Monday, June 1, 2020

Ang Fang Quartet's short descent into measured askew madness of "Ang Fang Stomp" for "Faust"


Ang Fang Stomp is a short descent into measured madness but in a truly artistic way. Composed and performed by the Ang Fang Quartet, an Australian ensemble formed specifically to compose a score for "Faust", a 1926 silent film by German expressionist FW Murnau. The story is that Melbourne Cinematheque commissioned Paul Gillett who than assembled the quartet. Oh, and lest I forget, they were commissioned to perform the score live as the vintage movie screening on June 9th, 1999 at the Treasury Theatre in Melbourne. Yes, this happened long ago and the quartet was technically formed in 1998, 22 years ago.

I don't normally post up about composed instrumental pieces over 20 years old but, then, American Pancake isn't about keeping rigid rules either and as I listen to the song with it's eerie march of misfits feel, the clock like percussion, and helter skelter-esque craziness it made me think of a car crash of Frank Zappa, The Roto Rooter Good Time Christmas Band, Herbert Stothart and Primus. Besides, this short evocative piece would be awesome on any playlist but I envision it right between Radiohead's Motion Picture Soundtrack and Fiona Apple's Regret.

Ang Fang Stomp features Paul Gillett (electric guitar / composer), Brett Dellavedova (trumpet), James Hazelden (cello) and Harold Lye (percussion).

Other commissions and 3 albums followed. (details in Press notes) The Quartet’s third album "Anonymity" was recorded and released in 2004.

The Quartet’s first two albums feature Brett Dellavedova on guitar and trumpet, Paul Gillett on guitar, James Hazelden on cello and Harry Lye on percussion and vibraphone. Yanai Morris replaced Dellavedova for Anonymity. Additional musicians: Enzo Ruberto, Pierre Proske, Eleanor Gay.

-Robb Donker Curtius


The Ang Fang Quartet was founded in 1998 in Melbourne, Australia as an ensemble of musicians devoted to the composition and live performance of music for silent film.

In late 1998 the Melbourne Cinematheque commissioned Paul Gillett to compose a score to ‘Faust’, a 1926 film by German expressionist film-maker F W Murnau. Paul formed the Quartet to work on this project, which culminated in a screening on 9 June 1999 at the Treasury Theatre in Melbourne as part of the Melbourne Cinematheque’s programme.

In late 1999 the Quartet released its debut recording Faust, comprising highlights of the score composed for that film.

In 2001 the band premiered its score to ‘Nosferatu’ (1921), another film by Murnau, considered by many to be the first and best vampire film ever made. It is famous for its darkly gothic photography, make-up and set design, and stands at the creative apex of German cinema’s expressionist movement.

In June 2002 the Quartet released its second album Nosferatu, also a soundtrack album. Like Faust, Nosferatu was recorded live in the studio, without overdubs. Nosferatu was received well by the press and has received regular airplay on ABC RN (The Planet, Sound Quality), ABC Classic FM RRR, PBS. The album also received praise from avant garde composer John Zorn.

In September 2002 the band was joined by electronic music specialist Pierre Proske to premiere a new score for the Chaplin feature 'The Gold Rush', at a screening in Melbourne’s Capitol Theatre as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival.

In February 2003 the Quartet was commissioned by the Australian Centre for the Moving Image to compose and perform a score to the 1920 Australian bushranger classic 'Robbery Under Arms'.

The Quartet’s third album Anonymity was recorded and released in 2004

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