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Long Time No See. Here's What's Up.

I guess it’s going to be this way where we work on an After-Death Plan album then flood the inter-webs while promoting said album then disappear to work on new material. Like any artist, I have a strange relationship with social media. Being actively involved on these sites changes what I put out in my daily writing. When removed from hundreds of scrolling thoughts of others, my own thoughts change to sociopolitical overviews, literature, science, and the wood wide web: flowers producing nectar at the buzz of a bee, vibratory immune responses from grain exposed to mid range frequencies,... I like a good punch line but pretending that examination ruins a party just reminds me of an allegory like Satan ruling over the oblivious.

Then there’s the research on notifications and likes producing dopamine and rewiring the brain’s pleasure center a bit. Mostly, sharing music becomes an obligation. A chore of pinning sensitive pieces at cunning angles in multiple places at the right times so they can flap in the wind to dryly desensitize. It’s good to take breaks.


Anyway, After-Death Plan wrote a bunch of new material which is dangling around in all forms of wait. One of the bigger projects we worked on was the video for a song called Secret Heartbeat.

The concept started from reports that scientists have determined that trees move their branches ever-so-slowly to circulate water like a blood pressure system. We tied this crucial aid in the cycling of this planet's water supply to folklore accounts of human methods to invoke rain and bring water back down from the sky; when mankind’s communion with nature, even for magic or religion, was more direct and often the oldest groves were the most sacred places. Most cultures have unique accounts of rainmaking rituals though you can see patterns in the human attempts to commune and communicate with nature. This is in our DNA.

For the video, I hand-stitched a costume of leaves to portray a type of dodula, a person enshrouded in a veil of living green. This figure (we call Leafy) goes throughout various natural settings performing acts to signal to nature and/or a higher power to bring down the rain.

We shot one scene on a landing by Alum Creek at Nelson Park at then end of October to capture the vibrant color of the fall trees reflected in the water. As a nod to the Mara tribe of Northern Australia, Leafy sings a magic song over a body of water and spits out water to imitate rain. Imitative magic. Leafy also touches on rituals of Ancient Europeans, dipping stones (later crosses), branches, plants, branches, and effigies of saints in the stream, attempting to communicate with nature or god to provide the water needed for survival. We were fortunate enough to run out there a second time during a torrential downpour and shoot the final scene, enlisting Fritz to don the Leafy costume while we worked quickly under umbrellas and tarps.

Another location we use is the beautiful Tall Pines at Walnut Woods to nod to a rainmaking ritual from a village near Dorpat, Russia in which men climbed the tall fir-trees of a sacred grove to imitate thunder by hammering, imitate lightening with sparks, and imitate rain by sprinkling water.

These scenes are inter-cut with performance footage of After-Death Plan performing the song Secret Heartbeat. We originally wanted to capture the performance footage in a natural setting. That prolonged things and we ended up shooting in our living room; removing the furniture, blacking out the windows with contractor bags, and hanging rented backdrops around the room. We convinced our friend Eric to run the gimbal when Costa, George, and I ran through the song. George recently incorporated a midi drum machine into his kit and programmed some very cool parts, including a sound with Godzilla roaring in the background.


In our first round of videos last year, we were familiarizing ourselves with video-making concepts such as lenses, lights, editing, etc, jumping in with both feet after purchasing a used DSLR camera, a lopsided tripod, and a borrowed lens. There was not much in the way of movement or lens selection.

Because of an ensemble grant from GCAC, we were able to acquire a Ronin-S gimbal to experiment with movement as well as change lenses depending on the vision of the shot, and purchase an actual tripod to eliminate the frustration of balancing shots in post so every move can render for two hours. It is painstaking to edit on this system with a laptop that has a teeny tiny bit of memory and cannot be upgraded. That does make us plan our shots better beforehand but at some point we’ll have to consider lessons learned and either upgrade or find an editor.

Our social media plea to find a finishing editor and colorist.

No luck. Perhaps people don't really see your page posts unless you post like clockwork or you pay FB to boost them.


Finally, here's an excerpt from the video for Secret Heartbeat. Pretend it's high res and the colors are sorted out. Thanks for reading, virtual hugs, and stay safe <3

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