Music videos are so 80s/90s, right? They belong with the era when MTV screened wall-to-wall vids instead of 'reality' TV? Try telling that to the millions who bought Gangnam Style; were they really simply loving the music? 1.6bn (and still climbing) have viewed the video on YT, not to mention the many re-makes (school eg, eg2), viral ads + celeb link-ups (even political protest in Seoul) - and it doesn't matter how legit it is, this nightmare for daydream Beliebers is making a lot of money, even from the parodies + dislikes. All this for a simple dance track that wouldn't have sounded out of place in 1990 ... but had a fun vid. This meme itself was soon displaced by the Harlem Shake. Music vids even cause diseases it seems!
This blog explores every aspect of this most postmodern of media formats, including other print-based promo tools used by the industry, its fast-changing nature, + how fans/audiences create/interact. Posts are primarily written with Media students/educators in mind. Please acknowledge the blog author if using any resources from this blog - Mr Dave Burrowes

Saturday, 25 June 2011


In this post I'll provide resources on the fisheye lens, a technical trick that has been widely applied in rap/R+B vids in particular, but also some rock vids. You can see a great example of this in Emma Graveling/Beth Cooper's vid for Gorillaz' 19/2000 from summer 2011. Not from this school, but also worth a look is this student's blog, where she considers the influence of Hype Williams, a famous rap vid director.
I've copied in bits of relevant wikis below, ending with a couple of relevant vids

In photography, a fisheye lens is a wide-angle lens that takes in an extremely wide, hemispherical image. Originally developed for use in meteorology to study cloud formation and called "whole-sky lenses", fisheye lenses quickly became popular in general photography for their unique, distorted appearance.

Types of fisheye lenses

In a circular fisheye lens, the image circle is inscribed in the film or sensor area; in a full-frame fisheye lens the image circle is circumscribed around the film or sensor area.
Further, different fisheye lenses distort images differently, and the manner of distortion is referred to as their mapping function. A common type for consumer use is equisolid angle.

[edit] Circular

Image taken using a circular fisheye lens
Image taken using a circular fisheye lens.
The first types of fisheye lenses to be developed were "circular fisheyes" — lenses which took in a 180° hemisphere and projected this as a circle within the film frame. Some circular fisheyes were available in orthographic projection models for scientific applications. These have a 180° vertical angle of view, and the horizontal and diagonal angle of view are also 180°. Most circular fisheye lenses cover a smaller image circle than rectilinear lenses, so the corners of the frame will be completely dark.

[edit] Full-frame

As fisheye lenses gained popularity in general photography, camera companies began manufacturing fisheye lenses that enlarged the image circle to cover the entire 35 mm film frame, and this is the type of fisheye most commonly used by photographers.
The picture angle produced by these lenses only measures 180 degrees when measured from corner to corner: these have a 180° diagonal angle of view, while the horizontal and vertical angles of view will be smaller; for an equisolid angle-type 15 mm full-frame fisheye, the horizontal FOV will be 147°, and the vertical FOV will be 94°.[2]
The first full-frame fisheye lens to be mass-produced was a 16 mm lens made by Nikon in the early 1970s. Digital cameras with APS-C sized sensors require a 10.5 mm lens to get the same effect as a 16 mm lens on a camera with full-frame sensor.[3]
With the kind of digital technology widely available, the full-frame fisheye effect can be obtained in-camera. Selected images can be digitally changed so as to become full-frame fisheye images without the need for special lenses.

  • Photographers and videographers use fisheye lenses so they can get the camera as close as possible for action shots whilst also capturing context, for example in skateboarding to focus on the board and still retain an image of the skater.
  • The peepholes used in doors generally contain fisheye lenses, so as to give a wide field of view. Security cameras often tend to have such lenses for similar reasons.
  • The first music video to be shot completely with fisheye lens was for the Beastie Boys song "Shake Your Rump" in 1989.



