Author Archives:

Cut, cut, CUT

I’m not sure I’ve crafted a set or mixtape in the past couple of years that didn’t include a Supercut, and I bandy the term around liberally. But its typically met with blank looks, or the digital equivalent: internet silence. So what is a Supercut?

Supercut: noun \ˈsü-pər-kət\ — A fast-paced montage of short video clips that obsessively isolates a single element from its source, usually a word, phrase, or cliche from film and TV.

Got that? Ok, here you go, here’s your basic Supercut, every Christmas from 90210…

You’re probably like “So what?”

Well much as I genuinely enjoy that last number, Supercuts come into their own when they rampage across the silver screen, creating new meanings from old.

How about the atmospheric suspense of endless cinematic waits (from Swede Mason, the guy who brought you the now legendary “Buttery Biscuit Base”)…

Or, in a similar vein, tumbling tumbleweeds by Duncan Robson

I mentioned previously how much I enjoy interstitial material in my sets, the bits in between the other bits. The Supercut is THE perfect interstitial material. Its typically familiar to the audience, so it holds their attention in a way that precisely pixelated naked women also do. Plus, its a great bridge to jump from one element of the set to another.

Now quite where your Supercut ends and the remix or mashup begins is an ecumenical matter, but I for one love it when friend of the blog Matthijs Vlot sequences elements together to create a new narrative structure. What do I mean?…

I cant finish without a hat tip to Andy Baio (aka @waxpancake) for both coining the term Supercut and creating the definitive online archive:

Nor can I leave without paying homage to the master of the cut, Alfred Hitchcock, who elucidates on the montage editing technique with super acluity in the opening of this short interview…

Its good to be able to return to obscure yet literal links to youtube videos instead of actual words for blog titles. Just don’t pay too much attention to the lyrics, as there was no sunshine in this sojourn, for obvious reasons.

So, has the heat been getting to you? It was really making me itch: itching for a guerilla cinema. Having just returned from a holiday in Croatia, where outdoor cinemas are ten a penny, I was longing to get out and make one happen in Leeds. Its been a couple of years since my last one, a semi official affair during the Chapel Allerton Festival.

Fortunately last Friday night the forecast was dry and the evening warm, so off I set with a couple of pals to scope out a spot. We started with a false dawn, when we spotted the perfect site in a Headingley Park, only to be thoroughly ‘checked out’ by da yoot on bikes as we gave it a look.

they live 1

So on we drove, until we came to another park, which looked pretty unpromising. However, we decamped and wandered across to check out the back of a newsagents, that faced onto the main road. What a find! Light coloured walls, next to no light pollution, and best of all, a perfect little ampitheatre of grass facing the ‘screen’. I was so excited I sprinted back up the hill to drive the van down to within 50 metres of the cinema spot.

As well as testing the venue, this was also a test of how long the battery could power the projector. I have had bad experiences of running out of petrol with 15 minutes of Gremlins still to go, so was a little on edge all night. As it turned out, I needn’t have worried.

they live 2

We chose to watch John Carpenters They Live, which if you’re not aware was the inspiration behind street artist Shepherd Fairey’s Obey campaign (along with featuring the longest fight scene in movie history). An appropriate choice for such a venture we felt. Here are a few shots from the night.they live 3

There’s not a great deal else to say, other than stay tuned for the next instalment, as I will definitely do it again, providing we get a decent evening one weekend this summer.

A smoking dog called Butch

If you’ve checked out my mixes you’ll know I often use Dragontape as a proxy for a real live mix, not least as it’s near impossible to capture a live av stream coming out of my mixer.

This does have some disadvantages and glitches, but it’s still a fun way to blur the lines between a playlist and a proper live mix. Its also a pretty good way to show you how I use some of that interstitial material I was on about in my last blog. See for example the opening segment from the Tonight programme and the far our MIND POWER in “A smoking dog called butch”

smoking dog callled butch

The inbetweeners

I’ve always thought that the most interesting stuff happens in the gap between ‘things’, the interstitial spaces. There are any number of high philosophical concepts you could develop from such an opener, but I’m talking about incidental material that I use in my work, the stuff that isn’t fan videos or streaming from VEVO.

In the old days this would have been called ‘found footage’. It was unearthed at jumble sales and charity shops, but what is found footage in the digital era? Well some of it is that old analogue content, digitised for teh internets. A prime example being the AV Geeks, curators of an enormous archive of digitised footage, largely sourced from Public Service Announcements and educational films from the States.

But there is so much more, and so much more to my live shows than music videos. Some of my favourite material is a spoof, either knowingly or reimagined via remix. Take for example the oeuvre of Reverend Bob. I love the Reverend, not least because he is tangentially related to the Church of Sub-Genius, of which I am myself a Minister. Lets hear a word from Bob…

Continuing this irreligious theme, there are some great examples of found footage which were originally created for the old medium, but which were subsequently shared with the ether by a digivangelist.

If you detect a connecting theme of anti-establishment humour, its a gold star and extra milk rations for you. The bits in between are the places I get my message across and what makes a live set so much more than a music video mix.

Since I added a third ‘deck’ to my live setup, I’m finding so many more opportunities to expand on the relationships between interstitial material, with the ‘music’ often playing a subordinate role. I’ll look at the types of content that typically get overlaid via the third deck in a future blog. But for now, lets end, with yet more found footage from the old medium. Goodnight.

I’m continuing my obtuse approach to the creation of blog titles with good reason this week. Park it for a moment and read about A Man called Brian, a true visionary who’s been brilliantly skewering pop culture for the past 20 years.

You’ve seen Brian’s work. He’s a founder member of seminal audio-visual band Emergency Broadcast Network (EBN), creators of the George Bush mashup that opened the epic early 90’s Zoo TV tour, by the Bono band. Although early EBN stuff is something I rarely play, his more recent solo work often features in my sets, such as this clever nailing of copyright and remix…

More recently still, Brian has been breaking the fifth wall and reintroducing everyday experiences of the digital age as wryly conceived items and installations. Check out his meditation on the spinning wheel of ‘wait’…

This massive favourite of mine, real speech bubbles…


And paranoia writ large with real life cloaking & camouflaging devices, which… um… bear a striking similarity to my current avatar


You should totally check his website out, particularly the art page. You can also find Brian on Facebook, where he’s pretty active, including playing a live video show recently at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. What wouldn’t I have given to see that!

Ok, back to the videos, lets close as the man himself would want. Thats all folks…