About 3 months ago, Claude Munson approached me between sets at one of his shows. He pulled me close and whispered in my ear, “I want to make a video”.
We had been loosely discussing the possibility of collaborating on a video for about a year. Claude wanted the timing to be right, he wanted a video to pave the way for his Self Titled Debut “Claude Munson & The Storm Outside”. The time came and Driftwood is that video.
Claude provided the rough stems from the album and I listened to each track and wandered visually though the lyrics and themes. Initially we discussed a concept for Dreamdance, the album finale, but Claude eventually decided on something much more adventurous, much more in tune with the albums overarching feel and tone; a stop motion animation for the album’s entre-vous; Driftwood.
Once we decided on the song and medium, the fun was to create the story, something conceptually in tune with Claude’s lyrics and the underlying emotions inherent in the song.
What you see in the video is just that; a story riddled with literal and very symbolic elements. The boy, the town, the sea and the conflict, have multiple readings, your own, and cues that point to very universal ideas, but also to local and personal experiences for the artist.
The act of creating this story was extremely synchronistic; testaments to the unspoken understandings artists have with one other. It was amazing how much my own reading of the song and the resulting ideas, reflected an abstraction and affirmation of Claude’s inner-creative universe. When that happens you feel a special artistic bond with someone. This is also a testament to the song and songs on the album; stories that connect inner and outer worlds spun by a very talented singer-storyteller-songwriter.
The evolution of the song from an idea, to its tangible mappings, has to be attributed to Ariane Beauchamp, the visual artist and creative force behind the videos visual aesthetic and the album art that inspired it. Beauchamp created every asset you see in the video. She combined Claude’s lyrics with our visual treatment to birth a world that undoubtedly had been tucked away in her mind long before our meeting.
The settings, characters and decorative elements kept coming each time we met throughout pre-production. The speed and detail of Ariane’s work is a marvel, unrestrained and seemingly in the-moment. I believe her uninhibited artistry reflects something we should all strive for in our art; a spontaneous and honest expulsion of ideas that keep things moving rather than slow things down.
The video was shot and produced in Ariane’s art studio in Ottawa Canada; a meca of craft supplies, paintings and knick-knacks. If we needed crab claws all we had to do was look.
The production of the video consisted of taking approximately 15,000 images resulting in a 5min video. With each image taken, Ariane, Claude and myself would assign sections of the frame and begin moving elements. None of us had done stop motion before and there was a fair amount of trail and error involved in the process. I feel the end result reflects an experimental process in which three artists dared to do something outside of the comfort zone of their respective art forms; something that succeeds on many levels. We shot the video over the course of 4 days, spending about 4-6 hours each day moving art across large scale versions of Ariane’s vista work.
Like most videos these days, Driftwood will find itself online. It’s journey begins this Friday December 14th @ claudemunson.com and then we hope it stows away to the many lands our digital village has to offer.
Craig Allen Conoley
Director of Driftwood
Owner and Head of Productions @ Partus Films
THE SOULJAZZ ORCHESTRA
In anticipation of their first world tour and new album, Souljazz approached us with an idea. The result is Conquering Lion, a low fi analog performance video emulating a 70′s aesthetic and nostalgically transporting us back to the time when the zoom and lens flair were current and popular.
From The Souljazz Orchestra’s Official Website
“Canada’s hardest-working super-group, the Souljazz Orchestra, have been perfecting their signature sound for over a decade now: a percussive explosion of Soul, Jazz, Afro, Latin and Caribbean rhythms, driven by majestic horn-drenched melodies, all backed by an arsenal of overheated primitive keyboards.
The multicultural collective returns at full throttle this year with Solidarity, a dynamite new collaborative album released by UK-based Strut Records, featuring a range of unique artists connected to the group through Canada’s vibrant underground scene, yet hailing from a variety of backgrounds, from Senegal to Brazil to Jamaica and beyond. These guests were the catalyst for memorable artistic exchange, where the group remained rooted in rhythmically rich musical traditions of the past, but kept their eyes firmly on the future, pushing the boundaries of Soul, Jazz and Tropical styles with a fresh set of heavyweight new songs, unified by an underlying message of positive social change.
Now celebrating their 10th year, the Souljazz Orchestra continue their impressive run of memorable albums. Breaking through on Toronto label Do Right!, Freedom No Go Die (2006, featuring the huge single ‘Mista President’) and Manifesto (2008) set the bar high. Rising Sun (2010), their first album with Strut Records, was subsequently recognized as a landmark in deep, spiritual Afro Jazz. Meanwhile, as a live unit, years of relentless touring have formed the Ottawa-based combo into an in-demand fixture at venues and festivals worldwide.”
