My primary references for this video are Chris Cunningham and Pipilotti Rist. You can read even more about how I made these connections at lgkvideoart.wordpress.com
Chris Cunningham was my primary inspiration for creating split images of myself playing different instruments. He primarily works with music videos so I felt a natural connection. One of his earliest videos Monkey Drummer shows a mechanical creature with the head of a monkey with multiple arms and legs of a human. Even though he used one single object to create the focus of the video, he was still working with multiples. When he worked on Kylie Minogue’s music video “Come into My World”, he created a loop where Kylie entered the frame several times and each time she multiplied.
Pipilotti Rist has created several works where she produced a soundtrack using her own voice and manipulating the sound for her videos. I tried to target her colorful style by incorporating changes of wardrobe and hairstyles within my video. Her films have an element of happiness that really matches how contra dance music makes who ever is playing the music or dancing to it feel. Her care free style is simply yet vibrant with distortions being a large factor in her films, yet I chose to discard extreme manipulations in my piece, because I did not want to take away from the sense of community created when playing together in a band.
As a musician who plays many instruments it is always hard to decide which instrument to play at a given time. It is even harder when you love the sound of music that can only be produced by a band, yet you live far away from people who play similar music. That is what influenced my decision to create this video of one person playing all the separate parts individually and then combining them to recreate the appearance of a full band. The dancing feet and the zoomed in images of the musicians further expands the patchwork of musicians. The contra dance tunes I chose to perform in this video is a medley of “Lost Everything and Last Chance” because it combines the feeling of lose that I get every time I leave a wonderful week of dancing and music making at John C. Campbell Folk School and the feeling that I would resort to creating my own one person band. This is best explained by Sue Songer the publisher of several contra dance tune books and play-along cds, who said “… the title of these two Southern tunes present a picture of hopelessness. But think about it. Although you may lose everything, there’s another chance to get some of it back. Also, we feel a whole lot better when we play the music.” While I am actually playing all of the instruments in this video the only audio tracks that are actually me playing are the piano, guitar, and some mandolin parts. I chose to overlay the fiddle and mandolin tracks from Susan Songer’s second recording of dance tunes called The Portland Selection: Volume 2, which has George Penk on fiddle and Clyde Curley on mandolin. Believe me it was my gift to you to overlay the wonderful musicianship of these two guys in place of my own fiddling and mandolin skills that is why you will see my hand chording instead of playing the melody later in the film. I mean seriously the cat runs every time he sees me get the fiddle out. I wanted to create this as a tribute to all the wonderful musicians and dancers I have the privilege to meet over the years, especially the wonderful instructors of Dance Musician’s Week at John C. Campbell Folk School.
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