Andrew and I chose videos which had an impact on us while making the record. The video selection was pretty easy for us as a few of the videos were inspirational to the recording process itself. In general though, we wanted the videos to reflect where we have come from both musically and as people and I think these six videos do that extremely well.
R Kelly, “Trapped in the Closet” (Synced and Played at Once)
Andrew showed me this song while we were mixing the record. I had no clue what I was listening to at first and then he asked our engineer to take it off the small monitors and put them on the big ones. It's important to note these big monitors are about three feet tall so the room immediately filled up with R. Kelly's voice and I was enraptured. Something about all the vocals stacked on each other creates a hypnotic rhythm that was unbelievably powerful. I suppose my brain feels at home with all of these competing voices because of my experiences at Jesus Camp. At the end of a Jesus Camp service, people would go to the front of the church (what they call the altar) and they'd raise their hands and start speaking in tongues. You'd have 50+ people all speaking at once but with different cadences/rhythms—it would become hypnotic. The song was a major emotional inspiration for me during the mixing because those experiences, while extremely traumatic, were instrumental in my listening to music. The song gave me a perspective that helped me understand why I am the way I am and that felt important to making/mixing the record.
Kirk Franklin & The Family, “Why We Sing”
As I said before, I was raised not just religious, but also charismatic—which means lots of emotion during the service. After I left that world and no longer believed, I was still curious why those services were so powerful and I think this video displays the answer—the music! When we started working on this new record, I loosely wanted to make a gospel record without the gospel and this video was a huge inspiration for that. Specifically, the chorus of “Make it Right” was inspired by this video. During the tracking of the record, I'd lay on the ground and close my eyes and get into an emotional state that was very raw. At times I'd listen to the song two or three times in a row and once I felt compelled, I'd go ahead and record a take. It was a powerful emotional experience and I think it was crucial to my drumming on that song as well as the record.
“Mike Bureal organ solo.”
This is my favorite organ video in the world. I love everything about it. First, I love what he's actually playing. To me it's this perfect mixture of old and new. Classic theater pipe organ impressionist colors mixed with dense modern glacial slinky voicings. I love this combination, and it definitely inspired a lot of our newest album. And the melody is played super singsong-y. Second, I love how the organ sounds in that space. Just the right mix of reverb and delay bouncing off the walls. Third, I love the reaction of the crowd. There's this fireworks-sigh awe that blends with what the organ is doing in this beautiful way. I can watch this video over and over and I wind up wanting to watch it again.
Oneohtrix Point Never, “Replica”
This song and this video make my heart strain. I've driven across whole Western states with this song on repeat. It's super transportive to me. There's so much melancholic want in this song, and I think the video accompanies that so well. I love Oneohtrix's reuse of sound, and I think the video is the perfect reuse of visuals. There are these wonderful instances of slow strain, like when the motorcycle won't start but he keeps on trying, that break my heart every time. There's a good deal of soft strain on our new album, and this song and video were on my mind while we were making it.
Mary J. Blige, “Band Clowning”
This video inspired a lot of the vocal manipulation on the record. While these guys are for the most part just having fun here, there are these moments of emotional and technical elegance from this video that burrowed into our hearts, and stayed there, while we were making the new album. I think we had a much closer idea of how emotional vocal manipulation can actually be after having seen this. And I think of this video super often while we play our new album live.
Ottorino Respighi, “The Sunset”
There was a good deal of drawing from the color and energy of early 20th-century classical composers on the new album. One of the composers was Respighi. I'm particularly fond of his piece, “The Sunset”. On songs like “Gone My Love” and “River” you can hear his influence on moments of small strings sweeps and collapsing vocal lines. I really like how Respighi holds down the bottom of a churning chord while he lets its arms flail in the air.
Pattern Is Movement's self-titled album is out now on Home-Tapes.