Well, before I get started talking about deacoustimatization (Tarantino does this a lot), there’s one cinematic term you have to know: diegesis.
Diegesis comes from way back Greek, to describe not just the literal events on stage, but the magical world of make-believe these events are supposed to create, take place within, and where our attention is hopefully confined.
Some renegades, epitomized by Berthold Brecht, got pretty sore about theatrical (and by extension cinematic) audiences’ potential for “immersion” in fictional worlds; and so were developed some techniques for “breaking the fourth wall”; such as direct addresses, actors running into the audience, or methods of “reflexivity”, like in Hamlet or Stranger than Fiction- where the play or film somehow calls attention to itself as an object- as a play or a film- as opposed to pretending it is entirely real and assuming everyone believes that.
But aside from any drastic political statements or musings about metaphysics, some artists will just play with the fine line of in-world and out-world for fun or (my theory) to create a work that keeps its audience’s attention or moves with them as their attentions go in and out of the diegesis.
And though the most common form of deacoustimatization comes when a song is started in the diegesis and then an extra-diegetic soundtrack takes over,
Or the characters acknowledge (start singing along to) some song we though was “soundtrack”, there are other ways to play with the fourth wall.
That one I listen to after a shoot; after I’ve lost all direction…
Stunned to realize that a well-tuned bucket brigade is an advanced concept, the next crew I work with can expect a rousing round of sea-shanties whilst packing and unpacking the truck. The timing on this ditty underscores the harmony of crew. For years, I was a drummer in a band… and when all is said and done- I’m looking for those working conditions again: tight-knit equals expertly performing well rehearsed roles to create mutually meaningful brilliance. This time cinematically. One rule- no singing about home on the first leg.
I need some more, but here are a few from back in the day about making (not watching) them motion pictures. They can stay here lest they be lost to time:
Well, I had just finished studying Quentin Tarantino. The connection?- In defense of Beatrix’s long and bloody fight against the Crazy 88 in Kill Bill vol. 1,
I read an “action choreographer”’s explanation of the rhetorical uses and possibilites in such scenes- which can be understood from looking at any of the battles from Hero
(Not to mention the awesome sword-fights of pirates or the princess bride)
So; dance. Much as I love Degas, I’m always trying to use cinema to it’s full potential and one-up static media. Towards this end, dance is a kindred spirit and a fairly cinema-specific activity
And the lack of words to tell a story goes a little further; being theoretically au currant on account of both academia as a whole and myself in particular finally being as fed up as the general public with Theory; that is- with people who are all talk and cannot themselves make or do. I don’t enjoy many songs with lyrics anymore because I don’t like being yelled at nor do I care much about the importance of the singer’s pretend feelings or findings. Without lyrics, musicians and listeners are paying attention to the sound their instruments make (and that can include voice)… which, long story short, simply turns me on more than most “abouts” these days.
Pina Bausch, being the best Contemporary (actually the name of her style) choreographer that I know of, and Wim Wenders seem to be addressing this wordlessness directly in the coming soon “Pina”:
Here is her rite of spring:
Cinematographically, that clip is exceptional because it doesn’t piss me off- as so many wide-shots of live performances tend to do. In keeping with my hatred of those old paintings that show a hundred people I don’t know lined up on a battle-field doing stuff I don’t understand, I think it is comparatively awesome when any art-form goes then further, gives us a close-up, makes us the ideal observer [arguments about which narrative is ideal are to be expected of course, but still]- making the dancer and the camera do a duet [a trois if you count the music, foursome with editing].
Directed by Yohei Saito.
Official press release:
World’s End Girlfriend is a Japanese composer whose work blends complex sound structures with beautiful melodies, reaching from electronic glitch to jazz-infused rock to modern classical. Captivating, enthralling and like nothing you’ve heard before, WEG makes for a surprising yet central addition to London contemporary music label Erased Tapes.
His brand new album ‘SEVEN IDIOTS’ will finally be released outside of Japan this April. Shifting seamlessly from catchy pop hooks to elaborate orchestrations and brutal IDM drones, it’s an irregular pop album – filled with twists and turns that will have you reaching for the repeat button. At first recorded with vocals, he took the unusual composing method of building up the songs before erasing all of their vocal parts. By dismantling and re-constructing each track, WEG has produced a genre-defying album that truly transcends categorisation.
