Thursday, 19 October 2017

The Throwback Thursdays Retro Video Project Pres; Ultravox & Visage

This week in my Throwback Thursdays Retro Video Project; Ultravox and Visage.
Ultravox,led by Midge Ure are remembered for their series of 1980's New Romantic club hits like "Dancing With Tears In My Eyes", "Sleepwalk" and "Vienna". But there was an earlier version of Ultravox led by John Foxx who recorded three albums from 1976 to 1978 which were not hits but did became an influence on bands like Simple Minds, Joy Division, Japan, The Fixx, Comsat Angels, Killing Joke and especially Gary Numan with their icy guitar and keyboard sound and coldly moody songs about dehumanization, dislocation (also one of their song titles) and alienation.


For this song off the 1978 third album "Systems Of Romance" album I used footage from the end of the 1915 German Expressionist Horror film "Homnonculus". Although little known now this film was one of the influences on later horror films like Frankenstein. I also used this footage for a Killing Joke song but couldn't decide which version I liked best so I kept both.


Another song off the third album, this time using footage of a Navaho Indian dance for Teddy Roosevelt made by Edison Studios.


Yet another song off the third album using a film by Spanish filmmaker Segundo De Chomon short film, "Les Oeufs De Paques" from 1907. Chomon was a contemporary of George Melies whose style he built upon. I also used this film for a Siouxsie & The Banshess song.


After John Foxx left Ultravox in 1979 he was replaced by Midge Ure who changed the focus and sound of the band into a more lush and dreamy feel which would eventually spawn the New Romantic scene. But first he also joined with other members of Ultravox and Magazine to form a band around scenester Steve Strange as Visage who put out two albums and had a hit with the atmospheric "Fade To Grey" which sounds tailor made for silent films. Here I paired it with footage from the 1915 German Expressionist horror film "Der Golem". This film (starring Paul Wegener) was remade in 1922 (also with Wegener) and both versions were hugely influential on the later "Frankenstein" movies. The 1915 version was long considered lost until these snippets from the ending surfaced a few years ago. There is enough here to tell that there were considerable differences from the later version, notably that this version was set in modern times while the later was set in medieval Prague. In both versions however Wegener's iconic costume and makeup are largely the same.


In xxxx Steve Strange reformed Visage to redo songs from their first two albums with a full orchestra. This video of a song originally off the first album uses aerial footage from Berlin in the 1920's.


Another from the orchestral album for a song originally on the second album using a short old silent film from the 1910's with an extended dream sequence.


Yet another from the orchestral album for a song originally on the second album using a short art film by George Cup & Steve Elliot from 1972.

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