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A Little Space Visualized - Portrait of the Music as a Young Artist
By Ben Ohmart,

The collaboration between creator and listener has gained another collaborator. With the aid of composer/performer Alan Gruskoff, now the music itself speaks to us as an artist. No, we aren't getting into heavy semantics, nor is this a new marketing gimmick.

In this chronically visual world of ours, it was only a matter of time before music videos went one better. For those Windows users out there, you'll understand the principal of this new DVD, A Little Space Visualized, by switching on Windows' Media Player and watching the visualization come alive during whatever you're playing. That's the concept. But whereas Windows is more pulse-oriented - giving you colors and motions to the beat - ALSV goes far beyond that in several ways.

For those who remember the album A Little Space this DVD is based on, you'll remember that it's a collection of soulful, pop-based, jazz-influenced songs - some with vocals by Terrell Moran and some instrumentals - that are best listened to at night for the full flavor. Alan suggests you also watch the 'performances' with the lights off. He's right. The electric, electronic styles and computer-generated collages that stream and roll and explode like other-worldly fireworks take in the tone of the expressive bass-friendly tunes.

Obviously, flash and people and big budgets aren't the future of audio-visual realms. After all, isn't that why MTV branched into the dreck that is reality television?: the rocker video with its smoke and fast editing and rich, rich people prancing around is passe. Let the music have a chance to speak for itself for a change.

But just how is this magic accomplished? The music won't tell us, so Gruskoff answers that "each song file was played using a unique Visualization plug-in, (10) in Sonique and (2) in WinAMP media player software. The Visualization plug-ins are made freely available online by artists for the sheer joy of the eye candy. The output of the computer video was captured to a Digital Video camera, then imported into a DVD Authoring system to be synced up with the uncompressed Stereo Audio from the CD."

7 minute Streaming Video Preview
of excerpts from 4 of the 12 songs on
"A little space Visualized"

/

All of that took 2 weeks to arrange and record just the video components. The DVD Authoring took about 3 months, using the existing music which took about 9 months. "While fooling around with digital audio players (Sonique, WinAMP) I noticed some really interesting playback graphics that to me, assumed the 'life' of the musical content. I thought it would be interesting to have a whole album arranged this way. I was right."

So how did this whole notion come about? "I produced a rock single for a friend one day. At the end of the day, I sat him down in front of the monitor in a darkened room and played his song back with a most interesting Visualization, something he had never seen before. He said it was the greatest thing that ever happened to him, and that convinced me to pursue a Visualized album.

"It was a long process to match up maybe 20-30 Visualizations to see which best expressed the feel of the song. Each song uses a different Visualization plug-in and is recorded to DVD, as such they will always playback the exact same content. I can tell you that I constantly see things I never saw before on successive viewings."

Alan wants to do more of these albums, especially for the project he's doing now. "I came across some real interesting software a fella in my area produces that goes way past Visualizations. I would like to think we could do video project visualizations live in real time - audio fed into a computer outputting video, but we're not there yet. We may also pursue a real 5.1 mix."


* Genre: Jazz
* Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
* Website: alittlespace.biz
* Buy "A little space Visualized" Music DVD
* Contact a little space

Critics and audiences don't know about all this yet, though. It's only a matter of time. Soon we'll all be seeing this kind of property in Blockbuster and at college music and video stores. Right now you can secure a copy from The Orchard in NYC, its retail distributor. Both CD Street and CD Baby have units in stock at a nominal $12.99 for the DVD.

Alan: "While developed by and for artistically adventurous adults, children find it fascinating. Ask people this: 'When was the last time you listened to your favorite album, just sitting there staring at the speakers?' You will get a blank, confused look in return. This media is designed to be the audio and video in your environment. Now you can see what the music looks like."

Provided by the MusicDish Network. Copyright © Tag It 2004 - Republished with Permission

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