Thursday, 24 August 2017

The Throwback Thursdays Retro Video Project Presents; Cabaret Voltaire

Lately my newest hobby is making music videos by taking old silent movies and adding music to them, usually from 1980's Post-Punk, New Wave and Proto-Industrial Bands whose music has a certain cinematic quality. I remember growing up in the 1980's early days of videos when a few such bands like Cabaret Voltaire, Throbbing Gristle, Severed Heads and Sturm Groups made such super low-budget videos using a mixture of "found footage", abstract art films, grainy super home movies and excerpts from various old movies and TV shows. And for a couple years such videos could actually get played on TV, at least on Much Music in Canada if not on American MTV.

So far I've made about a hundred including such old faves as Cabaret Voltaire, Simple Minds, Siouxsie & The Banshees, Clock DVA, Destroy All Monsters, Savage Republic, Killing Joke, Ultravox, Wire and The Silver Apples. I've already uploaded them on to Youtube so for the next while I can collect them in one place here. Starting with;
CABARET VOLTAIRE pt.1 (the early years);
One of the founders of Industrial Music, before it became techno-metal dance music, the Sheffield trio actually started recording their experiments in tape-collages, feedback, analog synths and distortion as early as 1974, although it took the post-punk fallout in 1978 to actually get around to releasing anything or doing actual gigs. They were not exactly welcomed by punk audiences of the time, at one gig the audience actually stormed the stage, assaulted the band and smashed their gear. However their noise experiments and theories about what they called "Industrial Music" became hugely influential, along with those of their even more outrageous (albeit less talented) compatriots Throbbing Gristle. Partly due to their aloof image and lack of any stage stage presence whatsoever the Cabs also pioneered the use of video presentations. The use of visual backdrops using film clips, slide shows, light shows and smoke machines was nothing new going back to the psychedelic era with bands like the Velvet Underground, Pink Floyd (Syd Barret era), Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead and the Creation, but Cabaret Voltaire took these ad-hoc displays with their own moody electro drones into fully realized video art.
My videos attempt to invoke this era of video art using found footage;


This piece is an early sound collage and the video uses another Flux Film op-art film made by Paul Sharits for a Dada film collective called Flux Films who made a series of such shorts in 1965-67.


This track is a simple analog synth doodle using another Flux Film short.


Another early sound experiment, this time I used old newsreel footage of the aftermath of an explosion shot by Edison Studios.


Yet another early sound experiment, this time I used old newsreel footage from the Graf Zeppelin, probably from 1929.


This video uses another Edison Studios film, however this one is not a newsreel but is instead a recreation of the execution of the assassin of President William McKinley along with some shots of the actual prison.


Another early synth noodle. This time I used an a short by the pioneering Spanish filmmaker Segundo De Chomon who was a contemporary of the more famous Frenchman George Melies upon whom Chomon built his own style.


A snippet from of a track from the second album using a George Melies film "Gold Fever".


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