I’ve always been passionate about music – which feels like kind of a cliched thing to say; seems nearly everyone’s a music lover these days – but perhaps one difference about my love for it is that listening to music is not just a passive experience for me, but an intrinsically creative process. I don’t just absorb songs and let them relax me or hype me up; my mind actually plays out, without any real forethought, a vivid cinematic clip to accompany the music that I enjoy. One of my earliest childhood memories is sitting down and meticulously drawing the robots that I believed composed and sang Kraftwerk’s ‘Die Roboter’. By the time I was a teenager, whethering listening to Chopin’s piano concertos or Prodigy’s Music for the Jilted Generation, my mind would storyboard entire sequences that would play in synch with the music – private psychedelic reels, to quote the Chemical Brothers, that I’d revisit every time I sat down and lost myself in a particular track.
Which isn’t quite what I’ve done here, but it’s a start.
The idea to create a YouTube clip came to me less than a week ago, but as happens with certain creative brainwaves, the moment I thought of it I felt compelled to get it done as soon as possible. I was amazed I’d never thought of it before and knew straightaway what I’d do – a combination of text and photography celebrating the weird and wonderful beauty of inland Australia, an expression of my pagan and patriotic nature, set to Solar Fields’ 8-minute track ‘Summer’. But I figured I’d better start with something shorter & simpler first – a sort of practise run to familiarize myself with the free software I’d downloaded – and after burning the midnight oil for the last three nights, that practise run is finished. The result is Melbourne – A Musical Montage.
I’ve always had this idea that music can be divided into two basic categories: daytime and night-time. Music for the Jilted Generation, for example, is very much a night-time album, while its successor Fat of the Land is very daytime. Seeing as my Australiana clip is going to be almost completely ‘daytime’ – full of vibrant colours and sunscorched landscapes – I decided to make its predecessor a night-time clip… and few songs are more night-time, or indeed more Melbourne, than Sander van Doorn’s Bliksem.
To get back to my opening paragraph, the first time I heard Bliksem, images of Melbourne’s CBD late at night immediately played through my head. With its combination of stone/wrought-iron Gothic architecture, looming alongside cloud-scraping steel towers with black-tinted windows, Melbourne has a distinct Gotham City atmosphere that’s beautifully complimented by the song. Bliksem itself represents the kind of trance that I love – dark and brooding, slightly epic, and stirring emotions more subtle and complex than the braindead euphoria most commercial trance is geared for. Starting off as a deep, sombre hum, it begins to pulsate with a contemporary rhythm offset by unusual Baroque-style chords, resulting in a very Melburnian mix of modern and Old World vibes, heavily imbued with the mystery and melancholia of night. It also lends the song a somewhat ambivalent, bittersweet quality that encapulsates my own feelings towards Melbourne: a city I both love and loathe, but that in the end I recognize as my home, the place I grew up in and have gone out and dated and worked in countless times, and whose shady laneways and brightly lit boulevards I’m familiar with in a way no other place in the world can share.
So without any further ado, here it is – my very first video clip, painstakingly sourced and and lovingly arranged, celebrating our unique waterfront city in all of its haunting and colourful glory.