song of the Untouchable. I'll try to keep the blog updated as I make progress, but for now, here's a frame from the shoot yesterday.

Nalle Hukkataival takes a longboard to his training session. Still frame from video clip.

Cheers, Chuck

Saturday, October 10, 2009


It was a deceptively gentile scene: three men sitting around a plate of cold pizza, the Colorado foothills floating over the busy highway in the distance beyond us like a mirage. Dr. David Claman, world traveller and latter-day Sex Pistol, was showing two of us a historical lineage of Indian musicians on his laptop. Our director, Chuck Fryberger, sat quietly, envisioning ways he could make this landscape of South India explode across a movie screen. And I was just shaking my head; how would I ever catch up with these guys, in the course of a project that requires me to take my old French violin and learn the music of gurus half a world away?

What have I gotten myself into?

Monday, October 5, 2009

What is Song of the Untouchable?

Song of the Untouchable is an adventure film profiling the journey of Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra Concertmaster Gregory Walker. Greg is preparing to embark on a musical journey through Kerala in southern India, where he will collaborate with local musicians, and absorb the sights, sounds, and culture of one of the most fascinating regions in the world.

There is no doubt Greg will undergo personal transformations and experience a way of life altogether different from what he has known. With the end goal of incorporating this new-found knowledge into his musical repertoire, Greg will return for the creation of a new composition, Song of the Untouchable, that will debut in Denver in April 2011. Full, worldwide release of the film is scheduled for summer 2011.

Follow along with this blog to stay up to date on the production, and watch as the story unfolds....

The Team:

Writer: Gregory Walker
Director/Cinematographer: Chuck Fryberger
Executive Producer: Matt Francis
Producer: Stephanie Marvez
Second Camera: Nelson Carayannis