Williams has created a number of music videos for artists such as The Notorious B.I.G. ("Warning") & ("One More Chance"), Craig Mack ("Flava in Ya Ear"), LL Cool J ("Doin' It"), Nas ("If I Ruled The World (Imagine That)", "Street Dreams", "Hate Me Now"), Missy Elliott ("The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)", "She's a Bitch"), Busta Rhymes ("Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See"), TLC ("No Scrubs"), Kelis ("Caught Out There"), Jay-Z ("Big Pimpin'"), Kanye West ("Gold Digger", "All of the Lights"), Aaliyah ("Rock The Boat"), Christina Aguilera ("Not Myself Tonight"), Coldplay ("Viva La Vida"), Hoobastank ("If I Were You"), Left Eye (The Block Party (Lisa Lopes Song)) and t.A.T.u. ("Gomenasai").
In 1998, he directed his first feature film, Belly, released by Artisan Entertainment. In 1999, Hype signed a two year overall deal with New Line to produce and direct feature films. His first picture "Mothership" died in development. Later that year Hype was in serious negotiations with MTV to develop an animated series which was described as a behind-the-scenes look at the world of music and celebrities.
In 2003, Disney purchased a zombie horror pic "Thrilla" which was written by Hype. The project floundered in development with Gavin Palone attached to produce.
Awards Williams has received for his video work include the Billboard Music Video Award for Best Director of the Year (1996), the Jackson Limo Award for Best Rap Video of the Year (1996) for Busta Rhymes' "Woo Hah," the NAACP Image Award (1997), the 8th annual MVPA Award for Black Music Achievement (1997), MTV Video Music Award in the Best Rap Video (1998) category for Will Smith's "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It," MTV Video Music Award for Best Group Video (1999) for TLC's "No Scrubs", and the BET Award for Best Director (2006) for Kanye West's “Gold Digger”.[2] In 2006, Williams was honored by MTV with its Video Vanguard Award, presented in honor of his achievements as a filmmaker.[1]
In the December 2007 issue of Playboy magazine, Williams shot the photographs for cover subject Kim Kardashian.
In 2010, Williams was the writer for Kanye West's film Runaway. He later directed the music video for West's single All of the Lights, which premiered on February 19, 2011.
He is being nominated for Video Director of the Year at the BET Awards of 2011.[3]

[edit] Style

A signature style used by Williams throughout the vast majority of his videos, shot mostly with cinematographer John Perez, a New Yorker educated in SVA, with a surprisingly 'anonymous career', which includes hits like Clinton's bus campaign into the presidency, was the Fisheye lens which distorted the camera view around the central focus. This was used by the tandem Williams/Perez in "Gimme Some More" by Busta Rhymes and "The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)" by Missy Elliott; however, it was dropped by 2003, when he experienced his lowest level of production activity since the beginning of his career as a music video director.
Another "signature style" involves placing shots in regular widescreen ratio, while a second shot is split and placed in the upper and lower bars. Videos that use this style include "Diamonds on my Neck" by Smitty, "I Ain't Heard of That" by Slim Thug, "So Sick" by Ne-Yo, "In My Hood" by Young Jeezy, "Gomenasai" by t.A.T.u.,"Check On It" by Beyoncé, "Freeze" by LL Cool J, "Snap Yo Fingers" by Lil Jon and many others.
Since 2003, Williams has adopted a signature style combining a center camera focus on the artist or actor's body from the torso upward and a solid color background with a soft different-color light being shown in the center of the background, so as to give a sense of illumination of the background by the foreground subject. This has been displayed in "Gold Digger" by Kanye West, "Digital Girl" (Remix) by Jamie Foxx and Beyoncé's "Video Phone".

