Archive for the ‘Shortwave’ Category

Shortwave: Old Man Drinking a Glass of Beer (1898)

February 16, 2010

The British comedian Tom Green–no, not that one–drinks a glass of bear for director G.A. Smith. The vaudeville star was paid 10 shillings for performing a “facial,” a routine whose humor depended on the contortions of his face. Lord knows what those sitting at the back row of the Palladium must have made of it before film come along. Smith was a Brighton stage hypnotist and magician who became an early cinema pioneer. As the new technology came to Britain, he invented his own camera and projection system. His neighbor ames Williamson had also been bitten by the cinema bug and together they made numerous shorts like the above. (via BFI)

Shortwave: Open Your Heart

February 2, 2010

Three simple ideas at work in this music video from Michel Gondry:

i) coordinate the dancers movement so it approximates the beat of the song.
ii) dress the singer and dancers in matching bi-chromatic shirts which create bright colorful patterns as dictated by the choreography
iii) situate the singer and dancers in a featureless concrete corner of a large coastal city. choose locations based on how they highlight the colors and create opportunities for movement

What keeps the video from being a purely formalist exercise is the selection of the dancers, who represent a wide array of shapes and sizes. As Gondry stated in the title of his book, You’ll Like This Film Because You’re In It–or at least see yourself in it. The song is pretty cute, too. Mia Doi Todd is an L.A.-based songwriter and “Open Your Heart” is taken from a forthcoming album.

Shortwave: The World’s Most Important 6-Second Drum Loop

January 22, 2010

A reposting by the blog Retro Thing drew Squally’s attention to this 2004 short video by Nate Harrison. Harrison looks at the history of the “Amen Break,” a four-bar drum solo which was found on the B-side to the Winston’s 1969 hit “Color Him Father.” With the advent of sampling technology in the 1980s, the break became widely disseminated. Slowed down and sped up, the breaks can be heard on tracks like Third Bass’s “Words of Wisdom,” NWA’s “Straight Outta Compton,” and even Oasis’s “D’You Know What I Mean.” The break has also been sliced up into its individual drum beats, which were then rearranged to form the rhythm beds for countless hardcore techno, ragga jungle and drum ‘n’ bass tracks.