Archive for video

Work in Progress 3 – Laboratory Blues

Posted in video, work in progress with tags , on July 29, 2008 by Lightborne

There ain’t nothin’ you can do

’bout those Laboratory Blues


Andrew Bird at IndigO2 – 26 April

Posted in live performance, music, video with tags , , , on April 29, 2008 by Lightborne

Denise and I were at an Andrew Bird gig in London this weekend, and it was really wonderful. We also saw him at Koko last November, where he played with his band (which includes electrical looping multinstrumentalist-but-mostly-drummer Martin Dosh, who is a great artist in his own right). This time he was playing solo, and by gosh it’s an impressive (and thrilling) sight and sound. I’d like to write something longer about exactly why its so thrilling, having seen his solo performance twice now, but I’m stuck in about seven other things at the moment, several of which have to be done by tomorrow. But enough whining…

I harbour a sort of zealous urge to introduce as many people as possible to the brilliance of Mr. Bird, so this is a little of what the gig was like:

Video taken from a balcony with a Flip flash camcorder. Bird plays ‘Why’
and ‘The Naming of Things’, and begins to play new song ‘Oh No’ from
the album he is currently recording in Nashville, but the camcorder
runs out because I wasted all the space recording my shadow on a train
station platform in Lewisham. Notice the shoes in the lower right of
the frame.

Roving sample robot

Posted in cool stuff, music, video with tags , , , , on March 31, 2008 by Lightborne

This apparently took just two hours to make with some simple components that came in the post. The creator has a walkthrough of how to make it, but I know I’ll never get around to it. I’m always seeing things like this that I’d like to make, and while I do think this is exceptionally cool, my soldering skills are exceptionally bad.

The robot randomly moves around the place until it senses something right in front of it using its motion sensors. Then it whacks it with is special hitting arm and records the sound. Its got a thumpy tail as well (which you can just about see in the video) that provides the kick drum. I think it must have some in built patterns, but the sheer coolness of it randomly finding the sounds by itself, playing the newly recorded pattern and then playing along on top of it is enough for me. I guess it would be extra cool if it had a little program to come up with spontaneous algorithmic patterns based on the timbre/frequency/loudness of the sound.

Actually, after watching the video again I think I just realized that what I like above and beyond the technological coolness of the thing (there are innumerable more sophisticated things that don’t get me near as excited), is the way it behaves. It bumbles along until it finds something to hit, then plays a little rhythm, looks like its having a think, is satisfied and goes off to find another sound. There’s a beautiful pause just after the rhythm is finished and before it starts moving again. The designer must have programmed that in, as well as the way that it rocks back in the middle of its performance and its little microphone eyes dart about in a half dance half nervous glance. And I love the idea of a simple thing like this, the sole purpose of which is to rove about and find sounds and make rhythms, and treat it like its the most important thing in the world.

Bullring Flashmob

Posted in personal, rant, video with tags , , , on March 9, 2008 by Lightborne

I took part in a flashmob yesterday – well Denise did and I dashed around with my camera. The idea was for a large group of people, dispersed throughout out the top floor of the Bullring and seemingly going about their business as normal, to suddenly freeze in motion at an appointed, synchronised time. They would maintain this statuesque pose for five minutes exactly and then all fall back into motion at the same time. The point is not to cause disruption and irritation, but rather wonder and amazement. The security of the Bullring however, seemed to think that the only purpose was to clog up the shopping lanes. Well, that and I think they just didn’t like it. From my own experience and what I’ve heard from others, the security don’t like crowds to gather, things that aren’t shopping to happen, or even people sitting down. As the General Manager explained very vigorously to one of the group afterwards, the Bullring is private property, not public property – so essentially shoppers are their guests and expected to behave in a manner appropriate to the situation. Anything else is just weird and a menace. While momentarily stopped to talk to someone outside of the Bullring (though not yet off of their property) I suddenly felt the muscular, weighty presence of one of the security men compelling my whole body (along with two others) away, explaining all the while that we couldn’t do it out here either. Apparently one must try to remain in constant motion while at the Bullring, otherwise one may unknowingly become a nuisance and a troublemaker.

Anyway, the security men themselves caused the greatest disruption and commotion by clustering around the freezers and shouting a lot. The freezers were intentionally spread out so as not to cause a blockage, but, and you can see this in the many videos many of the event, the security response caused crowds to gather around certain spots to see what was happening, thereby impeding one of the main thoroughfares. One of the funniest things from the whole day was the security men milling around shouting “Move along….. Start moving….”

Here’s the video I made, which unfortunately doesn’t have the biggest group of freezers (who were on the opposite side of the top floor) from the beginning. When I finally get there its difficult to see them for the crowd.

There’s also a BBC news story about the event.

And here’s another article about it.

Work in Progress 1 – Turbine Love

Posted in video, work in progress with tags , on February 23, 2008 by Lightborne

This is my first blog post, but also the first (hopefully) in a series of work in progress posts. I’m hoping that it will spur me on to actually finish some things, or at least get them into some sort of presentable state. Also I just really like the idea that I could record some music or film during the day and have it posted on the interweb by evening. What a marvellous and silly world we live in. So…

This is sort of finished, but I think it fits into the work-in-progress category because I thought it was finished before when it was eight minutes long and substantially different. Then, after a period long enough to let me look at it somewhat objectively, I realised it wasn’t meditative and open-ended, just long and boring. So I did some new music for it and mashed it up a bit and came up with what I think is a much superior minute long cut that I’m submitting for a thing in March. However, I may decide it’s short, slight and meaningless in a month’s time and decide to re-use the footage (I love the footage, just don’t know what to do with it) for something else. So in that sense its still a work in progress.