LINE-UP (from left to right)
Philippe Lafrenière – drums, percussion, vocals
Zakari Frantz – alto saxophone, flute, percussion, vocals
Pierre Chrétien – vintage keyboards, percussion, vocals
Ray Murray – baritone saxophone, percussion, vocals
Marielle Rivard – percussion, vocals
Steve Patterson – tenor saxophone, percussion, vocals
The Ottawa Gatineau area is burgeoning with artistic talent. Every day marks a progression forward. From art’s collectives like The Place Machine and The Enriched Bread Artist’s, to emerging record labels like Up & Up Music and E-tron, city wide slam teams, dancers, photographers and filmmakers, The Synthesis Series will be interviewing the people and projects pushing Ottawa’s arts scene forward.
MEHDI CAYENNE CLUB
“There is something special when you start from zero”, Usman Ali told me while in post on the new Mehdi Cayenne video. I couldn’t agree more! O Canada is a true experiment in the creation of vernacular art. Aside from the Spruce Hallway and a short looping projection, everything that happened between those walls was unscripted and streaming from 0. The randomness of the action is designed to evoke a sentiment residing in Mehdi’s music, decoded by Ali and articulated through each subject. The result is something like a child spontaneously erupting in dance, or a random tune formulated in the privacy of a shower.
Director: Usman Ali Khan
Director of Photography, Cam Op & Editor: Craig Allen Conoley
Emmy Lu Hillman
Usman Ali Khan
Emmanuel “Nég Féy” Printemps
Amanda contacted us about shooting a live off the floor version of “Better Days Ahead” and we quickly jumped at the opportunity to work with one of Ottawa’s most talented and rising artists. Tony Raybould, drummer and long time friend, offered up his farm for our February shoot. The sun, hay dust and cold air made for a visually stunning environment that you couldn’t have planned for. A big thank you goes out to the band that braved the cold and my trusted friend Luca Fiore for his skills on the sound stick!
In Clarke Mackey’s book “Random Acts of Culture: Reclaiming Art and Community in The 21st Century”, he outlines 4 interesting distinctions about vernacular culture:
1. YOU HAVE TO BE THERE – It is about process rather than product and is highly context dependent.
2. IT’S NEVER THE SAME WAY TWICE – Repetition and variation is privileged over exact replication.
3. ANYBODY CAN DO IT – All present are expected to participate. Completely passive spectators are distrusted.
4. IT’S NOT FOR SALE – The moment is useless as a commodity and in that moment, it is not for sale.
With these elements in mind, we constructed a vernacular experience for Rita, The Choir and the spectators. Taking the song to the streets in the form of a musical field trip, unknowing of where, who and what we would encounter, we created a communal experience some may say intrusive and others affective. Acting like a roaming flash mob, we forced the public to look up and outward from the vector based world. It’s interesting to note the number of spectators who chose not to experience the moment in the moment, but rather held up their I-Phone, distancing themselves from the real, ourselves included.
Genocide is not social activism, a documentary or a music video….It’s all three!
Enjoy The Experience!
ERIN SAOIRSE ADAIR
Erin has become a prominent and popular voice in the local Ottawa folk scene, and has garnered accolades for her bluesy, accessible and deeply relevant messages. Inspired by poets such as Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson and Sylvia Plath, by songwriters such as Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell, and by contemporary composers such as Igor Stravinsky, and Yann Tiersen, Adair’s music is a unique blend.
Erin Saoirse Adair’s songs reflect the influence of folkloric traditions in her music and though her musical arrangements are complex, Adair’s goal on stage is to tell a story. Over the past few months, she has been earnestly writing, polishing, and performing new songs and is now working towards the release of her debut album in the fall of 2012. Founder and part of feminist folk trio Three Little Birds, Adair is a strong collaborator, and the group recently released their debut CD with the help of Dean Watson of Gallery Studios. She has performed recently with Three Little Birds in many venues including features at Ottawa University’s Frosh Week, and the Ontario Conference for Folk Festivals. She has also performed with the Young Griot Collective at the National Library and Archives, Jean-Paul Samputu at the Rwandan Cultural Showcase, and has featured at Little Voice Big Sound, Springfest, and Women’s World 2011, a global feminist conference.
For more on Erin visit: