I’m posting this thirteen years to the day after I saw Joanna Newsom’s solo performance at Green Man Festival. It was 2005. There were around two thousand people standing in a field in Wales. I was one of them. Joanna Newsom was playing the harp and singing on the stage. Nothing else was happening in the world. Nobody dropped a pin, at least not that I heard.
Hearing the album today still takes me back to that solo performance, takes me back to a thousand times between now and then. The hypnotic intro to Bridges and Balloons fades in and I can remember that was the first song in my headphones on so many journeys I took. I hear it and I’m on a plane or bus or train with industrial scenery flying past. Then she sings We sailed away on a winter’s day with fate as malleable as clay…
Most of the album is harp and vocal, direct and intimate like you’re in the room as she plays. The harp playing is virtuosic, the songs lyrical and dense, anchored in deep traditional folksy roots. There are spine-chilling moments of transcendent beauty, hewn of rough honesty. Joanna Newsom’s singing is distinct, different from later albums. Maybe it’s a little affected. I don’t care, I love it. Listen to it now. Get everything she’s ever done. That is all.
Drag City – Joanna Newsom
We all spend years criticising anyone who shoots vertical video, and then IGTV comes along and says vertical video is the way to go. God damn it. Guess I’m making vertical videos now. Or am I? Can I get behind this? I recently completed a 16:9 video for the song ‘Bang Goes The TV’ and as an experiment I decided to try and verticalise it (going that crazy/wrong 9:16 ratio).
I took the existing 16:9 video and chopped off the left side and right side, sticking them down the bottom in different hues. It is a bit of a hack, but kind of works in the context of the song and the general weirdness of the video. I have no idea how this works.
It was a bit of a struggle outputting the right format. Turns out I can do that with Motion. Vertical video needs a custom format, I went with 608 x 1080. Most output formats are .mov files but IGTV needs .mp4. You can do it, it’s just tucked away in the Share menu [ Share > Apple Devices > Mac and PC ]. Always with the technical issues, I still haven’t got a way to embed IGTV in WordPress. Anyway, you can click here to watch the completed vertical video on IGTV.
…since I released GIVE ME A SINE. Here’s three videos from that album. And three links to places you can buy or stream the album.
Bandcamp / iTunes / Spotify
Preceded by a short rant about remixing and copyright…
I have a few strongly-held opinions on copyright. I support the idea of some kind of mechanism to provide artists with monetary compensation for their labours. We all need money to live. But as a creator, I also want to be free to remix and explore the work of others through my own work. It all hinges on ‘fair use’, a concept whose interpretation has been stretched on both sides of the debate.
Continue reading A Remix Credit
The album GIVE ME A SINE came out in 2015, but I’ve only just got around to making a video for the song Bang Goes The TV. It’s a video mashup. I hope you like it. Please subscribe to my new YouTube channel (you may be the very first) and share the video on social media. Maybe then I won’t die in abject poverty. Buy the album while you’re at it.
Continue reading BANG goes the TV
A few weeks ago, I wrote about HitRecord’s Play Along challenge. It’s a weekly remix challenge with a different host every few weeks, and I was the host for most of April. After my last Play Along video, I uploaded an anthology of my time at the helm. It begins with the second half of Play Along Week #170. It might be kind of interesting watching a few weeks edited together, seeing the new sample revealed each week and then immediately hearing how people remixed it.
I have to admit, the production value was pretty patchy, especially that first week. I did that talking to camera bit pretty late, after learning day-of that I had to do the video. But it gets better. I think I really got my act together in the last two weeks with the motion graphics and presentation. You live, you learn. I hope it’s okay with the folks over at HitRecord that I occasionally embed videos here to show people all the cool stuff that happens over there. If this video makes you curious, you should check out the Play Along Project at Hitrecord.org, that’s where it all happens.
I’m hosting Play Along, HitRecord’s weekly remix challenge.
I hope it’s cool with them that I have embedded the video like this with a link to the challenge! If you have literally no idea what I’m talking about, go here and read my HitRecord explainer.
The project has a different host each month and each week the host issues new remix challenges. This is my first week at the helm, so I’m sure I’ll write some more about this in the weeks to come.