This video is part of the submission to 1SSUE 41 by Carl “CJ” Boland and myself. Last year when Heather Parnell and I spent a month in Japan this is what I was doing.
The majority of the footage was shot by CJ in 2008 when he first went to live in Japan. There are a few clips derived from an unattributed home movie that I downloaded from the Prelinger Archive, and another single sequence that I shot in Sapporo on my phone.
I started editing it together during our residency at Sapporo Tenjinyama Art Studio in August 2018. The editing was sync’d to an unfinished and/or abandoned track that I’d been working on months earlier with David Pitt: basically just the looped sound of a railway work car overlaid with two interlocking music box samples.
After I had the basic thing up-and-running we headed down to southern Japan from Hokkaido and we spent a weekend at the Boland residence in Sugoshicho. CJ and myself put in a couple of long sessions on the music track with him doing most of the sound design work on his Kyma system and me kludging it all together.
I spent another couple of evenings working on it in my hotel room before CJ and I played live to the film at Gallery G-77 in Kyoto on Friday August 24.
The film’s next outing was at The Swansea Fringe on Friday October 5th at Cinema & Co. The visuals were identical but the soundtrack somewhat different as I didn’t have CJ’s ATV aFrame playing along.
Finally, when we were invited to contribute to 1SSUE 41, I stripped the soundtrack back down to its basics and rebuilt: it’s now very different from the Kyoto and Swansea live versions although still based around the same backbone of the train and music box loops. Most of CJ’s original parts survived the cut of course, and he also contributed two new sets, one in November 2018 and another in January 2019. [At this final stage I asked him for a few last-minute overdubs to patch up some remaining holes and he sent me 43 tracks of audio! What a guy…]
A few last minute tweaks to the movie itself—it’s amazing what you can overlook even when you’re watching the same thing over and over all day, weeks on end—and here we are. I hope you get something of value from it: