Archive | April, 2013

LIBYTHTH – It’s My Beak

30 Apr

Break out the casio and the drum machine!

Moog Sub Phatty | Flying Lotus | New Machine For Living

29 Apr

“Best synth-ad ever”

Psychdelic Video Games – The Manifold Connections Between Video Games And All Things Psychedelic

28 Apr

For its 3rd birthday the DPV is featuring a series of psychedelic videos specials which will run between the 22 and the 28 of April 2013. Stay tuned for more of our psychedelic specials.

One could argue that video games were open to the strange influence of psychedelic culture from the very beginning. While the very first examples of worlds that video games sketched for you to stage your play might look a bit “sober” (i.e. an oscilloscope tennis court in “Tennis for Two” and the profound loneliness of a radar screen for “Spacewar!“)… it certainly did not take a long time or a lot of convincing for them to move on to flashy, colorful and impossible spaces full of crazy rules and even more crazy things to do. From the late 70’s and early 80’s on, video games started aiming for abstract colorful visualizations and “out there” experiences.


Plasma Pong: Curiouser and curiouser… one of the classics of video game history (Pong) fused visually and gameplay-wise with a lava lamp.

But psychedelic culture entered the realm of video games not only on the level visuals and spatial logics but also through the semantic layer.
Everybody remembers Pac-Man, right. The yellow disc dropping tons of pills in a paranoid race with some ghosts through an endless labyrinth of neon lit nights.
It might not be stretching things to far if we see a certain metaphor of intoxication in place, when Pac-Man needs bigger pills to overcome his fear of the ghosts.


Pac-Man: drug abuse, paranoia, hangover, fruit cocktails, pressure to perform at peak level all the time under the bleakest of circumstances, you name it… yep, sounds like the myth of the 80’s to me

But it was the italo-japanese plumber Mario who brought maybe the first, but certainly the most popular reference to a classic of psychedelic culture into the realm of video game culture: eat the mushroom and you will grow – this might change your attributes in a way that enables you to overcome the crazy problems you will face in this world. Ring a bell? This is one of the first rules Mario learns on his adventure through the strange mushroom kingdom.


Super Mario Galaxy 2: Since the very first Mario game it has always been a pleasure to check out the physics and just play around with them. But Galaxy and it’s successor took the exploration of physics and space to another level.

And this might be one of the deepest bonds between the two cultures: the adventure where nothing is certain, where you have to learn everything anew, from walking to the many ways space can be connected.


Octodad: It is all about experiencing everyday life anew…

But while there certainly is this deep inner connection between the cultures, there is also a certain contradiction between the two. It becomes visible as soon as you take a closer look at games that explicitly try to simulate the experience of a trip. Those games are often a pain to play, the controls are awkward, you don’t know what you are supposed to do next; and while all of this might be part of the design, it sometimes ends up being more of an experience of frustration than of experimentation and playful curiosity and freedom.


LSD Dream Emulator: exploration of the weird for the sake of the exploration of the weird.

So how do you simulate the freedom and experimental attitude together with the fluidity of experience that is so much fun in a good trip? On a good trip you never have to ask yourself what you got to do to keep it going…

I guess that some game designers must have asked themself this very question, because in some of the best examples of trippy video games they have found very interesting answers that actually work in favor of a fluid experience that keeps your curiosity going.
In REZ your freedom of movement seems to be rather limited. The game uses the framework of a rail shooter. You are floating down a tunnel in a predetermined way so you don’t have to ask yourself: where am I going next, what do I have to do to keep this trip going. The conventional setting of the rail shooter helps providing a fluent stream of experience and while it limits your freedom of movement it gives you the freedom to enjoy the ever-changing trippy sound and visuals.
But REZ got another card up its sleeve: while you are engaged with marking patterns of enemies, you discover that this interaction with the game’s world does have an unexpected effect on your experience: the music (and parts of the visuals) evolves around your decision-making. The whole game world throbs and pulses to the beat and you keep adding sounds to this sensual whole by marking and shooting enemies. So while the game seemed to limit you at first it ends up transcending the usual player vs. preset game world opposition.
The game’s aim to offer you an experience of synesthesia is clearly informed by motives that have been established by psychedelic culture over the years (the logic of the movement in the game – into the depth of the vanishing point that simultaneously is  the depth of “self” – bears more than a vague resemblance to the space gate scene in 2001 – A Space Odyssey… there is even a “space baby” to prove the point).


Space Giraffe: is a game designed to keep you in the “Zone” as much as possible.

Let’s talk about the “Zone” for a bit. The term is used for a state of experience in which you feel completely in sync with the thing you are doing, not held back by your expectations and views of yourself (“I can never do this, I will never make it!”).
You are in the “zone” just like you are in the “flow”. It is a state of awareness where impossible things seem effortless. Instead of worrying about that next obstacle in the game you watch yourself doing crazy stuff, perfectly “in tune” with the game. You’re no longer just reacting to the input of the game – it is no longer you against the machine – everything just seems to happen. The game is playing itself and your nerves and muscles are part of the circuit – while at the same time the game becomes something like a lucid dream. You seem to be controlling the flow of time itself. Yeah!

I guess everyone has experienced this several times in his lifetime. And once you have tasted this kind of experience, it becomes very desirable to repeat it. The interest in repeating it is reliable enough for game designers to make it a basic assumption of their design. There are video game subgenres like Bullet Hell that focus solely on providing occasions for you to experience the zone.

Imperishable Night: To the uninvolved bystander genres like Bullet Hell might look like a modern kind of self-flagellation. 


Lily Tomlin talks about her Pac-Man addiction… (feat. a certain Bill Murray)

Video games are still growing up and they are only at the beginning of discovering their powers. But one thing became a topic of importance in the last years: since the videogame industry bacame one of the biggest entertainment business’ the pressure for multi-million dollar games to be successful is rising. And with the rising pressure scientific studies emerge, that want to figure out what a game needs to do to connect to your pleasure center directly. So for the collective “worry ’bout the children” the conclusion is: Games make you addicted (wishful-businessman-“thinking”), they are the reason for you to have a poor social life, a pale complexion, they will take your money and leave you in the gutter. So let me ask you: Why did Charles Manson talk crazy shit and how did he get girls into killing people? Do I have to spell out the obvious: video games are (the new) lsd!

There are a lot more things one could and should talk about, when discussing the  manifold connections between psychedelic culture and video games. If you are interested, you can find more videos of psychedelic glitches, trippy Minecraft and lots of other aspects of the topic here on DPV.
In the end, let’s not forget: it is all about that big ol’ joy:


Space Channel 5

Bonus Tracks:


Seaman: for Dreamcast provides some of the best advise a talking fish simulator has ever given.


Arcade Attack – Silver Ball Heroes VS Video Invaders (1982): This is just the very trippy ending, but you can find the whole lovely short movie, too .

Psychedelic Oldies – Pre-1945 hallucinogenic videos

27 Apr

For its 3rd birthday the DPV is featuring a series of psychedelic videos specials which will run between the 22 and the 28 of April 2013. Stay tuned for more of our psychedelic specials.

felixIt is surprising how many of the earliest films contained psychedelic elements. In the field of animation especially one finds not only many psychedelically styled videos, but even 1920s videos focusing on the mind-altering effects of drugs. And while these films don’t feature the fancy CGI effects of today’s videos, they have a special kind of charm.

Emil Cohl – Fantasmagorie (1908)

“Fantasmagorie” by French caricaturist and animator Emil Cohl,“the father of animated cartoon”, is considered by film historians to be the first animated cartoon.

Watching Fantasmagorie today, the inherently psychedelic character of animation becomes even clearer.  The film make me think about how it must have been for the first viewers of this video, one of the earliest of animations, when they watched it more than a hundred years ago. How did they react to the fantastical world on the screen in which things appear out of nowhere, and bottles of wine are transformed into flowers? Interestingly, it is right after our hero, who removes many hats worn by the lady in the front, arrives at a smaller hat, which makes the woman look like a mushroom (0:29), that weird things start happening…

Emil Cohl – Hasher’s Delirium (1910)

Two years after Fantasmagorie, the topic of intoxication becomes explicit in another video by Cohl titled “Hasher’s Delirium”. In this video our hero, who drinks wine and absinthe in a restaurant, enters into various states of delusion. The psychedelic transformations of objects reach new levels here.

