Review of "Kick That Habit" by Peter Liechti (Originally released in 1989)

Review of “Kick That Habit” by Peter Liechti (Originally released in 1989)
by Pat A Physics
I saw this movie at Cinematexas while I was a sophmore at UT in 1999. I was turned on to the program that included the movie from an interview I did with the girl who put it together, Astria Superak. She called the program “Broken Music.” The common theme was making music from broken instruments. “Kick That Habit” was the last film in the series. I was kind of in a daze from the preceding films which featured a lot of harsh noise, breaking of records, and hammering nails into a piano.
It opens with three guys playing miniature golf very badly. Slowly, there is a noise that begins to sound during the game. It fades into their rehearsal studio which is full of junk that is turning around on several record players. The noise may not appeal to many people, but I really enjoy the cut-away flashes of Swiss and Russian landscape interspersed throughout the movie.
It is not all noise. The experimental music of Voice Crack (the band featured in the film) does employ acoustics and some creative use of contact microphones. At one point, the group stretches a very thick piece of cable wire across their practice space and make incredible soundtracks on it. It is suggested that the wire is taken from excess cable for the gondolas that run across the Alps.
It is entirely shot on Super 8 and looks very pretty. It is inspiring and will make you want to run out and buy a Super 8 camera. The experimental music is well done. There is also a big pay off at the end of the 40 minute film where “the movie writes its own soundtrack.”
I watched it last night.  It had been ten years.  Drag City just released it on DVD for its twentieth aniversary.  I was reminded of the movie during a Thanksgiving a couple of years ago when my friends Erich Ragsdale and Erik Archer put contact microphones on the wall and started playing 16mm films.  They might have seen this film, but I’m not sure.

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