[edit] Videography

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

12A only: Hwk for Friday 24th

The way the calendar works out, 12A have additional 'red' lessons. Therefore, one additional task to follow from the Thursday quiz (but you can do this now) will be for each group (there will be 4, set up in the Weds lesson) to create 5 new questions, to be delivered as a PowerPoint, from one of the following categories:
  1. History of Mvid
  2. MVid & film
  3. MVid & advertising
  4. Censorship of MVid/controversies
  5. MVid on TV
  6. Music magazines
  7. The music industry
We'll set up the groups + let you pick a topic in the Weds lesson, giving you plenty of time to organise this.
The guidelines are simple:
  1. questions must be reasonable!
  2. if I judge they're ridiculously hard your team loses a point for each over-onerous question!
  3. must be delivered as a PowerPoint file (you will then take over as quiz master to deliver them!)
  4. as this is for period3 on Friday, you should EMAIL the file on Thurs evening or no later than Fri period2
  5. make sure the file name includes your names [ForenameInitial eg GeorgeG] + topic

Setting up your new blog [Hwk for Mon 27th]

Everything we've already done, and will do in June/July, forms part of the process of your A2 Coursework unit. Therefore its vital we reflect this work straight away in our A2 blog! Remember, the key principle behind a blog is that it logs the work done throughout the long process up to the final hand-in date (likely to be Xmas 2011 [including the ancillary texts], with January to complete the Evaluation).
Therefore your homework for Monday 27th June is simple: following the instructions below, set up a new blog and bring it up to date!


You'll know how to do this by now; the key thing is to follow the instructions below precisely as regards the name/URL [if you don't you'll have to restart with another new blog!]:

  1. Sign in to blogger
  2. Click on Create New Blog
  3. For name, type in your A2Vid2012-ForenameInitial    [note the hyphen after A2Vid2012]
  4. You should end up with a URL like this: (again, please note the hyphen, and where the capital letters appear)
  5. For address, type in a brief but relevant URL (remember, this will appear on promotional materials; it must also be appropriate for an IGS student). You might have noticed I try to make my blog addresses easy to remember: 'musividz' instead of, say, 'musicvideoa2mediastudiesatilkleygrammar'!
  6. The layout tools have changed, so you'll need to ensure you make your blog wide enough to avoid problems with embedded video clips and Scribd docs. In DESIGN---TEMPLATE DESIGNER you can 'ADJUST WIDTHS' [ask if unsure!]
  7. Once its set up, please email me straight away (so I can be your first follower!); I'll put up a links list for all when everyone has done this so you can look at, and comment on, each others' work, throwing your own ideas and reference points into the mix etc
  8. Once you've done this you can create a new post and quickly blog on what we've done at this early stage
  9. If you haven't already, add yourself as a follower of 
  10. You can start blogging any thoughts/research/useful examples as of now!!! Remember, you're trying to evidence the process that underpinned your eventual productions.

What have we considered so far? See the blog post on 1st lesson + your own notes to refresh your memory! What terms/concepts can you think of we've raised so far? Have you already had some initial ideas for a vid/track choice? Your initial list of common codes and conventions? The different factors of FAG: format, audience, genre. The quiz contains a lot of new learning too...

    Monday, 20 June 2011

    Iconic Vids1

    Each of the following vids have been picked out as representative of certain trends or traits; codes and conventions, of the music vid, spanning hard rock, dance-tinged pop, and rap.
    We only had time to briefly look at these in class - they're worth returning to and blogging on as you begin developing your knowledge of music vid conventions, and ability to draw upon relevant examples past or present.


    Megadeth - Peace Sells from @pinhoone on Vimeo.

    [you may have to toggle annotations off]


    Metallica - Enter Sandman (Official Music Video) [HD] from MetallicaHD on Vimeo.



    MUSIC VIDEOS: Madonna - Like A Prayer from weworldentertainment on Vimeo.


