Sunday, May 20, 2018

VHS Review:
Slow Normals
[PART 1]

$15 //
Edition of 13 // //

When this VHS begins there are distorted people in the country and then this electronic looping behind it.   The music tends to come in quieter, ambient in ways and there are images to put with it.   The second sequence, for example, appears to be in a church and then we have these houses as if recorded while walking down a street taped over other images which don't really line up but make for a great combined visual    The audio side of it can become minimal as well, to the point where it is almost non-existant and you must focus on the images.

The thing about these visuals as well is that they look as if they've been taken through an old school camcorder- the type you'd actually put a VHS tape into- and if Slow Normals didn't record this all, then it was likely found through old home movies and such which is just amazing.   I've seen videos before- VHS tapes- where it would say like "Tommy, 8th Grade Recital" on it, most of them were free but I never really watched them.   I like how this has the sounds with the images for certain though.

Someone with long hair and a goatee* dressed nicely comes in and says to "bear with us" and we go into this full on vaporwave type of scene with a song that matches it.   Kids are playing in the snow now.   A woman's face is layered over the snow and I'm not sure what they're doing to her mouth but the jungle beats and banging makes me feel like she's having dental surgery done.   This is wild.  There are layers of different colors over most everything, but at the times when there aren't, there are times and dates like from that old camcorder I mentioned before.

This is definitely a trip and I don't know how many screenshots I should take out of here to use because it seems like it might alter the experience for you.  (And by screenshots I mean me literally taking photos with my phone of the television, as this is a VHS and cannot be played through my laptop)    Two women are on the beach.   A triangle brings out music which sounds like something straight out of the 1980's, like Phil Collins.    It's so different to actually have these images moving while you're listening to music rather than having to conjure them up in your head by yourself.   The difference between a book and a movie I suppose.

I think things like "Could you somehow rip this into a music video, something you could upload to YouTube so people without VCRs could see it", but the thing of it is that this is six hours on a VHS tape.   If you're not down for the spilled oil colors look with electronic glitch looping on the VCR then you're really not down for it.    I have a DVD/VCR combo I could never seem to part with (Even when I didn't have a television) because the VCR side of it worked.  Now that I've had a television for a few months, I'm glad I kept it because it has certainly been proven useful.

A deer is in the woods in black and white, circa 1998.   Someone is talking about 9/11 I think.   The images are sped up, as if they are in fast forward.   This whole thing makes me wonder if Slow Normals has a lot of editing gear for VCRs which would've cost thousands of dollars upon original release but now you could likely score at a tag sale or such for much, much less.    To create these images and match them with the music is something I could never do, so right away I have that respect simply for the craft.

As the fish swim by in one of those "make your tv seem like an aquarium" ideas, the music which brings out some soul and quite a bit of glitch just makes me feel like Slow Normals is really stepping it up a level from other artists.   Granted, I'm not opposed to listening to music and forming my own visuals for it in any way, but being able to sync up the two for the listener takes a level of skill that I don't feel many would possess. 

And the music... I mean, this is making this electronic rhythm now which is really pumping me up amidst the rainbow swirled colors.   This is rather trippy and just as I say that waves come in like we're going to surf and then it's everyone's best friend: the FBI Warning.   Business men in hardhats make me think this was some kind of training video until I see a lot of people exercising and then I think it's more of an instructional video or something to try and get you to go on vacation there.   It's called "City Workout" and there is an 800 number someone should call.

Through this drilling static drone comes a classroom where people are entering anf leaving a room.   I really enjoy how this is layered visually but even seeing one of the layers at this point might be amusing because the 1990's was a funny time.   Much like I would say music of this nature (the droning, the crackling, etc.) is best fit for cassette it seems it also works on VHS to the extent that if this was on DVD it wouldn't feel the same or perhaps even sound the same.   It's not that crisp and modern feel as much as something older and raw and I dig the hell out of that as well.   Especially when it feels as if we are back under the sea and the static is spraying out loudly.

Even when the music cuts out and we have to see a woman eating the images still tell the story.   Drum machines and blissed out tones bring on vocals which sound like they're saying "Round Two" but I don't think they are.  This is all over some kid playing baseball even though the words then tell us about the lotto and our local Mazda dealer.   It appears to be a glitch version of the news now.  Is Frostproof, Florida a real place?  That's a funny name if so.   I really want to feel like this is a video game and he's saying "Round Two" though.   Flying Logos should be a band name though.

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