Videopunks – “H4XOr5” Recording Day 0

There’s a lot going on, all the time. Lots of ideas, lots of neat things to do, lots of great ‘art jokes’ to put into the world.

Here’s one of them.

Vinny Videopunk & I are making an All-Hardware Jungle album, that’s also a live-score/rescoring for the VHS version of the movie. Ultimately, it’ll be 3 different versions. . . One is a Digital Release of 8 finished, dancefloor-ready jungle tunes, one is an hour long VHS release of the movie Hackers with our score throughout (16ish tracks worth) WITH the Dialog & Score intact, and one is a C60 Cassette of that score, minus the dialog & sfx.

We’ve been talking about it for months. . . and yesterday was our first day of recording.

Unfortunately. . . we didn’t make it into the studio.

BUT. . . that’s ok. Here’s a little bit about the process of the project, and how we’re going to really freak this thing out.

First up, preparing the VHS for performance.

The soundtrack to the movie Hackers is widely available, in various formats, and is FUCKING AWESOME. Finding that movie when I did was EXTREMELY FORMATIVE FOR ME, and has routinely shaped & reshaped my approach to a lot of things. It’s also goofy as FUCK, and I highly recommend.

If you’re trying to rescore a film, having the music present is hassle. Getting versions of the film WITHOUT score is nearly impossible for scrubs like you & me, so the next best thing is to drop it into ProTools to line up all the music, and then use the following Inversion tricks to remove the music automagically. I’m a videopunk, not a fucking wizard, so someday I’ll have to get Vinny Videopunk on video to explain how he did it. It looks something like this:

Full Disclosure: As of 12/26/22, this is 100% theoretical, and we haven’t done this yet.

Once we have the soundtrack removed, it comes back to me for my magic.

First up is Scene Edit Detection.

From there, I can rip through the entire movie on a timeline, easily identify/colorcode scenes, and condense the entire 107 minute film into roughly 60 minutes (I have a feeling we’re going to lose a lot of Fisher Stevens, sorry bro). Again, purely theoretical, but we’ll see what shakes.

Going into the album, we’ve agreed on a tempo (170 bpm, if you’re curious), and thusly I have a 170bpm Click track that I will manually retime the ENTIRE film to (using the Rate Stretch Tool in Premiere).

Why retime the whole movie to 170, you ask? Because we’re mad fucking scientists, and we’re going to put an FSK midi clock across the whole fucking movie for live performances.

I haven’t really talked about the GOAL of this thing yet. . . not only are we trying to do two different physical releases AND a digital release (with subsequent single/stem digital releases), but I want to book a TOUR. That tour would be 2x MC-101’s (my Drum Machine of choice), but also a Mitsubishi MD3000, all run to DI’s. Hi-Fi VHS is Stereo, so if you hard pan your Movie to one channel, and your Midi Timeclock to the other channel, you can feed midi timeclock to your Drum Machines, which will not only stay in sync with the movie, but each other.

So, yeah. 2 drum machines, a VCR, and a 60 minute live jam. Ideally, i’d like this to be the first in a Trilogy of bootleg VHS release, across the next 3 years. . . but we’ll see what sort of legal hurdles/logistical hurdles impede us. I’d love to do Johnny Mnemonic next, and I’m pretty unsure what the third one could be. . . maybe Virtuosity? All three movies were released in 1995. . . there’s something special about that, I think.

I’m going to do my best to post random notes from the entire creation of this project, warts & all, so I can have a record of everything that went down in these sessions. We’re tracking all 8 tracks for the digital release this week, so we can really get a handle on the MC-101 to ProTools workflow (32-64 bar loops, recorded directly into ProTools, with arrangement & mixing happening “in-the-box“), then removing all the music, preparing for trimming, and finally recording our live score for the VHS release (performed live in our studio).