Motion Collage: “Fingertips” by Holy Spirits & Gem Club

As you may already know from my previous post I’ve had the pleasure of working with Dead as Digital, Stadiums and Shrines and The Road Goes Ever On on the inaugural release, Collaborations. As the name implies, the album/mixtape (actually a tape) is comprised entirely of artists collaborations, often over long distances without ever meeting in person. That this kind of cross continental cooperation is possible is yet another positive side effect of the internet and a concept I can get behind, so I wanted to do all I could to support the project.

The hardest part was selecting which track from the tape to use for the video. I mean, Star Slinger, Blackbird Blackbird, Emay, Pepepiano, Warm Waves, Weed, Foxes in Fiction… + loads of others. All artists I’ve come to love and respect over the past year. Ultimately, after digesting the mix for a week, I knew the collaboration between Holy Spirits & Gem Club was it. I found myself walking home from work calmly humming it in my head. The combination of warming lush strings and finger style guitar just seemed to embody everything I envisioned for an animated version of the artwork.

In the spirit of full transparency, there was one other factor that may have led me in the direction of the “Fingertips” track. I’m in the process of creating motion collages for every track on the Holy Spirits EP, The Afternoon’s Blood, leading up to live performances together in the coming months, so I’ve been listening to a lot of them lately. Often falling asleep, waking even, with a melody of theirs in my head. Not a bad thing. So keep an eye out for more of these in the future, as we’ll be releasing a couple leading up to our debut performance.


Collaborations: 2010 Summers End

I was honored to be apart of this cassette/digital release brought to fruition by some wonderful people, Dead as Digital, Stadiums and Shrines and The Road Goes Ever On. The concept behind Collaborations is pure and simple yet yielded some beautiful, complex and unexpected results. The participating artists range from sample based hip-hop to mellow drone rock to dream pop. For some, this was uncharted territory. Since the results could have been anything, the album art needed to visually represent the underlying concept and not a single sound. It needed to show the exchange of ideas and the complexity differing landscapes can produce while occupying the same space. On the cover, two hands share a single flowering plant, merging together and producing one. On the back, the fruits of their labor are nurtured and enjoyed.

You can read more about the project here and pre-order the cassette from wegetby here. Limited edition of 100. Hope you enjoy and stay tuned for the digital release!


Malcolm Sutherland’s “Umbra” confronts the emptiness

Malcolm Sutherland is my new hero. He’s a filmmaker, animator and illustrator based out of Montreal with scores of short films to his name. I’ve always been drawn to shorts.. films, stories, work days, and I’m continually fascinated by what you can convey within a limited amount of time. The question of How can I create something that last only moments yet lingers in someone’s mind is always running through my head. Sutherland’s Umbra achieves everything I want out of five and a half minutes of my time.. visual appeal, a proper soundtrack and a thought provoking story.

In an interview with Motionographer, he explains the concept behind his otherworldly exploration as this,

There is an idea in Buddhism which is that everything in existence is empty – this isn’t nihilistic, it just says that at the core everything is empty of a concrete, fixed, self; and the truth behind the form is that everything is transient and interconnected. For me contact with this “emptiness” can be both wonderfully liberating and a terrifying thing! So in my mind this is basically what the character in the film is confronting.

I’ve watched it a few times now and each time I feel my body tensing up when the character realizes he’s been transferred into another being, reliving a moment he’s already experienced. It hurts my brain to think about, but the good kind of hurt. The kind that means something is growing.


Think or Smile Mixtape 0×005

As the days get a little shorter and the nights a little cooler my daily soundtrack is starting to shift gears. Moving slightly away from synth-drenched beach jams and into the realm of fall sounds.. chill, sample laced, beats with soul. Music for a crisp evening. Starting off we have some brand new material from PEPEPIANO, then quickly move into a small stretch of fuzzed out wobbly tracks from Dawn Golden and Rosy Cross, Teenage Reverb and Old Arc. From there we get a few VHS beats from Stephen Farris, formerly Cosmic Sound, before laying back with sample heavy cuts from The Stuyvesants and Nicolas Jaar. Rounding out the set is a Star Slinger remix, who sonically can do no wrong.

If you dig this mixtape check out my Free Music Collection. Nearly all of tracks are pulled from free legal downloads which I’ve been compiling monthly. There you can find links to the rest of the material from artists on this mix. You can also listen to the most recent mixtape in the Soundcloud player (in the upper right) while you browse. As always feedback is much appreciated. And feel free to share, blog, tweet it or send me any fresh tracks of your own.

Something new this time.. This mix includes markers embedded in the file so you can tell which track is playing when. If you uses iTunes, keep your cover art window open to see the artist and track name as it’s playing. I download piles of mixes and always find it frustrating when you can’t follow along visually, this should alleviate it. If for some reason you don’t want the full version with track makers I’ve included a straight up mp3. The choice is yours.


Think or Smile Mixtape 0×005 | Tracklisting:

I’d be remiss to not thank smokeDON’Tsmoke, No Modest Bear and Life: Aquatic, among others, for turning me on to some of these bands. Check ‘em out if you want to do some digging of your own. As always, if you’re feeling any of these artists show ‘em some love and go see them live. Enjoy!


Think or Smile | Nathaniel Whitcomb © 2010