World’s End Girlfriend hails from Nagasaki Kyushu, Japan and currently resides in Tokyo. Fascinated by his father’s classical music collection, he began his foray into sound at the tender age of 10, creating his early compositions on keyboard, guitar, tape recorders and computers. To date he has composed more than 600 songs, for the most part unreleased testaments of his early experimentations.
WEG first came on Europe’s radar in 2002, invited to perform at Barcelona’s renowned Sonar Festival. On the back of the collaborative album ’Palmless Prayer / Mass Murder Refrain’ with Japanese post-rock band Mono, he embarked on extensive tours in Europe and North America in 2005, returning for an appearance at ATP Festival in 2008. Recently performing as a seven-piece ensemble, WEG’s ostentious live show is currently selling out 800 capacity venues in Asia. Filmmakers seem smitten too, with the Go Shibata directed movie ‘Late Bloomer’ (2004) and the internationally renowned ‘Air Doll’ (2009) by award-winning director Hirokazu Koreeda both featuring soundtracks created by World’s End Girlfriend.
The music video for ‘Les Enfants du Paradis’, taken from ‘SEVEN IDIOTS’, has already received over 90.000 views on YouTube. Directed by Yohei Saito, this beguiling visual represents the high level of interest given to WEG’s music, not widely available outside of Asia – until now.
‘The one album that would turn the entire music world on its head’ (8.5/10) #6 Top 100 Releases – The Silent Ballet (US)
So in addition to getting out there and video-ing dancing right and using it effectively,
now we can also re-consider all the wonderfully choreographed long-takes.
and those that are edited:
[Sorry this post didn’t include any hip-hop, strippers, or busby-berkeley inspired group scenes…but as always- convince me that your favourite should be mine too.]
But then we have to wonder- why all the un-reality?
Special Thanks to Rick Altman’s “A Semantic/Syntactic Approach to Film Genre”
In order of appearance:
2000’s “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”, dirs Joel and Ethan Coen, written by Homer, Joel and Ethan Coen, edited by the Coens and Tricia Cooke, cinematographed by Roger Deakins; “Man of Constant Sorrow”, a traditional song, performed by The Soggy Bottom Boys/ Arranged by Carter Stanley Performed by Dan Tyminski
1991’s “Bill and Ted’s Bogus Jouney”, dir Peter Hewitt, written by Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon; “God Gave Rock and Roll To You II” performed by Wyld Stallions/KISS. In case you were wondering, Terminator 2 also came out in 1991.
1994’s “Airheads”, dir Michael Lehmann, writ Richard Wilkes. “Degenerated” performed by The Lone Rangers Written by Paul Bakija & Dave Rubenstein, produced by Jay Yuenger and Bryan Carlstrom.
1980’s “The Blues Brothers”, dir John Landis, wit Dan Aykroyd & John Landis. “MAIN THEME FROM ‘RAWHIDE’” (uncredited) Written by Dimitri Tiomkin performed by the Blues Brothers.
1999’s “Summer of Sam”, dir Spike Lee, writ Victor Colicchi, Michael Imperioli, and Spike Lee. “Hello from the Gutters” (1999) by Late Term Abortion/ Written by George Tabb, Michael Harper and Evan Cohen, Performed by Adrien Brody, Jennifer Esposito, Jessica Galbreath, Darielle Gilad, George Tabb, Michael Harper and Evan Cohen.
2001’s “Hedwig and The Angry Inch”, dir John Cameron Mitchell, writ JCM and Stephen Trask. “Wig In A Box” Written and Produced by Stephen Trask, Performed by John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig), Stephen Trask, Miriam Shor, Bob Mould, Theodore Liscinski, Perry James, Alexis Fleisig and Eli Janney as The Angry Inch.