    7: EMINEM: "STAN"


    Monday, 13 June 2011

    Genres timeline from Gdn


    Guardian Music 100

    A rather odd list this - ostensibly the 100 people who most influence what we listen to. One problem with such a list is the unconscious focus on 'pop' music, which much of the population aged mid-20s and upwards largely ignores. Another glaring omission I've seen noted elsewhere is that of the BitTorrent search engine Pirate Bay! See what you think:


    There are a range of highly useful posts at the Beauchamp College Media blog; see and plus

    Video Analysis Sheets

    Use these sheets to help analyse your selected video. The first has a guide on the sort of things you need to discuss in your analysis, the second has just the analysis sheets. Right click and save. Music Video Analysis … Continue reading
    Posted in Assignments and tasks, GCSE, Music Videos, Promotion of Music, Resources | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

    Analysing Music Videos

    Analysing Music Video: What Does That Mean?  Analysing Music Video word Analysing Music Video pdf For the first part of the Promotion of Music coursework you have to analyse one music video of your choice and discuss how it appeals to its … Continue reading
    Posted in GCSE, Music Videos, Promotion of Music, Resources | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

    Important Film Terms

    Some Important Film Technical Terms Some Important Film Technical Terms word Some Important Film Technical Terms pdf Shot Types Very long shot/wide shot A shot in which figures appear small in the landscape. Often used at the beginning of a film or … Continue reading
    Posted in GCSE, Music Videos, Promotion of Music, Resources | Leave a comment

    Shot types

    The building blocks of moving image are the shot types and frames. As well as being able to recognise the shot types you need to comment on the effect. Sh o t Types shot types Camera Movement
    Posted in GCSE, Music Videos, Promotion of Music, Resources | Leave a comment

    Music Video History and Development

    Music video isn’t that new, in fact they’ve been around since before films could have sound. Some performers would project images onto a screen as they played live, these images would then reflect the themes and emotions of the music … Continue reading
    Posted in GCSE, Music Videos, Promotion of Music | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

    Intertextuality: Pastiche and parody

    Pastiche and parody are both examples of INTERTEXCTUALITY. Intertextuality is the defining of a work’s meaning through the understanding of other texts. Look at this example from the Simpsons. It’s meaning is made when you understand that it’s a reference … Continue reading
    Posted in GCSE, Music Videos, Promotion of Music | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

    Example Music Videos

    A range of music videos to analyse or take inspiration from. They don’t reflect my taste in music whatsoever except perhaps the Justin Bieber. Only joking, though interesting that I can’t even type his name without doing a little sick … Continue reading
    Posted in GCSE, Music Videos, Promotion of Music | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

    Hip Hop Videos

    Here’s a range of Hip Hop Videos. It’s in loose chronological order but certainly isn’t a history. It’s more useful for looking at representation. How are women represented in the videos for instance?
    Posted in GCSE, Music Videos, Promotion of Music | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

    Example Music Videos Part II

    More videos.
    Posted in GCSE, Music Videos, Promotion of Music | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

    Mise en Scene and Music Video

    Mise en Scene and Music Videos Word Mise en Scene and Music Videos pdf Mise en Scene and Music Videos Mise en scene is a key concept in Media Studies. It’s a French term and means ‘putting into the scene’. It was … Continue reading
    Posted in GCSE, Music Videos, Promotion of Music, Resources | Leave a comment

    Example Music Videos part III

    More music videos.
    Posted in GCSE, Music Videos, Promotion of Music | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

    Features of Music Videos – Andrew Goodwin

    Andrew Goodwin’s 6 Features of Music Videos In His Book Dancing in the Distraction Factory Andrew Goodwin points out characteristics and features that can be found in music videos. Looking at a selection of music videos which can be recognised? … Continue reading
    Posted in GCSE, Music Videos, Promotion of Music, Resources | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

    Promotion of Music Assignment

    Assignment 1 – Promotion of Music For this assignment you’re going to analyse music videos and how they appeal to audience and then plan and present your own music video for a target audience. You’ll also have to explain your … Continue reading
    Posted in Assignments and tasks, GCSE, Music Videos, Promotion of Music | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