Walter Ruttman – “Das Wunder” – Kantorowicz liquor commercial (1922)

This highly amusing early Kantorowicz liquor commercial was created by experimental film maker Walter Ruttmann at a time when alcohol was already illegal in the US. The Kantorowicz liquor is created by a magician who uses the basic elements of the universe. Later the liquor performs the impressing feat of appeasing the angry and fighting men, eventually even making them kiss each other. No wonder the film is called “The Wonder”…

Pat Sullivan – Felix the cat – Felix dines and pines (1926) (Trippy sequence starts at 4:13)

Silent era’s Felix the cat went on occasional and sometimes unintended hallucinatory trips. In this first video from 1926 Felix eats some food from the garbage and consequently enters a long and highly trippy hallucination.

Pat Sullivan – Felix the Cat – Woos Whoope (1928)

In this video from 1928, Felix drinks too much in Whoopee Club and enters into a state of delirium full of intimidating hallucinations.

Max Fleischer – Betty Boop Nitrous Oxide film (1934) (Trippy sequence starts at 4:00) 

American animator Max Fleischer created a number of drug-related videos, some of which were already featured in the post about Terence McKenna’s taste for psychedelic animations.

Still one has to have a Fleischer video in a post about psychedelic oldies. Here is one my favorites. His nitrous oxide video… The funny trippy part starts at around 4:00)

Oskar Fischinger – Allegretto (1936)

German-American abstract-animator Oskar Fischinger had to fight for his film “Allegretto”. The video which was created by Fischinger in 1936 in synchronization with a tune by Ralph Rainger, was altered by Paramount Pictures who changed the Technicolor imagery to B&W, and intercut the abstract images with live action scenes.  Fischinger eventually asked to be let out of his contract, and completed the film by himself in a way which suited his vision. The colorful result, which remains visually engaging even today, is considered “one of the most-screened and successful films of visual music’s history.”

Walt Disney – Fantasia (1940) (Trippy sequence starts at 5:00)

Disney’s Fantasia (1940) was an unprecedented orgy of colorful splashes, and colorful rainbows.

The whole film is psychedelic in style, but the sequence above is particularly distinguished for its synesthetic qualities.

The name “Fantasia” in itself alluded to a fantastic other-worldly land, perhaps the kind which can be discovered through the ingestion of substances from a chemical family which was known at the time as the “Phantastica”.

This might be a bit farfetched, but maybe not. Acording to Peter Stafford’s “Psychedelic Encyclopedia” the chief visualist for Disney’s Fantasia (1940)  participated  in the mescaline experiments conducted in Germany by Kurt Beringer in the 1920′s.  Artist Paul Laffoley claims that Disney himself experimented with Mescaline “On a regular basis” during his stay in Germany in the 1930′s. Many other theories regarding the relations between Disney and psychedelics exist, and you can find out about some of them here in this fascinating article.

Walt Disney – Dumbo the flying elephant (1941)

A year after Fantasia, Disney released Dumbo the Flying Elephant. In it Dumbo starts drinking the contents of a bucket, following which he begins to hallucinate highly peculiar visions, which you can see in the scene above.

Psychedelic Glo-Fi Music Videos List

26 Apr

For its 3rd birthday the DPV is featuring a series of psychedelic videos specials which will run between the 22 and the 28 of April 2013. Stay tuned for more of our psychedelic specials.

As its name suggests, Glo-fi is a music genre that encompasses the brighter side of psychedelia. It incorporates hypnagogic themes, short melodies, and heavy processing. Glo-fi artists often utilize electronic elements such as looping samples and vocals altered to the point of being musical rather than lyrical. Although these artists span a range of different sounds and styles, the result is always ethereal and chill. Some of these are official videos and some are fan-made, but they all express Glo-fi at its best.


This video from Blackbird Blackbird perfectly reflects the nature of the song. The stroboscopic editing correlates to the shimmering sound, and the kaleidoscopic visuals complement the vocals. Song: Pure.


This song/video from Technika incorporates IDM-esque samples and beats with distorted vocals to create a dreamlike feel. Song: Swallows Fly Low.


Balam Acab is one of my favorite glo-fi artists. The surreal and floaty song Regret Making Mistakes is matched with snowy geometric imagery in this video my Marco Nunez.


This video is for a collaboration between XXYYXX and Giraffage. The multichrome visuals take the viewer on a dimensional trip through the Italian countryside. Song: Even Though.


This song has an easy rising quality, expressed nicely in the translucent nebulous visuals. The song is Tarifa by Forrests.


Rivka is another favorite of mine; the entire album (RIVKA) that this song (Kid Animal) comes from is incredible. This video is one of those rare masterpieces that so perfectly complements the music that the two become mentally inseparable. PɨK uses footage from Baron Prasil, the 60’s Czech version of Baron Munchausen.


