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[Premiere] Feedback Becomes Art in This Lo-Fi Music Video

Feedback "jamming" on a video mixer sets the groundwork for a deep-dive into the dreamy electronic vibes of Steve Hauschildt's "Anesthesia."

by DJ Pangburn
Sep 8 2015, 1:25pm

Screencaps via

Like his former bandmates in Emeralds, Steve Hauschildt hit the ground running after the experimental electronic trio’s collapse. But, really, he’d been working on his own solo electronic music all along. In anticipation of his forthcoming album Where All Is Fled (out September 25th on Kranky), The Creators Project premieres Hauschildt's new music video, “Anesthesia."

The song, with its beautiful Tangerine Dream-meets-Brian Eno electronic textures and subtle percolating percussion, is matched with Cleveland-based artist Leigh Silverblatt’s experimental animations. Somewhat in the vein of Sabrina Ratte’s analog video work, Silverblatt’s visuals are full of lo-fi computer animations that feature patterns, shapes, motions, and virtual landscapes floating in and out of frames that resemble VHS tape-quality resolution.

Silverblatt started working with computer animation, programming, and projection mapping about three years ago while at university. Her work is influenced by artists such as Toshio Matsumoto, Jordan Belson, Rudie Berkhout, Nicholas Sassoon, Sarah Ludy, Sabrina Ratte and Brenna Murphy; as well as SIGGRAPH videos found on YouTube and early CGI animations like Stanley & Stella in: Breaking the Ice, an influence that can be seen in the “Anesthesia” video.

Silverblatt started with a series of short clips she recorded via “jamming” feedback on a video mixer. These feedback clips comprise some of the structural elements in the video. Many of the objects and settings found in the video were created with 3D modeling software. Silverblatt used physics simulators and random algorithms within this software to animate the 3D objects, then used time remapping to sync the video with Hauschildt’s song.

“The video for ‘Anesthesia’ was basically intended to serve as my visual interpretation of the song, more than a straightforward narrative,” Silverblatt tells The Creators Project. “It was created intuitively and was not really anything premeditated although I did want to link it back to the album artwork that we worked on together for Where All Is Fled. I was interested in creating a feeling of being immersed in liquid and then emerging from it. I tried to draw parallels between the layers of sound and layers of video clips.”

Hauschildt says that Silverblatt has been creating videos for his live performances for years, both in Europe and elsewhere. He’s been “infatuated” with motion graphics, computer animation, and video art, for the better part of a decade. Hauschildt is greatly inspired by the work of Denise Gallant, especially the 34-minute film Satellite from 1986, which he recommends for fans of “lysergic science fiction.”

Hauschildt is also a fan of Laser Quantum L by video synth pioneer Bill Etra, creator of the Rutt/Etra effect; Nicole Stenger's surreal POPUREVE 3D animations; and Vertigo Video’s music video work for Italian ambient musician Alessandro Pizzin. So it makes perfect sense that these early computer animation styles would make their way into his live projections and music videos.

“I'm always interested to see how [Leigh] interprets my songs into a visual representation and I feel like it is a great foil sometimes,” Hauschildt tells The Creators Project. “We also spent a lot of time working on the artwork for the new album and so having her do the video was a natural extension of some of the work we had already been exploring together.”

Hauschildt says he was involved on the video’s conceptual side, but didn’t create any visual material. The only areas he wanted visually addressed were the song’s timeline and various cues.

“Part of my job is to will things to happen even if they seem like they're impossible to achieve,” Hauschildt says. “I have a natural disposition to direct and sometimes I can be pretty harsh or blunt if I don't care for something. But to be honest, collaborations should not be a friendly or a safe thing. Epiphanies can come from conflict and disagreements and one need only look at Herzog and Kinski's notorious relationship to see this.”

Steve Hauschildt's Where All Is Fled comes out September 25th on Kranky. Click here for more on the artist.

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