11 March 2010

Chris Cunningham

I'm currently working on something else where I may get to interview director Chris Cunningham. Who is one of my idols and a truly modern visionary. Ahead of that, I'm revisiting the Directors Label DVD that collected together some of his work back in 2003 and its booklet contains some words from him about trying to provide visuals for music.

On his video debut making Autechre's 'Second Bad Vilbel':

"...I was obsessed with the idea of making things move in time with music. I was trying to build this chunk of non-specific industrial machinery that would come apart in time to the music. So I built this model in my back garden and got all these pieces of machinery and stuff and ended up filming them. Then I tried to make a video out of the footage. I remember the band being really disappointed and me realising that the bottom line is... how do you turn a visually abstract idea into a piece of film. Even now I think that most of the stuff that I think up whilst listening to music is impossible to achieve..."

While Cunningham sees this project as something of a failure, it was the first in a series of works that married sound and vision - albeit while developing a relationship that is uniquely Chris Cunningham. How some of these ideas were triggered by a particular record is really interesting [in the case of Aphex Twin's 'Windowlicker', as one example, he felt that the track itself verged on the pornographic while he also wanted to create something that subverted the imagery that we are used to seeing in rap videos].

Anyway, this presents a good enough reason to embed some of his work here for future reference. The last, his own 'Rubber Johnny' film project, is a pretty disturbing masterpiece.

Autechre - 'Second Bad Vilbel'

Bjork - 'All is Full of Love'

Aphex Twin - 'Windowlicker'

Aphex Twin - 'Come To Daddy'

Portishead - 'Only You'

The Horrors - 'Sheena is a Parasite'

Chris Cunningham - 'Rubber Johnny' [music by Aphex Twin]

By the way, this isn't the first time I've posted something Aphex Twin-related. Previously I added his spectrogram. Interestingly, he also claims to suffer from synaesthesia which is very much related to the report part of this study.

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