Music

John Carpenter’s First Music Memory.

A couple weeks ago Device pushed out to Vimeo a wonderful little animated short.  The film is narrated by John Carpenter, as he explains his first music memory. The animation is really nice with great transitions between the scenes using the current frame to morph into the next scene as the story unfolds. The limited color palette and subtle textures help to frame the narrative as it unfolds, with all of it drawing you in and holding you captive for a minute and a half. Great stuff, and like all good stories it got me to thinking about my first music memory. I was sitting in my bedroom upstairs with the window open, and my mom was playing Harry Belafonte singing “Midnight Special” on the record player in her studio. The studio window was open and the sound just floated out across the yard

I was sitting in my bedroom upstairs with the window open, and my mom was playing Harry Belafonte singing “Midnight Special” on the record player in her studio. The studio window was open and the sound just floated out across the yard and upstairs. It was summer. It was warm, and I was sitting in the sunlight on the floor playing with Lego. I was 3 or maybe 4. I hadn’t started Kindergarten yet, so I know I was younger than 5. I know I heard music before that, but this is the first time that the total experience stuck with me and permanently burned into my memory.

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Selling Genesis Cars With Deep Purple.

I really like this video telling the story of how Deep Purple came to write their epic hit “Smoke on the Water”. Maybe it’s because it is one of the first songs I learned to play on the guitar. The video has a great look to it and the story is compelling enough to draw you in and keep you engaged until the end. What I don’t get is why the marketing team for Genesis cars thought this would be solid advertising for them. There is no connection between the band, the song, the story or the car. There isn’t even a car in the story, so who thought this was a good way to sell cars? At the end of the video there is the tag line “Inspired by Genesis”. Are they trying to say our cars are so great they are like a casino burning to the ground at the end of a Frank Zappa concert? It just seems like it is the wrong message. This kind of reminds me of Disney using Iggy Pop’s “Lust For Life” to advertise family cruises, or Lee Jeans using Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Senator’s Son” to sell jeans without actually listening to the lyrics in the songs.

Perhaps the marketing department was looking for a long shot and thought if enough people talk about the fact that this makes no sense we will actually move some automobiles. Maybe someone at Genesis is a huge Deep Purple fan.  Great video though. Solid story, great animation, nice look from rom Great Big Story.

 

Hypnotic, Euphoric, Minimalistic.

Over the last year I have noticed an emerging visual trend that has started popping up in all sorts of videos, and will probably make it’s way to the rest of the creative world. It is a black and white, lo-fi, grainy, not quite 8-bit look. It reminds me of 1980’s video camera footage that has been mashed up with a sort of hand-drawn style. I say sort of, because like in the video below it is obviously digital. The lines and shapes have a hand-drawn quality to them, but they are to clean. Like the art brushes that come with Adobe illustrator. Then there is the background texture, in this case paper, but in a number of other videos I’ve seen it’s is fine digital noise. Fake signal noise that has been added to the clip to give it a dirty analog look. I’m curious how long it’ll be before this makes it’s way to mainstream advertising, at which point we can add it to the “jumped the shark” list like so many other trends of late. (sketchbook, stop motion, hyper color, 8-bit graphics and sound…)

By the way, this is quite hypnotic. Consider yourself warned.

Let Led Zeppelin Help You Forget About The 2016 Elections.

After watching the second presidential debate last night, and reading all the fall out this morning, I decided I needed a break from politics 2016. Below is a trippy, mind-bending video from BlinkmyBrain” featuring Led Zeppelin and some crazy CG work.

It helped me not think about how screwed up this election is for a few minutes, and that made me think others might not want to think about the election for a bit either. So I am sharing. Turn off your mind, tune into the Zeppelin, and forget about this year’s elections for a bit.

Ross Garfield – Drum Doctor.

Music really is a collaborative process. Even a solo artist, playing a song they wrote is collaborating with the person that built the instrument they are playing in a way. The video below is a five minute mini documentary from Media Bird is about “The Drum Doctor”Ross Garfield. This is a compelling little short that shows how this man has helped shape the sound of more recordings then you can imagine. You might not think of drum kits having a specific sound, but they do, and Garfield tells you why. If you want to see just how many people this guy has worked with, go to his Facebook page. It’s pretty damn amazing.

 

Lead Belly.

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Boston based design firm Visual Dialogue has designed the art for the new Lead Belly box set. Similar to their work for the Woody Guthrie box set “Woody at 100” the design work here captures the enigma that epitomizes Huddie Ledbetter – better known as Lead Belly. There is a wonderful blend of typography and vintage photos of the artist, along with letters written by the artist and images of the original releases. Working closely with the Smithsonian Institutes Folkways label, Visual Dialogue has created a definitive box set featuring 108 songs on five discs. While digital music has made a huge dent in the sale of records and CD’s, it is this kind of design work that keeps me coming back to buy physical products.

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Fast Romantics and Fred Astaire Dance on the Ceiling.

I don’t post music video stuff very often. Music videos get a ton of exposure and mostly people are interested in the band and not what it took to put the video together. The video below from Fast Romantics is an exception. Taking quite possibly is Fred Astaire’s most famous dance scene (1951’s Royal Wedding) where Astaire dances on the walls and ceiling of his hotel room, director Matthew Angus seamlessly blends the original footage with the new shots. If you haven’t seen the original sequence, I have added it below as well. This is absolutely fantastic.