June 27, 2015

The Origin Of The Species...

by Chris Randall

Steve Hamann asked an interesting pair of questions on Twitter this morning: "What is the origin of the floating hands and electronic gear music video?" And he followed that up with this: "For a lot of people it seems to have become a musical end unto itself, I wonder where/when it started?"

I am obviously a strong proponent of this particular form of expression. My first YouTube upload, in 2007, was only the first in a long string of Hands videos in my channel; roughly two thirds of my uploads fit in to this category. These sorts of videos are de rigueur these days for any aspiring synthNerd, and Audio Damage even makes a product specifically for making them with your modular synth and iPhone.

If you've been a long-time reader of this site (10 YEARS NEXT MONTH HOLY SHIT!!) I've inflicted these videos on you many times. To address the second part of Steve's musings, speaking strictly for myself, the video is absolutely the musical end, and I generally write the music specifically for the video. This started happening in the beginning of 2011; before that, I had generally done any sort of video upload as an afterthought, but this one is the first one where making the video was the goal in and of itself:

Many others followed, of course, and while the early ones were recorded and mixed, and the audio released elsewhere, I've gradually got to the point where the video is the release entire, and I don't actually include any downloadable audio content. I'll admit I hadn't actually thought about the "why" of this until today, and I don't have a good answer for it. In pondering it, I think that a lot of the reason I put up the videos (aside from demonstrating the cool shit we make) is that they show off my skill as a musician, inasmuch as I'm capable of demonstrating skill, and serve as "proof" that no trickery was involved. I think with the growing popularity of modular synths, and the dick-swinging inherent in that group of instruments, they also serve as a nice set of bona fides: "look at all this dope shit I have, and here's proof that I'm good at using it."

So, that's me. But it leaves Steve's questions sort of unanswered: where's the √úr Hands Video? And why do other people do it? I personally am curious as to why people put up so many really shitty ones. One of the groups on Facebook that I belong to, it's basically just a constant stream of really terrible sound (I won't even call it music) with cell phone mic audio. These videos are essentially worthless, whether a demonstration of prowess or a snapshot of a musical moment. Your thoughts? Can we find the first Hands video on YouTube?


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Jul.07.2015 @ 1:28 PM
atlastop - those synth blues covers are fucking awesome. I actually think the multi-cam complements the live feel. The editing doesn't have to take that long, just do it as a one-take in real time as a performance. The split-screen parts look cool.

I agree that the interaction between hands and instrument are the important bit, so if there's just one camera then that should be the focus.

Jul.07.2015 @ 5:07 PM
Chris Randall
@atlastop: I had no idea you did those. I have a project I've been working on for years that is Delta blues / IDM. This appeals to my interests, and has perhaps lit a fire under my ass to finish it.


Jul.07.2015 @ 11:26 PM
@soren thanks... I should get back to doing more of these covers.

@chris a delta/idm ep from you would be awesome... The Devil his due is still one of my favourite of your albums. I'd love to hear some sort of hybrid between that and RT60... Shot as a hands and synth video.

Jul.08.2015 @ 3:53 PM
Adam Schabtach
*gigglesnort* Us, overthink something on this forum? Never.


Jul.25.2015 @ 5:51 PM
One of my 2 studio performance videos was a cheated multi-camera. I used one camera, then performed the improv (which had a loose song-like structure) 4 times. This allowed me to use best performance as the audio (I think I went with the shortest; and even that was a tad long), and edit together 4 angles. Like @atlastop says, it's a lot of work. Honestly, after about a minute of the song, I was often just grabbing as I needed them. (No vocal, so this was a lot easier.)

But I think those blues cover video look terrific. Of course good music helps. (Seriously, well done, sir). If I were to do another I would go this route again.

Jul.25.2015 @ 6:38 PM
Of course, upon reflection, I realize I'm just talking about '"live" in studio' now. Not specifically what this post was originally about. But as long as we're overthinking it...

Jul.27.2015 @ 6:42 AM
The best hands video of all time.
Sometime in 2006 I think.
link [www.youtube.com]

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