Sunday, July 08, 2012

The Wandering Musicphile presents: Our Ceasing Voice

Many people express their passions in different ways. For music, however, someone with an intense passion has a tendency to end up playing an instrument. It has been long since I played one (piano), but my passion in music is still strong. It's probably stronger than it ever was. And because of this insatiable desire, I've had some amazing experiences. But nothing, up to this point, could really satisfy. I needed to do exactly what musicians do with their passion. I needed to create something.

I do not play an instrument, nor do I desire to get back into playing one. I work in video post-production. This is my expression of my passion in music through what I'm good at.

The Wandering Musicphile Presents...
Our Ceasing Voice

A little back story behind the project:
I've gone great lengths in trying to find ways to appease my passion in music. But when the day is done, I feel like I've only scratched the surface. One day an idea hit me, why not use my skills in video post-production toward my passion? "Music videos," came to mind. I made my first video for the Hungarian band, Marionette ID. It was a pre-album release video for Alluvion. I loved working on that. But I wanted to do something... different. That is when I realized that I should add my travel into the mix. "Make a video of musicians as not just musicians but as people, someone that we all can relate to. And capture them in their own home town." I've yet to see a video on musicians that had this level of intimacy. I decided to start this project on Our Ceasing Voice on my two month trip through Europe. I had already seen them in Budapest and Vienna the year prior and had established a friendship, so I thought I might as well.

I had the fear that bringing a recording camera into the scene would detract from my own personal experiences with who I already consider as friends. But surprisingly to me, it did not. For the week I spent in Austria I shot 55 gigs of footage. I edited during my stay in Budapest, Hungary and Sofia, Bulgaria. Right when I finished my first cut my external hard drive slid off the desk and hit the floor and sustained severe mechanical damage. I couldn't back up the project onto my computer, it had no space. I deemed the project as dead. But at least two people got to see it.

After arriving back to NYC I took the hard drive in for repairs. What was claimed to be a 3-5 day repair ended up taking 3 weeks. When I received my new hard drive with the restored data I realized I had lost almost (if not more than) 50% of my data. 20 out of 60 files were completely corrupted and the rest were partially corrupted. Videos that could play were segmented, 40 seconds of good footage followed by 20 blank seconds, then a minute of good footage... etc. etc. The project had to edited with pieces of footage. It was very, very difficult to create this re-edit especially since I lost some pivotal scenes, but I was up for the challenge. Plus, this means too much to me to give up. It took me more than 10x the amount of time it took me to cut the original edit. The original was 20 minutes long (5 minutes longer than my target length for this video project series). This edit is at my target length, but took me a while to cut it in such a way so that I could meet that target. I am not 100% pleased with the pacing. But for what it's worth, I'm happy with the way it turned out.

Anyway, it is now finished. Now I would like to move on to some more bands as well as my idea for "Raw New York" featuring street musicians in the same fashion as this "presents..." project.

Monday, July 02, 2012

...presents Raw New York City: Jovan Johnson

This has possibly been the craziest weekend of my life. I'm still trying to grasp how everything happened in three days. One of the biggest highlights of the weekend, however, was the very end. As I walked into the ACE 14th St. subway by myself I heard some wonderful music coming from... somewhere. I heard this wonderful tone of brass. The music became louder and louder as I ventured deeper into the station. Suddenly I'm staring at a young black man playing the trombone.

He finishes his improvised song and starts a new one. He does some simple beat boxing, puts it on a loop, and creates various other layers with his trombone. I found myself doing exactly what I do at most Post-Rock concerts I attend... I closed my eyes and just listened. I've never imagined myself doing this to a performer in a subway station. But there I was. It was 02:00 so the station was nearly empty. There was no big crowd, he was just playing music for the pure enjoyment of doing so. He had told me that he already reached his tip goal for the day. This both impressed and inspired me. I was in the presence of someone expressing his passion in music in such an unlikely spot during an unlikley time of the day. And I could feel it through his playing. It was then when I realized... I want to do a spin-off video project that will feature NYC street performing musicians that impress me.

So, look forward to some videos on various musicians that roam the streets, parks, and subways in various cities and countries. (There will obviously be more NYC just because I live here now.) I think I shall call this project Raw *city name*.

(Someone seemed to have recorded him that night as well.)

A little update on "The Wandering Musicphile Presents... Our Ceasing Voice," The project has been on hold this week. I've been pretty busy. I am hoping to resume it last week. I'm hoping even more that it will be finished this week too, but we'll see.