To follow on with the independent film theme, this week I have posted a film made by James Devereaux. ’Romantic Rebellion’ is an early example of his work, as well as mine. My contribution came from a chat we once had about my interests in improvisation. Although the acting wasn’t improvised, the kind of feel you get form such music was something he was interested in.
As I have talked about before, I have an interest in improvisation. This isnt to say that I’m a jazz musician or even an aspiring jazz musician but it’s relevance to me is what it can offer music, and my music in particular. Once you have shaken off the shackles of popular influence you are less constrained by what other people have done before you and therefore you are also more likely to bring up some sounds that are interesting and more likely to be unique. There are schools of thought that believe this to be impossible but trying really can make things interesting… Also, the use of improvisation to make music really adds some realism to the finished product. As I have talked about before here, trying to shake off your preconceptions will make your music sound more viable in the context it is used in.
Despite all this, for ‘Romantic Rebellion’ I did not use the film as my starting point. As explained in the link of the previous sentence my current audio-visual work is exploring this contextual factor more. For this film, James wanted something that only had my current thought and moment as influence. We thought this would enhance the chaotic feel to the film as well as add another dimension to it that the film-maker had not previously accounted for. This was hard as everything musical that has gone on before influences what you are currently playing but I tried to leave chords and their associated theory behind and worked on only letting current emotion out. The recordings I made for James were both about an hour long (one using electric guitar and one using acoustic guitar) and after a few minutes of playing I found that my current emotions were being influenced by the sounds/music itself, creating a sort of feedback loop where the previous guitar sound would influence my emotion which would influence the next guitar sound. I found this interesting as it added another dimension to what I was playing as well as giving me food for thought…
As you will see, James did not need two hours-worth of sounds but I gave him something that he could apply in his own way through choice of what to use. The result works with what’s going on on-screen but also throws up questions and distorted atmosphere. As in the films I wrote about in last week’s post, the marriage of sound and vision created something that is more than just sound and vision combined.
You may think that all this is pretty pointless and just an exercise in being ‘artistically’ weird for the sake of it. Beyond the need for these kinds of sounds in the film, at face value this all seems a little pointless. Who cares if you can be weird..?? As you may have read in last week’s post, art for the sake of being weird does not really interest me, in fact I find it quite distasteful… But what you may also know if you have been reading my posts is that I am interested in creating different types of atmosphere. The aforementioned improvisational technique produces a very raw atmosphere; it channels more directly towards the sound-maker’s current feelings. I am always refining these ideas and in particular will be using a watered-down version in future Lunar Rising songs through the use of electric guitar and the sounds it can make. My interest there is to not play chords/notes that interact with the rest of the music but to make sounds that interact more with the atmosphere. Of course, the songs need to be radio friendly so I’ll still be using acoustic guitar, as well as using both in a more ‘conventional’ way depending on the need of the song! And, I wont be the first to use the electric guitar in such a manner either (it is very widespread) but I will be the first that uses the songs I have combined with my own previous musical experiences combined with how the individual song moves me… And this will all be just a part of my musical development: Depending on how these ideas turn out, more questions and ideas may be thrown up into the air or I may even settle upon something which I see as the ultimate way to express myself (although this sounds very unlikely!).
In any case, below, you can watch ‘Romantic Rebellion’. Please do find some time to check out what James is up to by checking out his blog here. It focusses on acting so may not be 100% relevant to your own interests but what I have found is that many of the concepts he talks about are readily changeable to any other medium/artform, or even life itself!
Fast Tube by Casper