TOKYO BELOW

top2

A few weeks ago I found a website for an independent DV documentary called TOKYO BELOW. I ordered a copy of the DVD from the director, James R. Petix, and finally got my copy yesterday. The short takes a look at the Tokyo underground rock scene, and we are introduced to a few bands. The documentary itself is nice, and I like how a lot of it is presented in splitscreen, which gives us lots of visuals to look at. It’s a nice little walkthrough of Tokyo. The DVD itself has the documentary (around 24 minutes I think), plus a commentary track, band videos, outakes, which all makes for a nice package. What really impresses me is how all this was done independently, which shows how the DV age is really giving us access to quality video packaging. I’ve also been interested in producing short documentaries, but right now it’s mostly the computer side of things that’s preventing me from editing anything I tape (lack of HD space mostly, but a new iMac with a Superdrive that lets me burn DVDs is what I’m really looking at to replace my iBook as soon as I can afford it).

Check out the site for more info on the video, short clips, and contact info to order it.

Sketch Show

Right now I’m watching a performance by Sketch Show on NHK (the Japanese public broadcasting channel). Sketch Show is a new project by two members of the classic Japanese electronica trio YMO, who counted Ryuichi Sakamoto as a member. The sound is a natural progression of the electronics pioneered by YMO over 2 decades ago. It’s visually very interesting as the two members are in a black studio surrounded by video screens of all sizes, with electronic static/patterns being projected in sync with the music. Their album’s name is STRANGE FLOWERS VOL. 1, and it’s out now.

onedotzero_nippon

Just got back from seeing the final program presented at the onedotzero_nippon festival, a reprise of the wow+flutter program. It is described as follows:

“a shift from previous editions is felt here with more work with creators tacking narrative and documentary using the skills and techniques picked up through visual experimentation. Still true to its pioneering roots there are also a wide range of styles spanning the full spectrum of animation, motion graphics and abstract experimentation from a wider geographic spread-flagging up mew hot spots and fresh talent. many of these works have been specifically produced for the festival or are receiving their japan premiere airing.”

I really enjoyed this, especially the short “Salaryman”, by Jake Knight. Presented in an extreme letterbox view, the composition was beautiful, and well suited the subject matter (loneliness in the big city).

It really is inspiring to see all of these works presented together like this. I’m already getting excited for the upcoming Resfest in November.

When I Am King

If you haven’t done so yet, do check out the online comic When I Am King from Demian.5. It’s really interesting how he uses the Web to tell his story in a non-traditional way. Do take the time to go through all the chapters, as things really evolve (in the way he uses the medium) in the later chapters. There’s an interesting profile of the author at the Shift magazine. For another great example of the types of comics that are really taking advantage of the Web, check out the Pay Your Reality Tax site.

onedotzero_nippon

Just got back from the onedotzero_nippon festival. The program I was supposed to see, J-Star, was sold out, so we hung out around Ginza for a few hours until the next program, Wavelength, which featured music videos. I got to see the following:

shynola: an eye for an eye / unkle
julian gibbs + julian house / intro: there goes the fear / the doves
johnny hardstaff: push, pulk / like spinning plates / radiohead
bardou-jacquet / houplain / de crecy / h5: number one / playgroup
alexander rutterford: gantz graf / autechre
lobo: total control / golden shower
logan: information contraband / money mark
cedric perrier / mitgetvideo: la rue cause / karlito
run wrake: we belong in this world together / stereo mcs
geoff mcfetridge: one dimension / simian
michel gondry: fell in love with a girl / white stripes
dominic leung: pillow / capitol k [directors cut]
geoffroy de crecy: tempovision / etienne de crecy
shynola: is a woman / lambchop
lynn fox: hayling / fc kahuna
oliver boscovitch: smile / the youngsters
stylewar: main offender / the hives
tim hope: trouble / liebestod / wagner [directors cut]

Really great stuff, most of which I had never seen. And for the stuff that I had already seen, it was definitely nice to get to see them projected on a big screen with great sound.