ASCII by Jason Scott

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The Strangest Music Videos —

I don’t know if it’s entirely public knowledge, and obviously it’s not like the concerts hand out programs with the full staff listing or anything, but for the past few years I’ve been the person who edits the videos that play in the background of MC Frontalot’s concerts, specifically the PAX events but usually anywhere he plays with the opportunity to put a video screen nearby. I started doing this a while after I shot the It Is Pitch Dark video for Front, and then it’s continued as songs have been added or deleted out of the rotation.

Unlike some bands that use a click track forced on the drummer (and sometimes other performers) to keep time with a video that they have to listen in headphones, Frontalot just prefers the video be sort of relevant to the song but untethered to the action. I think part of what has always interested me in this project is that this is a situation completely unlike my work with documentaries and short films, where I obsess over every frame, and sometimes even transition counts and individual syllables. The resulting works have to be offset by minutes and still have vague relevance to the music being played. They also have to be a few minutes longer than the song being played, so there’s always a guarantee they’ll still be doing “stuff” if the intro goes long or they play slower than usual for a reason.

Additionally, PAX will often cut out the footage completely, fading over to live cameras filming the performance. You’ll often get a glimpse of the video footage with no context and then it’ll fade again.

Since I don’t go to every PAX, I don’t often see the result of my work – looking on Youtube, and I can occasionally see the result: Here’s a montage of language videos played during Tongue-Clucking Grammarian, here’s It Is Pitch Dark which has additional footage from the taping session to pad it out, and this work during Shame of the Otaku has more screen time during the second half of the video.

They’re never meant to be the focus of the event, but support his lyrics or performance – they repeat footage and almost none of it is original footage, but youtube stuff scooped from everywhere.

It’s made me a better editor – breaking out of my own box and style to produce something completely off the wall really lets me get perspective on my “usual” approach to getting things right. And can it ever get better standing at one of these concerts knowing I’m a contributor to the stage show without anyone there knowing?

Frontalot’s performing at PAX on Friday, which means three or four new videos will make their debut. The new Frontalot album, Solved, has come out, and the man hasn’t lost a step in making some of the wildest nerdcore rap (with a strong, strong musical bent) after doing this for over a decade. It comes highly recommended.

Enjoy the show.

Categorised as: jason his own self

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