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Look out world I am watching tutorials on video editing
my first nature video and thank you multi-disciplinary arts and residencies
I’ve been combing through old demos and song ideas from Temple writing sessions to see if there were any kernels to cull, conversations to continue, or ideas to re-spark for the new record. I found a video and its corresponding musical accompaniment that I’d yet to meld together with my nascent Adobe Premiere skills until last night and thus I have for you a world premiere:
*I caught this in a window of a friend’s studio in the Marin Headlands and was just mesmerized. I was at the very beginning of writing Temple, which is to say, miserable and searching and wandering around. Was trying to absorb and draft off outside momentum and excitement for the general making of work. I had an inkling of where I wanted to go with the record, but was not solid on how. I was chasing and calculating tons of options. A ton of open-ended options converted through frenzy and overwhelm often equals zero. THIS VIDEO HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ANY OF THAT and that is why I love it. I was so relieved to be so taken by this moment of wind and limbs and leaves. Then I made music for it, and it was so nice to make music for something other than the album I had to make. Its working title for a long time was Sad Clown America (was the thick of 2018).
Three years ago I was an Artist-in-Residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts. The greatest gift of so many from that month was sharing so much time and space with artists of all disciplines. The fine art and visual art realm is so different from my swath of the music world. I was quite taken by many things (like staying in one place and working) and my new friends’ approaches to daily, iterative studio practice, expansive timelines for work and exhibition, and tactile and initmate manipulation of material. Because of my proximity to visual artists, I just looked and saw more and paid better attention. Lately I’ve noticed that I’ve not lost that blessing; I find myself keeping up more with the contemporary art scene, and seeking out visual and multi-media artists and their discussion of their practices. It helps to keep me inspired and open regarding discipline, sight and touch, creative problem solving and getting better.
The other week I was reading an NYT interview with Jenny Saville and she referenced direct study:
How does it feel to see your own works side-by-side with Renaissance masterpieces?
Italy is a country of figuration, so I feel very at home here — but it was intimidating. I got through by really looking at Michelangelo: I was doing Pietà setups for my own piece, but I couldn’t work out why mine lacked his level of potency. Then I started to do direct studies of the sculpture, and I saw how the internal torque of the bodies worked.
Right through the spine of the work, there’s this incredible twist, which he has in everything he does. Then he uses all the possible elements of a body, whether it’s the tilt of a head, the way a hand rests on somebody else’s flesh, the way material folds — all of them are used to heighten emotion, without sentimentality.
This piece reminded me to conduct more formal direct studies of songs I love, or songs that contain a specific character and potency I’m trying to achieve. How does an artist or producer achieve a moment, a feeling, that I want for my own song? How do they convey the internal torque, how do they twist their figures to heighten emotion?