    How technology is transforming music biz

    Skip to 13mins into this ep of BBC Click:

    Sunday, 12 June 2011

    Roseanne on class prejudice/sexism of TV

    I made the mistake of thinking Marcy was a powerful woman in her own right. I've come to learn that there are none in TV. There aren't powerful men, for that matter, either – unless they work for an ad company or a market-study group. Those are the people who decide what gets on the air and what doesn't.
    Complaining about the "created by" credit made an enemy of Matt. He wasted no time undermining me, going so far as to ask my co-star, John Goodman, who played Roseanne Conner's husband, Dan, if he would do the show without me. (Goodman said no.) It was then that I had my first nervous breakdown. [excerpt]

    I'll cross-post this on several blogs as it touches on gender, regulation, class prejudice and the general financial machinations of the entertainment business. Assuming you're unaware of what 'Roseanne' is, a few clicks on wikipedia or youtube will swiftly bring you up to speed - it was a hugely successful US sitcome with the USP of centring on a working-class family (with money problems and lousy jobs, not the usual facsimille of working class, or 'labour as Roseanne Barr refers to it, with a tough domestically inept/disinterested woman at the head of the family).

    There are very, very few comparisons - aspects of Taxi perhaps, maybe even Married With Children.
    Her article, and forthcoming book, reveal just how unprepared the US TV network (whose working practices, being fundamentally driven by financial calculations and audience testing, are not so different to those of the film biz) was to let an unvarnished depiction of working class folk go on, let alone allow a female creative lead the way. Roseanne Barr found that her own creation was credited to an entirely uninvolved male producer, who went on to make her life hell.
    There may be a 'PC' moral behind this, but it is a fascinating read from a very un-PC lady.

    Roseanne Barr: 'Fame's a bitch. It's hard to handle and drives you nuts'

    With a hit TV show, Roseanne Barr could get the best tables in the best restaurants. Never mind about the empty flattery, the nervous breakdowns and the feeling of being used for 10 years. But she's not bitter. Honest
    Roseanne Barr 11.6.11
      Roseanne Barr
      'I walked into the producer's office, held up a pair of wardrobe scissors to show her I meant business - "This is no character! This is my show. You watch me. I will win this battle." ' Photograph: Robert Maxwell/Art + Commerce
      During the recent and overly publicised breakdown of Charlie Sheen, I was repeatedly contacted by the media and asked to comment, as it was assumed that I know a thing or two about starring on a sitcom, fighting with producers, nasty divorces, public meltdowns and bombing through a live comedy tour. I have, however, never smoked crack or taken too many drugs, unless you count alcohol as a drug (I don't). But I do know what it's like to be seized by bipolar thoughts that make one spout wise about tiger blood and brag about winning when one is actually losing. It's hard to tell whether one is winning or, in fact, losing once one starts to think of oneself as a commodity, or a product, or a character, or a voice for the downtrodden. It's called losing perspective. Fame's a bitch. It's hard to handle and drives you nuts. Yes, it's true that your sense of entitlement grows exponentially with every perk until it becomes too stupendous a

    Thursday, 9 June 2011

    Pro-Palestinian vid controversy

    The BBC's response to this actually links to a media regulation story - the GUMG's report that highlighted systematic pro-Israeli, anti-Palestinian bias in the BBC's reportage of the Middle East conflict (Guardian report on this; Amazon)

    Music vids are primarily an entertainment medium, and ads for music products. The success of many viral vids showcases the greater opportunities low-budget producers have, even if the actual music retail market sufferd from even greater monopoly than the film biz.

    Here's an example, though, of the vid as agit-prop; PR for a generally negatively-portrayed people and place, which has swiftly received extensive 'flak' and faces further censorship. As this article says, it will be interesting to see how the BBC handles this in the highly unlikely event it becomes a hit...

