INTERVIEW: SHUTTLE358: URB (2001)
Dan Abrams' minimalist techno video presents a collision of austere sound
and untouched public architecture
by Heath K. Hignight
these are the primary things you need to keep in mind regarding dan abrams' first video project, a short for his second shuttle358 album, frame
. released on taylor deupree's minimal/experimental art house label 12k records, this quicktime video is a first for both abrams and 12k, where each is focusing on trying to develop a second dimension to the characteristic clicks, pops, drones and murmurs that make up this barren form of techno.
"simply put, i wanted to express my music visually," says abrams. "album packaging and artwork is one way, and i thought i'd give it a go to shoot some photography and see what i can come up with."
stark. that's another thing to keep in mind. the lines that crisscross through frame are reminiscent of a hitchkockian visual "maguffin," the thing the director would use to distract his audiences from the true themes in his films. in frame, the maguffin is the concept of motion in a large city.
"the images focused on graphic signage and structures that fit into the same visual vocabulary as my music - to me anyway. i even made sure to hunt down the "newest" built freeways, train terminals, etc, to give the most synthetic and untouched feel. i am fascinated to watch the transition new public architecture goes through as it degrades and blends in with the rest of the city. to me, it loses its character, which is the opposite of how most people feel."
for abrams, showing the city in this way reveals the aesthetic underpinnings of the minimal techno he creates that are akin to his vision of metropolitain life.
"a lot of times," he explains, "artists are able to take the overall aesthetic or potential in something and present it in such a way that it leaves room for the audience to play with it. i made this video at about that level, nothing more. it shouldn't be telling you anything! i guess my music is like that, too."
catharsis. that's the last thing you need to know about shuttle358, and frame