During the course of my research, I have been creating posts on social media (Twitter and Instagram) for each of the 148 films within my corpus. This page curates some of the audiovisual material created for these posts, alongside the text that accompanied them. I reflect on the academic value of my social media activity in the NECSUS article ‘Indy Vinyl as Academic Book’, in the section entitled ‘Social media ‘sleevenotes’ as scholarship’. You can find the article here.
Musical Bleed in MANDY (2018) (published September 2019)
The Nerdwriter’s fine video essay, MANDY: The Art of Film Grain, explores the unique ‘visual bleed’ aesthetic of Panos Cosmatos’ movie. The boundaries between musical elements of this “disintegrating rock opera” are equally porous.
Women, Violence and the Jukebox in DEATH PROOF (2007) (published July 2019)
DEATH PROOF takes the notion of the jukebox musical literally in its first half. The camera leers over music technology & human bodies alike. The takeaway is ultimately the same as PULP FICTION: women who overindulge in vinyl will be punished.
This short video essay takes its soundtrack and captions from Kevin B Lee’s The Tarantino Death Toll, recontextualising the death sounds of the female characters in DEATH PROOF within the earlier jukebox scenes.
Overhead Shots in THE ENDLESS (2017) (published September 2019)
The record-playing moment in the wonderful THE ENDLESS (2017) is one of a number of circle-shaped overhead shots that expresses the film’s cosmic worldview. Records have a pristine beauty that overhead shots amplify: a perfect circle revolving mesmerically, captured in a rectangular frame; but their surfaces are fallible, producing sound that can jump forward, back, get stuck – reflecting the core dilemma of THE ENDLESS perfectly.
Josh and Technology in WHILE WE’RE YOUNG (2014) (published January 2020)
WHILE WE’RE YOUNG (2014) features a crisp montage scene, covered by a spot of Vivaldi, that demonstrates the different attitudes to technology displayed by the film’s featured couples, Josh (Ben Stiller) & Cornelia (Naomi Watts) and Jamie (Adam Driver) & Darby (Amanda Seyfried). But the scene doesn’t tell the whole story about Josh’s struggles with tech: this video essay reruns the montage to investigate further….
Keanu Reeves Sound Gif from KNOCK, KNOCK (2015) (published September 2019)
Statements of affection for vinyl abound in the Indy Vinyl films – but Keanu Reeves imbues the sentiment with a Shakespearean gravitas in Eli Roth’s KNOCK KNOCK (2015).
Nicholas Hoult Gif from WARM BODIES (2013) (published August 2019)
Unlike ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE, where vinyl both humanises & ‘vampirises’, record playing in WARM BODIES is a determinedly non-monstrous activity – a key signifier of R’s residual humanity.
Gif for A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT (2014) (published August 2019)
Vinyl in A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT is lingered on, but not in relation to its vampiric protagonist. Instead the fetish/addictive qualities of vinyl are connected to Arash’s junkie father…
The Last Days of Salem: ‘Venus in Furs’ in LAST DAYS and THE LORDS OF SALEM (published May 2020)
NOTE: Whilst the video was circulated on Twitter, the following text was published on the E-portfolio social network platform, Mahara.
This video works within the parameters set for the ‘multi-screen composition’ exercise described in The Videographic Essay, the online offshoot of the influential Middlebury College workshop on videographic criticism. I chose these two clips as they both feature characters playing Velvet Underground’s ‘Venus in Furs’ on a record player. The scenes present two different ways of representing music listening: as a social activity, in the case of THE LORDS OF SALEM; and as an act of introspection, in the case of LAST DAYS. I’d remembered that both films used the same song in a record-playing scene, but when I assembled them on the timeline, differences I hadn’t noticed became apparent. In LAST DAYS the record is actually played from the middle of the song, whereas it is cued from the start in THE LORDS OF SALEM. I used this discrepancy to attempt an uncanny effect whereby Lou Reed sings along to himself in the sequence, one verse piling up on another. Musically, the doubling of the soundtracks creates a phased, drone effect that doubles down on the droning quality that is a feature of the original song. The split-screen also captures the contrast between stillness and immersion in the LAST DAYS clip and movement and sociability in THE LORDS OF SALEM. So, despite the superficial similarities between the scenes, the side-by-side comparison reveals the quite different types of music listening enacted by the characters.