Coyote Mercury

words, birds and whatever else by James Brush

26 January (Videopoem)

 

This is a video I made from “26 January” a poem from Dave Bonta’s excellent Ice Mountain: An Elegy. Dave releases his poetry under a creative commons license, which makes this sort of thing possible. I plan to review the book (and several) others in some future posts–more on that later.

I stumbled on this footage on the ESA/Hubble site while working on Aurora is the effort, and it immediately made me think of Ice Mountain, which I then went back and reread. The ice age reference in the last lines and the fact that “26 January” is one of the more linear poems seemed like a fit for the 1-shot video I imagined.

The footage is an artist’s conception of Pluto, an icy world, apparently lifeless, that resonated for me with the sense of loss and environmental themes that undergird much of Ice Mountain.

For the music, I wanted something that sounded sharp (not musically sharp but sharp as in pointy like icicles) and crystalline with delayed echoes. I decided to try to do the audio myself, so I used my guitar and garage band with some pedal and amp sims that gave me the sound I wanted and then tried to play along with the video I had made. This was my first time trying to score live, and I did multiple takes until I felt it was right. Afterwards, I mixed two of the takes together until it sounded the way I imagined it. I really liked this aspect of it, and plan to do more in the future.

Do check out the other Ice Mountain-related videos on Dave’s site by Marie Craven and Swoon. And thanks to Dave for making his work available like this.

2 Comments

  1. Thanks again, James! Good to get this insight into your thought process. I’ll be linking soon.

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