2001’s “Josie and the Pussycats”, dirs Harry Elfont & Deborah Kaplan, writ Deborah Kaplan & Harry Elfont, Richard Goldwater (characters) and Dan DeCarlo (characters) and John L. Goldwater (characters). “3 Small Words” Written by Deborah Kaplan, Harry Elfont, Dave Gibbs (as David Gibbs) Produced by Kenneth ‘Babyface’ Edmonds (as Babyface) for ECAF Productions, Inc. Co-Produced by Dave Gibbs (as David Gibbs) Performed by Josie and the Pussycats (Rachel Leigh Cook, Rosario Dawson, Tara Reid)/ Letters to Cleo.
2007’s “Across The Universe”, dir Julie Taymor, writ Dick Clement (screenplay) & Ian La Frenais (screenplay)
Julie Taymor (story) & Dick Clement (story) & Ian La Frenais (story).
“Oh! Darling” Written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney Performed by Dana Fuchs (uncredited), Martin Luther (uncredited)
2000’s “Almost Famous”, wd Cameron Crowe. “Tiny Dancer” Written by Elton John & Bernie Taupin (about his first wife- a girl from California). Performed by Elton John, Stillwater, and friends.
2010’s “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World”, dir Edgar Wright; writ Michael Bacall (screenplay) & Edgar Wright (screenplay) Bryan Lee O’Malley (Oni Press graphic novels)
“WE ARE SEX BOB-OMB” Written by Beck (as Beck Hansen) Performed by Michael Cera, Alison Pill, Mark Webber, Beck, Brian LeBarton as Sex Bob-omb.
Well hey, my name is Matte, and just for shits I wanted to put together something of a blog to show-case and organize my favorite music videos, movie scenes that use music (video musics), musicy avant-garde; and above all- the makers of these works.
My selection each week will be rampantly biased and misinformed, but feel free to chip in with suggestions past and future, biographical information, reasoned debate, or academic articles. This is not an exhaustive catalog- the examples each week are the ones I understand still have something to teach me; which could include your favorite if you’re cool or if you can explain it.
I don’t need to tell you that there is a lot of art and music out there- and well, the more people it takes working together to make a movie, a song, or a both, or a blog; the better that piece is at telling us about the cutting edge of culture- so we can afford to be picky- and only consider music or video art that does something new, unique, or define-able.
I got a B.A from U.C. Berkeley Film, had a radio show for a time, and was a drummer for years; but my vocabulary regarding musical theory is paltry, and generally there is still a lot to learn about the fascinating art of getting movies to dance.
So once I heard that editors have the general term “ballistics” to describe the relation of music to image. Well then; there should be no other genre where the director has more freedom of expression and control than in animation.
Sergei Eisensten, a Soviet director who wrote a lot about the form of film, musical accompaniment, and editing, admired early Disney shorts because, in addition to his skill, the latter’s proclivity to stretch the form of the characters and their world matched an empowered attitude that Eisenstein shared.
Eisenstein did not like the later Disney- all realistic and morally rigid.
Which makes us wonder about the message inherent to the form of the animation. Betty Boop’s creator Max Fleisher used rotoscope way back in the day, and jazz, and both were used by Ralph Bakshi and Tom Waits 50 years later, And I’d have to say that the current wave of digitally aided rotoscope and jazz (Ned&Annette’s “Folsom Coffee Music” and Waltz with Bashir ) carries with it an interesting discussion about the maleable nature of reality and this presentation.
For me, hand-drawn animation tends to make me forget that it is a construction, except in the case of the Akira clip below, which uses slow-motion, or the Triplettes of Bellville; indexical for its incorporation OF music.
But abusive reminders that the video is hand-made (at the expense of any narrative involvement) such as can be found in all the paper-cut outs, shite CGI, or most any clay-mation besides Burton and Anderson’s Fox, that I didn’t include in this list make me gag, or bored (respectively). I haven’t bothered to figure out why so many boring “indie” bands use these styles- probably something to do with fans’ hard-on for “hand-crafted”.
Well, that’s not entirely fair, as I know how to rotoscope and fancy myself a sketch-artist, so watching works like this means I’m also studying technique.
Anyway, whatever your proclivities, I hope you can appreciate how the following animated music videos and video musics marry visuals and acoustics rhythmically, literally, and figuratively and let me know which ones you, too, enjoy immensely.
