Bruce Brubaker x Max Cooper x Nick Cobby “The Poet Acts” Video
Glass Hearing Philip Glass’ compositions for the first time can be an enlightening experience: A moment of revelation closely followed by a sense of familiarity, a feeling that these melodies have been with us for a long time and we are now finally remembering them. For many, “The Poet Acts” is that first composition we come into contact with — a song that has transcended it’s original place in the soundtrack of the 2002 movie “The Hours” and has become one of the most well known pieces of classical music from the 21st century.
At first glance, the Glassforms version of “The Poet Acts“ performed by Bruce Brubaker and Max Cooper stays fairly true to the original composition. Brubaker is a close personal friend of Glass and has recorded with him numerous times — his delicate piano work is exquisite, his understanding of the works intention crystal clear. But slowly, Max Cooper underscores the familiar melody with giant walls of subtly building, pitch- bending bass. It fills the empty space between the dancing piano notes with a longing, wistful foundation. The bass fights it’s way up, opening up and unfolding just to retract and close again — a call and response between the classical and the modern elements of Glassforms develops, until the two merge in perfect harmony as we arrive at the crescendo of “The Poet Acts”.
In Nick Cobby’s music video, this sense of clashing elements is perfectly visualized. “We focus on the poet, a creative introvert, one that lives alone, dreams in vibrant colour but who is as unstable as they are brilliant. A mind that is capable of beautiful creation and self-implosion in equal measures.”, Cobby describes the setting. As Brubaker said in an interview with Magnetic Mag: “Usually poets write. Sometimes poets speak. At our current moment in time, in the world now, maybe poets can or must take action.” But what is a poet that can neither speak or write?
Stuck in isolation, unable to do what makes him what he is, he escapes into another reality — a reality filled with colors, memories and creative energy. “The evocative undertones of Max Cooper’s electronics, when at the fore, set the contrast for the vivid dream sequences The Poet experiences”, Cobby says. We experience the poets dreams as live video feedback loops on camera, similar to the trance-like images one can see when closing their eyes after looking directly into the light.
In times of social distancing and quarantine, where can we go in our dreams? Music, film and the arts can be an escape from the grey reality, the isolation in our lives.
And if the poets, the musicians and the dreamers continue to act, the future is bright.