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MFT Music Video in a Day #1: Chicago Bulls Hat's "Criticize"
Posted August 08, 2014 by Taylor Peters

I'm sure by now that if you're anything like a loyal fan of Musical Family Tree, you're familliar with our EP in a Weekend Project. If you're not familiar, I trust you can suss out what it is from its name: we throw a few good musicians in a room together with a good engineer, we bait them with snacks, and we see what cool stuff they can come up with over the course of the weekend. The most recent edition was called The Immortal Hermaphrodite, and it featured John Dawson, Ben Lumsdaine, Scott Schmadeke, and Dani Graf. Read about it here. No really. Do it. 

 

Anyhow, if, regarding the EP in a Weekend project you've ever thought to yourself, "It would be super cool if maybe you did it in a day instead of a weekend, and if you maybe did a music video instead of an EP, and--I know this is a long shot--but what if you got BrainTwins to do it?", then you, you thinker of very specific thoughts, are in luck today. As per the title of this post, I have the unique pleasure of announcing unto you the new Musical Family Tree Music Video in a Day series. Since I already buried the lede over a paragraph deep, I'll go ahead and embed the video, and then just yammer on about it after.

 

 

So, Chicago Bulls Hat. I do not believe there exists a better subject for the very first Music Video in a Day series in Indiana. Over about half a million releases (literally), the guy has built up this sort of minimalism divorced from narrative. It's music made of space, like a room, a museum with no tour guide. Nothing in it insists on any one interpretation or approach. Looping beats and sounds and clicks and clangs and you and the meat between your ears is bascially all there is. 

 

This then is why the music is aching not only to be set to some video, but to be set to a video that was made as near to improvisatorily as possible: it's all about the gut reaction takeaway. "Criticize" comes from CBH's super recent and super great Chipotle Glock, a small, almost tiny, collection of tracks that sound and feel different every time I hear them. In my car it lonely to the max, at home on the couch, somehow revelatory. It's mostly all simple pieces--broken sounding loops of pianos, voices, drums--but they somehow puzzle into each other at just the right angle that a whole huge field of, something like "meaning" or "emotional resonance" cracks right open.

 

As it happens, Mr. Bulls Hat has taken temporarily taken Chipotle Glock down in order to remaster it. You can listen to last year's equally excellent Weakened State below.

 

 

But like I said, nothing is nailed down, and the pleasure comes from the endless stringy iterations of nailed downedness that individual listener can generate for the stuff. And as such, the music video thing fits so perfectly, especially when people as skilled as BrainTwins--i.e. Jessica Dunn and Justin Shimp--are pulling the strings. It sets down one individual iteration in that chain for all of us to ogle. And doing it in one day heightens that: the response is more from instinct than anything else. 

 

The particular visuals that BrainTwins went with are lovely. It's all psychedelic swirl, occasional facial recognition, and dark. The visuals seem to drift in and out of sync with the music, shifting on backbeats here and there, sometimes picking up elements from the track--the word "criticize" itself floats in and out of focus, riding a crest of spinning color. And throughout there are these shadowy figures that'll haunt your dreams. They're just figures too, almost no bodily shape to them at all. Like the music itself, you've got to imagine your own shape and project it onto them; are they threatening or friendly? 

 

Keep your eyes perpetually peeled and pointed in the direction of this here blog for upcoming developments in this series. 

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