2:47 Video for “The Owl” created by Emmanuel Ho from the album Fear Is On Our Side by I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness on Secretly Canadian -Though this song is whatever, the video is so elegant and surprising, I think it is a welcome change to most animation which probably wouldn’t take so long if its makers didn’t try to include and detail everything in the goddamn universe.
7:36 During a long ride home from a ska show, a young boy fails to learn that sometimes when you talk- it really annoys your friends. http://www.benlevin.net
3:11 2003 Queens of the Stone Age “Go with the Flow” Won the MTV award for Art Direction, even if this is not my favorite band. A full article from MTV itself: http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1471193/lens-recap-behind-qotsas-flow.jhtml
3:40 “I Say Fever” - the first video from the Ramona Falls debut album Intuit. Ramona Falls is Brent Knopf’s first solo venture, but he has an extensive musical resume as part of trio Menomena (an indie rock band from Portland, OR, that’s snagged plaudits from such tastemakers as Pitchfork Media and the New York Times.) …even though I haven’t found anything else by him I like. Directed and Animated by Stefan Nadelman, winner of a 2003 Sundance prize for his 22 minute film ‘Terminal Bar’, a prolific animator in the commericial field and the mastermind behind the Menomena Evil Bee video. Produced by Tourist Pictures touristpictures.com
2 min Waltz with Bashir- Ari Folman’s 2008 animated documentary into the horrors of the 1982 Lebanon war. Sorry there are no subtitles here. “This Is Not A Love Song” by “post punk” Public image Limited [PiL] (1983)- Johnny “Rotten” Lydon on vocals. During this interim period, the band released the single This Is Not A Love Song in 1983, the song’s lyric lampooning the ire from some fans and the music press over the band’s movement towards a more commercial style. The song’s title was inspired by a line in the song “Her Story” (1979) by Virgin label stablemates the Flying Lizards, about bands ‘selling out’ their artistic principles for commercial success (“But you can still make money, by singing sweet songs of love… this is a love song”). Ironically, it gave the band their biggest international hit single, reaching #5 in the UK singles charts and #12 in the Netherlands. A re-recorded version with harsher vocals and a brass section was included on the album This Is What You Want… This Is What You Get.
6:50 Akira (アキラ?, stylized as AKIRA) is a 1988 Japanese animated cyberpunk science fiction film. It was written and directed by Katsuhiro Otomo, who based it on his manga of the same name. The sound of Kaneda’s bike engine was produced by compositing the engine sound of a 1929 Harley-Davidson motorcycle with a jet engine. AKIRA: Original Soundtrack was recorded by Geinō Yamashirogumi (芸能山城組). The music was composed and conducted by musical director Shoji Yamashiro. It features music which was additionally rerecorded for release. “Kaneda”, “Battle Against Clown” and “Exodus From the Underground Fortress” are really part of the same song cycle – elements of “Battle” can be heard during the opening bike sequence, for example. The score is generally sequenced in the same order that the music occurs in the film. The North American version featured extensive production notes by David Keith Riddick and Robert Napton. Artist and Animal Collective founder Panda Bear samples “Tetsuo” in the opening track “Comfy in Nautica” on his critically acclaimed solo effort Person Pitch.
5:21 played 4-4:30 on 1/1/11’s Adult Swim- “off the air” Taken from the 2010 Blockhead album ‘The Music Scene’, more info at http://www.ninjatune.net/blockhead Animated/Directed by Anthony F. Schepperd. Also by Tony: Ape School’s “Wail to God” which is my submission for something oweing to Bakshi/Lamb.
4:02 Sly (Chinese Man) - Folsom Coffee Music - 2010 Directed by : Fred&Annabelle http://www.dailymotion.com/fred-annabelle#videoId=x843dk Music : Folsom Coffee Music by Sly (Chinese Man) Label : Chinese Man Records - www.chinesemanrecords.com also by Chinese Man featuring Betty Boop, “I’ve got that Tune”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X524UgGv-oswww.chinesemanrecords.com also by Chinese Man featuring Betty Boop, “I’ve got that Tune”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X524UgGv-os and many others.