Chris McLay.

Interaction designer and user experience consultant.

Posts Tagged ‘playing’

Star Guitar clip is music in motion

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

I had never seen the music video for Star Guitar (Chemical Brothers) until last week when I read by Jason Kottke. The video is really amazing, even though I’ve watched it over and over and over. Directed by Michel Gondry, the clip is a “simple” shot out of a train window, except that the buildings appear in perfect time with the music.

Jason links to the making of video, which shows Michel Gondry experimenting with the score, and using fruit and cutlery to simulate the effect he was looking to create. This took me right back to my experiments with the Visual Score, and my experiments trying to build a relationship between the vision and the music (see this post).

Now in writing this I’ve noticed that my project was a few years after the music video was made. Looking back I wish I had of found the video back then, I might have gone in a different direction.

Star Guitar video

The Making of Star Guitar Music Video

My final Visual Score

The final Visual Score

Tuesday, June 21st, 2005

So finally I have found time to post the final version of the score for everyone to see. I’m pretty happy with the overall experiment, even if I don’t really like the final product — visually it’s a little rough and child like. That said with more time (and a faster computer) I think a more aesthetically appealing version could be produced.


A Selection of Tracks

Tuesday, April 19th, 2005

This is the shortlist of tracks I put together when looking for a piece of music to use in the visual music project. After shortlisting I removed them by a process of elimination until I ended up with just one…

Replica, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Cinemage, 4:50
Another orchestral, instrumental track, this time with very distinct layers. This reminds me of an animal march. It can be harsh a grating, but has moments of uplift, and is very rhythmic in places.
iTunes Store Link


A working methodology…

Sunday, April 10th, 2005

When I first came up with the idea for this visual music project, the method of working I had in mind was very similar to what is outlined below. Yet, while I never completely abandoned the ideas, I lost faith in their ability to create a solid piece of work that would achieve my goals, and so began my search for other creative inputs and methods that would assist me in creative this artwork which said nothing assist me to develop this creative artwork, which tries to signify nothing.

Part of the problem of trying to signify nothing is that it is not actually possible to achieve, all you can do is aim to signify as little as possible. However, if I develop images I think go with a piece of music they will signify something to me, based on the music, and my interpretation of the music will be passed on to the audience. To avoid this I have to play a series of mind games with my self trying to adjust my thoughts and interpretations into imagery that somehow relates to and enhances the imagery without adding new meanings to the music. Confused? I was…


Pendulum Music & Fractal Images

Wednesday, April 6th, 2005

There is a strong relationship between the question of what makes art, fractal images (see this post) and Steve Reich’s Pendulum Music (see this post).

Both fractal images and Pendulum Music have simple basic straight forward formula’s which define them. Both have a variable element which effects how the “art” is produced: in the case of the music the four performers will start the pendulum in different places each time the piece is played and effect the outcome; in the case of the fractal formulas a seed value for the formula effects the output of the image. Both of these values are often random, but come under some degree of control by the “artists” involved.

I’m still not sure if the outputs of these formulae are actually art, but is certainly interesting and often beautiful and contemplative. To varying degree’s most artists work to a formula or methodology of some kind — it’s the number of variables and the amount of control through a larger range of variables, and the fine control they have over those variables which is different for each artist and/or artwork.

I like the idea of a strict formula or methodology in regard to my own project — it would make working on a long and complex project somewhat simpler, but if the formula or methodology I start out with is wrong then I have no chance of producing anything good… hmmm ???