This video relays an airy and coastal feel through an altered perception. The song is Magic by Panama.


This is another great video from Vimeo user PɨK. He uses footage from Alain Escalle’s The Tale of the Floating World for Taquwami’s ethereal and soaring Time After Time.


This video’s prismatic visuals complement the hypnagogia of Upperground Stories by Plastic Flowers.


This video is a trippy homage to 1990’s cgi and internet, set to Vektroid’s Surfin Geocities. Remember Geocities?

Plaid- At Last

25 Apr

A French Psychedelia Collection

24 Apr

For its 3rd birthday the DPV is featuring a series of psychedelic videos specials which will run between the 22 and the 28 of April 2013. Stay tuned for more of our psychedelic specials.

The term “psychedelic’ which is etymologically derived from the Greek psykhe- “mind” + deloun “make visible, reveal,” from delos “visible, clear,” was invented by psychiatrist Humphry Osmond in 1957  to describe the effects of hallucinogenic psychotropic drugs inducing altered states of perception. From consciousness modification to consciousness transformation, the term was deeply explored during the turbulent 1960’s. All over the cultural spectrum, many  artists attempted to recreate  the psychedelic experience through various Media.

Today, a new generation of artists goes back to the sources of historical psychedelia to bring what we call the third psychedelic revolution (the second was the creation of electronic music in the 80’s).

The idea of consciousness expansion is developed  through stage-performance, community and “total art” phantasm. Thus, we will be tempted to refer to psychedelic experience instead of general psychedelia: There is no psychedelic art, only experiences.

In contrast to the clichés of  “flower power” and the summer of love,  French psychedelia is an experience of numerous, miscellaneous and fundamentally experimental forms.

From music clips to cinema, through cartoons and video art experimentation  this collection has no pretension of being exhaustive, but I assume it covers a part of the range of  French psychedelia!

  • Enter the Void // Gaspard Noé

A drug dealer becomes interested in death and re-incarnation after reading “The Tibetan Book of the Dead”. Suddenly dead, his soul floats through Tokyo observing the dramas of his friends and foes. An oath determines his next step ‘as a soul’.

  • Alain Bashung – Variations Sur Marilou

A 9-minutes musical short film on the famous song by Serge Gainsbourg, “Variations sur Marilou”, interpreted in 2006 by Alain Bashung.

The song rests between reality and fantasy. The music video explores this aspect by showing Marilou’s gestures, parallel to the imaginary world of desire, all at once. It thus responds to the very daring worlds of Bashung and Gainsbourg. Maxime Bruneel’s challenge was to create images which won’t be too shocking… The result is closer to Gustav Courbet’s “Origine du monde” than to today’s pornographic films.

  • Serge Gainsbourg // Histoire De Melody Nelson

Histoire de Melody Nelson” is a 1971 concept album by French songwriter Serge Gainsbourg. The Lolita-esque pseudo-autobiographical plot involves the middle-aged Gainsbourg unintentionally colliding his Rolls Royce Silver Ghost into teenage nymphet Melody Nelson’s bicycle, and the subsequent seduction and romance that ensues. Histoire de Melody Nelson is considered by many critics and fans to be Gainsbourg’s most influential and accomplished album.

  • Billy Ze Kick – Mangez-Moi

Billy Ze Kick are a French band from the 1990s, with lots of psychedelic references and overtones. Their song “Mangez-Moi” (eat me) in which the band goes mushroom picking in the forest and different magic mushrooms beg them to eat them and promise to open their minds, was a big hit in 1990s France. Apparently not everybody realized what the song was really about…

  • Barbarella // Roger Vadim

In the far future, a highly sexual woman is tasked with finding and stopping the evil Durand-Durand. Along the way she encounters various unusual people.

  • Marcel Duchamp – Anemic Cinema

 Anemic Cinema or Anémic Cinéma (1926) is a Dadaist, surrealist, or experimental film made by Marcel Duchamp. The film depicts whirling animated drawings — which Duchamp called Rotoreliefs — alternated with puns in French. Duchamp signed the film with his alter ego name of Rrose Sélavy.

Rotoreliefs were a phase of Duchamp’s spinning works. To make the optical “play toys” he painted designs on flat cardboard circles and spun them on a phonograph turntable that when spinning the flat disks appeared 3-dimensional. He had a printer run off 500 sets of six of the designs and set up a booth at a 1935 Paris inventors’ show to sell them. The venture was a financial disaster, but some optical scientists thought they might be of use in restoring 3-dimensional sight to people with one eye.

In collaboration with Man Ray and Marc Allégret, Duchamp filmed early versions of the Rotoreliefs and they named the first film version Anémic Cinéma.

  • Chris Marker’s “La Jetée”

Seven and a half minutes of the 26-minute film that inspired Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys.

A man (Davos Hanich) is a prisoner in the aftermath of the Third World War, in a destroyed, post-apocalyptic Paris where survivors live underground in the Palais de Chaillot galleries. Scientists research time travel, hoping to send test subjects to different time periods “to call past and future to the rescue of the present”. They have difficulty finding subjects who can mentally withstand the shock of time travel, but eventually settle upon the prisoner, whose key to the past is a vague but obsessive memory, from his pre-war childhood, of a woman (Hélène Chatelain) he had seen on the observation platform (‘the jetty’) at Orly Airport shortly before witnessing a startling incident there. He had not understood exactly what happened, but knew he had seen a man die…

  • Jan Kounen / The last red chaperone

Since Jan Kounen is one of my favorite director, I already posted several of his fantastic videos. You can see the list here. Be sure to catch his awesome ayahuasca scene from the film  Renegade (aka Bluberry).

  • Ultimaya lab. Productions // Cosmic Joker // Travel in illusion

Ultimaya impulsion is a virtual area that promotes the investigation into consciousness mainly through the medium of Video Feedback and its modulations.  It supports multidisciplinary research into video, sound, art, science, advaita vedanta … We explore the interplay of reality and illusion, attempting innovative mystical, shamanic-like approaches.

Ultimaya is an open collective of artists performing visual and musical experiments, reflecting their vision of a sub-conscious interconnected global psyche.

http://www.ultimaya.fr/

  • Gandahar

Gandahar (René Laloux), is a French animated science fiction and fantasy film released in 1988 in the U.S. It is based on Jean-Pierre Andrevon’s novel Les Hommes-machines contre Gandahar (The Machine-Men versus Gandahar).

The peaceful people of Gandahar are suddenly attacked by an army of automatons known as the Men of Metal, who march through the villages and petrify their victims with lasers. The resulting statues are then collected and transferred to their base. At the capital city of Jasper, the Council of Women orders Sylvain to investigate. On his journey, he encounters the Deformed, a race of mutant beings who were accidentally created via genetic experimentation by Gandahar’s scientists. Despite their resentment, they are also threatened by the Men of Metal and offer to help Sylvain.

We also published a post about his master piece titled ” Fantastic planet”, here is the link to get a picture:

https://dailypsychedelicvideo.com/2012/04/01/fantastic-planet-la-planete-sauvage/

  • Gong – Zeroid

Gong is a Franco-British progressive/psychedelic rock band formed by Australian musician Daevid Allen. Their music has also been described as space rock.

and here, an other video DPV already published in the past!

https://dailypsychedelicvideo.com/2010/05/08/gong-%E2%80%93-how-to-stay-alive/

  • Space – Magic Fly

A French band who never made a single success in France, but filled up the Red Place in Moscow…

  • Le Lit de la Vierge – Philippe Garrel

A Philippe Garrel movie from 1969 depicting enigmatic variations of the Virgin Mary, Jesus Christ and world after may ’68.

  • La montagne sacrée // Alejandro Jodorowsky

The Sacred Mountain is a 1973 cult film directed by Chilean-French Alejandro Jodorowsky who also participated as an actor, composer, set designer, and costume designer on this film. It’s a masterpiece and a must-see!

The film is based on Ascent of Mount Carmel by St. John of the Cross and Mount Analogue by René Daumal, who was a student of G.I. Gurdjieff. In this film much of Jodorowsky’s visually psychedelic story follows the metaphysical thrust of Mount Analogue. This is revealed in such events as the climb to the Alchemist, the assembly of individuals with specific skills, the discovery of the mountain that unites Heaven and Earth “that cannot not exist” and symbolic challenges along the mountain ascent. Daumal died before finishing his allegorical novel, and Jodorowsky’s improvised ending provides a way of completing the work (both symbolically and otherwise.)

NB: I want to dedicate this birthday post to my beloved dog “Trakass”, aka “Blondin” who died last Saturday after a tragic accident…May his soul escort us along the rest of our lives…R.I.P my boy…

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