Our final roundup for 2014 features five videos which struck a chord with us this year. Coming from contexts as diverse as Yale University and the forests of Sweden, this suite of films are equal parts inspiring and illuminating. See how the power of the human voice and technology can coalesce into something beautiful, drool over Minilogue’s amazing arsenal of studio weaponry, or head off into the new year with some wise words on creativity from Ira Glass. Sit back, dim the lights, and enjoy the show!
1/ A.Squared Cover James Blake, A Capella
No matter if you’re into choirs or instrumental dance music, a capella performances touch something primal within us - those delicately interwoven strands of human voice weave and rise in patterns carved out by our ancient ancestors. Pity those ancestors didn’t have a copy of Live… Watch how Yale University vocal collective A.Squared use live looping, effects, and just their voices to turn James Blakes’ “Retrograde” into a choral chant for the 21st century.
Read the full interview to find out how it all works, from group member Jacob Reske.
2/ Minilogue’s Studio in the Forests of Malmö
This video led to one of this year’s biggest gear nerd freak outs. Minilogue’s mind-boggling array of vintage synths, effects pedals, rack effects and mixing boards, were enough to make any trainspotter weak at the knees. Add to this the fact that it’s all housed in a wood cabin in the forests of Scandinavia, and you’ve got a recipe for sensory overload. Yet this video goes a lot deeper than mere appearances; the duo have a holistic perspective on creativity that transcends the material mores of their tools.
Check the full article for more info and to find additional setup walk-through and live jam videos.
3/ Abayomi Shows Push Who’s Boss
Next up are two videos of in-house guru Jesse Abayomi taking Push to its limits. Abayomi runs through some of Push’s most powerful functions, using real-time drumming, step sequencing, macro-effects controls and sample slicing to perform his recent track “Chemistry”. Lucky for us, in the second video he shows how it’s all done, so you can get about mangling your own ideas over the holiday break.
Head over to the full article to watch a walk-through where Jesse breaks down the process of constructing his Live Set especially for Push.
4/ Kawehi Covers Nirvana’s “Heart-shaped Box”
Here’s another great example of how the voice and modern technology can open new angles on old perspectives. “Heart-shaped Box” is one of Nirvana’s most elegiac and gut-wrenching tracks, and here Kawehi sculpts it into something fresh using live looping and re-pitched samples.
5/ Ira Glass on Closing the Creative Gap
We’re ending this selection on something of an uplifting note. If you’ve ever felt like your creative dreams stretch too far from your talents, then this short film is for you. This video adds a vivid, tactile edge to a monologue by radio show host Ira Glass, which explains how vital a period of struggle and dedication are to any aspiring creative. Don’t let those tribulations get to you - it’s all part of becoming the artist you’ve always held inside.