Episode #539

Murch, Makita, Player Piano

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Saturday, September 25, 2004

Kurt Andersen talks with master film editor Walter Murch about the tools he used to edit movies like The Godfather and Cold Mountain. You’ll hear a painter fall in love with some very shapely power drills. A riding lawnmower is customized to dance to the sounds of leaf blowers and weed whackers. And before composers used computers, one created complex music no human could ever play, by using the old-fashioned player piano.

Guests:

Walter Murch

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Rumsfeld Songs

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Special Guest: Walter Murch

Walter Murch is that rare creature — an artist almost universally considered a master in his field. He edits sound and images for movies. His credits include the Godfather, Apocalypse Now, American Graffiti, The English Patient, The Talented Mr. Ripley, The Conversation, and Cold Mountain.

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Makita Man

At first glance New York artist John Mahoney’s paintings look like traditional Japanese imagery with their chrysanthemum patterns and flocks of cranes. Look a little closer and you find hidden in the art are the distinctive shapes and designs of Makita brand power tools. Produced by Ilya Maritz.

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Garden of Earthly Delights

Los-Angeles based Mexican artist Rubin Ortiz-Torres is inspired by gardeners and their equipment. He customized a riding lawn mower to jump, gyrate and dance by remote control. Oritz-Torres commissioned his sister to write music for this ballet. Her revved-up sounds are made by leaf blowers and weed whackers. Produced ...

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Nancarrow's Player Piano

In the 1940s and '50s, American composer Conlan Nancarrow used an old-fashioned tool to create music no human could have played or heard before. To write his compositions, Nancarrow used mind-bending mathematical formulas to cut extremely complex rolls for the player piano. Produced by Sarah Lilley

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