    Palestine campaign song generates controversy ahead of release

    Coldplay removes link to video after 7,000 comments as Glenn Beck describes 'Freedom For Palestine' as evil propaganda
    A campaign song, to be released early next month, called Freedom For Palestine, is already kicking up a row.
    It's a compilation number, along the lines of Feed The World or Free Nelson Mandela, and its artists include Dave Randall of Faithless, Maxi Jazz and the Durban Gospel Choir. Images from the West Bank and Gaza, along with the separation barrier, are featured in the video.
    Its lyrics refer to catastrophes, refugees, crimes against humanity, prison camps, occupation, human rights and justice. "We are the people and this is our time, stand up, sing out for Palestine," goes the refrain.

    Coldplay initially linked to the video from the band's Facebook page, prompting around 7,000 responses, both for and against. Earlier this week, the band removed the link (see update below).
    The US media host Glenn Beck drew attention to the song on his Fox show, describing it as "evil" and "pure propaganda". Referring to the song's lyrics, he said: "Before you know it, 'Israeli occupation' will be standard fare. Everyone will just see it as they're just occupying that land. That is a lie."

    If the song makes it into the UK charts, it is likely to cause a dilemma for the BBC. The corporation ran into controversy last month for masking out the words "free Palestine" from a number recorded by Mic Righteous. It did it in order "to ensure impartiality was maintained", it said. On another recent occasion, the word "Palestine" was excised from a BBC script.
    I have no idea whether this campaign song will sink or soar. But the controversy building around it even before release is an indication of what could be yet to come.
    1.42pm update: I've just had an email from Frank Barat at OneWorld who tells me:
    "Coldplay did not remove link from its Facebook page. Facebook removed the link because thousands of people (and computer generated posts) reported it as abusive."
    My apologies to Coldplay for misrepresenting them.

    Barack Obama in Ireland vid

    Spotted this in Roy Greenslade's blog:
    Worth watching as...
    • its postmodern (surely shades of 'Road to Amarillo', not to mention this vid); intertextually rich
    • primarily conceived as a viral vid (tho' also to spark iTunes sales?)
    • interesting from perspective of representation (and you should be thinking carefully of how, consciously or otherwise, you've represented yourselves in terms of regional identity, age, gender, sexuality, social class etc): entirely stereotypical, or perhaps satirising some stereotypes?

    Most-played tracks last year? ...

    Lady Gaga rules airwaves as UK's most played artist
    Bad Romance tops year's airplay list, with Alejandro at two and Alicia Keys' Empire State of Mind at three 
    Lady Gaga
    Lady Gaga's Bad Romance was the most-played single on UK radio in 2010

    y the most played artist on UK radio last year. Bad Romance, the first single from her album The Fame Monster, topped the annual airplay chart compiled by music licensing company PPL.
    Lady Gaga, famous for her controversial outfits and flamboyant concert performances, also had the No 3 most played record with Alejandro, another single from the same album. The runner-up spot was taken by Alicia Keys's Empire State of Mind.
    The previous year's chart was topped by Lily Allen, who has since retired from the music business citing the pressures of fame. Such a thought is unlikely to trouble Lady Gaga – known as "mother monster" to her fans (who are the "little monsters") – any time soon.
    PPL, which collects airplay royalties on behalf of artists and their record companies, generated a record £143.5m last year, up 11% on 2009. Its top 10 chart also includes songs played in bars and restaurants.
    "These results are very encouraging especially against the backdrop of very difficult trading conditions for us as well as many of our licensees and the customers," said Fran Nevrkla, the former professional violinist who heads PPL.
    The strong performance of PPL – labels and musicians received a record £124m after various costs were deducted – was a ray of light for an embattled music industry.
    Global sales of CDs fell by almost $1.5bn last year as digital piracy continued to take its toll.
    And last month it emerged that the decade-long rise of live music in the UK, long billed as a saviour of the industry, had run out of steam, with revenues dropping 6.7% in 2010, according to figures from rights body PRS for Music.
    In contrast PPL had a solid year, with the biggest growth coming from international revenues, which grew by nearly half to £32m.
    PPL is targeting royalties from the US, the world's largest music market, which although lucrative could be massive if the American system of not allowing royalty collection from analogue radio stations is eventually changed.
    There was 2% growth in public performance revenue, which broke the £50m mark to account for 35% of all revenues, given the continued decline in the number of pubs and nightclubs in the UK.
    The PPL managed to significantly increase its membership last year, with a 13% boost in the number of performers signed up to 47,500 and a 26% rise in record company members to 6,300.

