Lou Barlow: Goodnight Unknown
d. Adam Harding / 2009 / USA / 30 mins
Viewed on: YouTube.com
This slice of indie magnificence may have been crafted in order to promote Lou Barlow’s new album, Goodnight Unknown (which was released in the UK via Domino earlier this month), but this is so much more than your usual EPK – it’s an outstanding music doc in its own right and a deeply personal film about the work of an otherwise reclusive indie rock icon.
Basically, Barlow narrates his way through the creative process with the same quirky irreverence that made him one of THE most unique voices of the burgeoning US indie movement since the late ’80s, as a founding (and, happily, current) member of Dinosaur Jr., head honcho of the ever-influential Sebadoh, and chief raconteur of Folk Implosion.
And despite the viewing experience of Goodnight Unknown verging on the banality of a family slideshow or a set of home movies with a running commentary, there is something distinctive in director Adam Harding’s artful assembly – beyond Barlow’s laconic, dead-pan utterances – that raise it well above the usual music documentary fare.
Apart from anything else, Barlow is able to articulate things that have surely long alluded both music fans – “When you think of The Melvins, you think of meat” – and home producers -“Fuck you compression…I don’t know what you do, and I don’t know how you do it…fuck off”.
Watch the whole darn thing here: