Article published: Sunday, October 14th 2012
New Manchester film group MouthMusick is set to launch a series of music videos favouring content over glamour.
The music industry by its very nature has always had its share of style. Yet from early televised performances and The Buggles’ breakthrough MTV video through to the internet and new digital media, the technological revolution facilitated a sheen of superficiality within popular music. Conversely, some artists have deliberately played with themes of anonymity and mystery, and ironically achieved fame in doing so.
A new Manchester group named MouthMusick is aiming to strike a balance between those extremes. They have devised a media platform that they believe will allow musicians the freedom to be judged solely by the content of their work and not by what they look like or wear.
The focus will be on the spoken word, bringing to attention the many forms of expression reliant on the mouth.
Ahead of the launch this evening on Sunday 14 October, a MouthMusick spokesperson took some time to answer Ian Pennington’s questions.
MULE: What gave you the idea for it?
MouthMusick: The idea for MouthMusick initially came from our perception that the majority of music videos are moving towards a highly superficial and overly produced way of presenting ideas and sounds. We thought that with so much going on in these videos, are we able to really listen, understand and appreciate what the artists are trying to say?
We think this can be seen as an issue especially in hip hop, in the heavily commercialised forms that are popular today (no need to name names). Hip hop has moved a very long way from its ideas at conception about making a conscious statement.
MouthMusick is still very much about presenting style and originality, they are definitely something to be watched and enjoyed, just without all the excessive glamour. This project is about offering an alternative. Our videos are deliberately stripped back, and we’ve found that it encourages the viewer to listen in and to give more attention to what is being presented. To focus on the mouth was interesting to us – as the movements of the mouth sculpt our words and there is a beauty in that. It is also entertaining.
MULE: What can viewers expect from the videos?
MM: MouthMusick is a combination of oratory and music in all its forms. Each ‘episode’ of this first series is a video titled Mouth#1, Mouth#2, and so on, focusing solely on the mouth. We have a range of artists who believe their work or their featured piece is best understood by what comes out of their mouths. We have lyricists, poets, MCs, beatboxers, and so on – they are all mouth musicians. Each video will be released weekly on a Sunday evening, starting Sunday 14 October 2012.
MULE: Why is it important to disguise the performer in this case?
MM: To create impartiality. We also enjoy this idea as a concept as it creates mystery.
MULE: Would an audio track not be impartial anyway?
MM: Yes, completely. Although, if you know who it is – maybe not? This is a ‘Youtube era’; watching music videos online is now one of the main mediums through which we discover new music and listen to songs we like. MouthMusick is also about appreciating film and visual arts but just in a different way, like we say, without all the glamour.
The impartiality brought through initial anonymity of the videos is just one element of what this project is about. We won’t reveal who the artists are, but there is nothing stopping them revealing themselves or others doing so. MouthMusick in this way acts as a platform.
MULE: If this acts as a veil of ignorance to make the listener / viewer’s choice impartial then does that take something away from the performer’s expression?
MM: We don’t think so. There is only going to be one video per contributor, it is in no way all encompassing of who they are and what they do. Everyone involved in MouthMusick wants to see what this idea could become. If people respond well to a video, it can generate interest in the performer’s work that may already be out there or yet to come.
What the videos allow is for the content to be at the forefront, something that we feel is being lost in the music industry. The MouthMusick team have experience working on various multi-disciplinary arts projects and this project is not about limiting expression, this is just an alternative way and concept that we think could really work.
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