    Top 10 most played songs in 2010

    1. Lady Gaga Bad Romance
    2. Alicia Keys Empire State of Mind
    3. Lady Gaga Alejandro
    4. Plan B She Said
    5. Kylie Minogue All the Lovers
    6. Olly Murs Please Don't Let Me Go
    7. Ke$ha Tik Tok
    8. Florence and the Machine Rabbit Heart
    9. Train Hey, Soul Sister
    10. Kings of Leon Sex on Fire

    Thursday, 2 June 2011

    Why retromania is all the rage [Simon Reynolds book]

    [this post is intended for coursework AND A2 exam]
    Great article on the growing influence of retro on contemporary music; a couple of quotes then the full article ... but 1st, a useful ref from a comment left on a review of the book which sparked the article (a fairly postmodern trail in itself!):
    Or you could just read Raphael Samuel's Theatres of Memory instead.
    [...] This diverse scope of reference and discussion, from serious discussions of the rise of history as a discipline to analyses of the ironies of retro-fitted shops, signals an attack on high-culture models of value and significance, as well as proving repeatedly that the manifestation of history in popular culture is compelling, strange, contradictory and ethereal. 
    [LordTubbington 2 June 2011 10:52AM]

    The 1st quote raises several key signifiers of postmodernism:
    how come the very kind of people who would have once been in the vanguard of creating new music (bohemian early adopter types) have switched roles to become antiquarians and curators? In the underground, creativity has become recreativity. The techniques involved are salvage and citation; the sensibility mixes hyper-referential irony with reverent nostalgia.
    The 2nd quote highlights the influence of new media:
    Retro is not a completely new phenomenon, of course: pop has an extensive history of revivals and creative distortions of the musical past. What is different about the contemporary retromania is the aspect of total recall, instant recall, and exact recall that the internet makes possible. Fans can drown themselves in the entire history of music at no cost, because it is literally all up there for the taking. From YouTube's archive of TV and concert performances to countless music, fashion, photography and design blogs, the internet is a gigantic image bank that encourages and enables the precision replication of period styles, whether it's a music genre, graphics or fashion. As a result, the scope for imaginative reworking of the past – the misrecognitions and mutations that characterised earlier cults of antiquity like the 19th-century gothic revival – is reduced. In music especially, the combination of cheap digital technology and the vast accumulation of knowledge about how specific recordings were made, means that bands today can get exactly the period sound they are looking for, whether it's a certain drum sound achieved by Ringo Starr with help from the Abbey Road technicians or a particular synth tone used by Kraftwerk.

    Here's the article in full:

    Total recall: why retromania is all the rage

    From synth pop to Hollywood remakes to collecting manual typewriters, we're busy plundering the past. But why the fatal attraction?

    Annie Lennox in 1983 and La Roux in 2009
    Spot the difference: Annie Lennox in 1983 and La Roux in 200

    There's no single thing that made me suddenly think, Hey, there's a book to be written about pop culture's chronic addiction to its own past. As the last decade unfolded, noughties pop culture became steadily more submerged in retro. Both inside music (reunion tours, revivalism, deluxe reissues, performances of classic albums in their entirety) and outside (the emergence of YouTube as a gigantic collective archive, endless movie remakes, the strange and melancholy world of retro porn), there was mounting evidence to indicate an unhealthy fixation on the bygone.
    But if I could point to just one release that tipped me over the edge into bemused fascination with retromania, it would be 2006's Love, the Beatles remix project. Executed by George Martin and his son Giles to accompany the Cirque du Soleil spectacular in Las Vegas, the album's 26 songs incorporated elements from 130 individual recordings, both releases and demos, by the Fab Four.

