It began with the hot pursuit of some Ladybird books. Especially the really old titles, like Red Riding Hood or ‘How Television Works’. We were having a conversation with a couple of friends about live visuals and happened to mention that the books would be used as research for a few animated segments in our set, specifically during “Once Upon A Time”. On mentioning the multiple drawings and photographs that would be required for the animation, one of our chums asked how we’d made the previous visuals. This prompted some fairly nerdy statistics about how many individual frames make up the pylon animation for “The Constructor”, plus an overly passionate ramble about mannequins, rainbows & old radios. Chi from The Electricity Club recently wrote this fantastic article about “Spires” and it has been said that we should probably share these factoids with your good selves. So we’ve assembled this here post on our gig visuals…
Pictured:Wireless parts found at home combine in kinetic harmony. Colours are intensified with effects; Buzzing pylons are layered over blurred photographs. We went to the countryside when it was sunny and took hundreds of photographs of pylons to manipulate. It was actually more fun than it sounds; Two mannequins from a 1940s sewing book, taken from “Creatures”; A kaleidoscope effect added to a computer-drawn image of a mannequin, also from “Creatures”; Light reflections in “Lightness” achieved by taking close-ups of liquid drops; A happy accident. The random placement of cinema photographs creates a strange and futuristic image; Drawings arranged on the floor from “The Constructor”. There are 65 individual drawings which make up the sequence; Drawings on the light box. Often the same image will be copied three times to create a feeling of movement in the animation, even when an object or character is static.
It takes anything from 3-5 days to complete each song and requires the essential tools of: a cheapo camera, light box, scanner, peg bar, fancy fineliner pens, an editing program and a Pictoplasma or Spongebob Squarepants DVD. If you’re not aware of Pictoplasma, then you should have a little look at their site. Their 2010 animation festival in Berlin was one of the reasons that we started thinking about live visuals. It was held in a small cinema in Rosa-Luxembourg Platz (near some very trendy record/zine outlets) and showcased some incredible indie animations, most of which were music-orientated and all of which explored colour, humour and surrealism with great zeal. The subsequent notes taken from the festival went on to become part of a body of research on how aesthetics compliment music, which also included profiles of designers like Alexander Rodchenko, Simone Grant, Peter Saville, Julian Opie and Barney Bubbles. All huge influences on our animation style and what the camera gets pointed at!
Schließlich, before we conclude, we’d like to say a huge ‘ta’ to Mike Taylor for featuring us in this not-quite-end-of-year list and The Ladies Toilet for these recent snaps of our show at Club Killing Moon.