    Wednesday, 1 June 2011

    Greatest single take video ever?

    UPDATE FEB 15TH 2012: In searching for GnR's "Garden of Eden" as another eg, I stumbled upon this wiki of 'one shot music videos', which lists a great many more examples!!! See

    Pete Fraser flagged this one up on his blog; interesting viral-style vid ... yet budgeted at a cool $40k!!!!

    The info is notable too, and I'll copy this in below; highlights the industrial nature of the vid - but also the commercial/ideological aspect (a counter to a negative comment about a US town that local businesses felt would be, well, bad for business).

    It also suggests a possible major new name to put up there alongside the likes of Spike Jonze in director Rob Bliss, who's aim does seem to be create 'event' vids that achieve viral success but also mainstream news coverage (thus the World Record hook to this vid's backstory). And, of course, what he's done here is what most of you will do: create a new vid for a previously released track (you can work with a band on newer material if you can make the links). His main contact link is a Facebook page.

    The idea of the single take is not new, but its so technically difficult to pull off, with cast, props (eg cars), sound [not such a factor for music vids!] and cameras having to be in such perfect synch, that it remains rare. In film, the openings of Touch of Evil (Orson Welles, 1958) [watch it here] and Halloween (John Carpenter, 1979 [USA 1978]), two very different films, remain legendary for their accomplishment as single-takes, while the film Russian Ark (Aleksandr Sokurov, 2002) took this to a new level - a plush, high production-value movie entirely shot in one take:

    More recently still, The Silent House (Gustavo Hernández, 2010), a Uruguyan production, took Carpenter's achievement a stage further in making the entire feature-length horror as a single-take.
    As much as I admire this tremendously accomplished vid (ask any of last students and they'll tell how difficult it is to get accurate lip-synching, here achieved in one continuous take with a huge cast!), I still prefer the Pixies vid, created as a response to the machinations of the record industry (they were to be barred from appearing on Top of the Pops if their single didn't have a video); nothing like as technically brilliant as this, but a moment of raw inspiration rising from a flash of anger (and a superior tune to boot!)...


    ...and here it is in real time!

    I've blogged on this before: you couldn't create such a vid and expect a good mark no matter how profound an artistic statement it is, as you simply won't rack up any marks for the many technical aspects assessed in the markscheme ... BUT I highly recommend creating just such a 2ndary vid to show your wider appreciation of the industry/audience (and to have a little fun too!)...


    Uploaded by on 26 May 2011
    The international sensation that Roger Ebert calls "The Greatest Music Video Ever Made." |

    Rob Bliss Events:

    Media Inquiries: robblissgr[at]
    Business Inquiries: ask[at]

    "The Grand Rapids LipDub Video was filmed May 22nd, with 5,000 people, and involved a major shutdown of downtown Grand Rapids, which was filled with marching bands, parades, weddings, motorcades, bridges on fire, and helicopter take offs. It is the largest and longest LipDub video, to date.

    This video was created as an official response to the Newsweek article calling Grand Rapids a "dying city." We disagreed strongly, and wanted to create a video that encompasses the passion and energy we all feel is growing exponentially, in this great city. We felt Don McLean's "American Pie," a song about death, was in the end, triumphant and filled to the brim with life and hope." - Rob Bliss, Director & Executive Producer

    *Note: The "NEW WORLD RECORD" designation refers to size and scope, not duration.

    This $40,000 production was entirely financed by the generosity of local sponsors that are listed below:

    Amway Grand Plaza Hotel (
    EasyRotor Helicopter (