We connected with Black City Lights a few months back after featuring their music on WT. Calum Robb is the one of two masterminds behind the project (along side Julia Catherine Parr) and we approached him about doing a Witness This/Black City Lights collaboration.
We brainstormed a theme and went off the idea of inspiration and more specifically influences of music to one’s own craft. Calum mentioned the music that has moved him and helped in the creation of their own sound. We came upon the word Motus which is a latin word meaning moved, stirred, excited, or inspired. With this theme in mind and the title in place, Calum went to work creating the mix.
I remember sitting at my window here in Berlin and listening to the mix for the first time. I listened to it 4 times in a row. This isn’t an exaggeration. We are taken through a range of songs and feelings performed by artists of whom most I had not heard of. You can make the connection from the music of Black City Lights, to the influences Calum receives and it’s literally moving.
Beginning with the South City Sushi Cop – Bad Blocks, the tempo is set right away. Then just four and a half minutes in we hit our first mix that blends soothingly into a hollow echoing track by Mmoths called THNX. This track was the kick-starter to the artwork as I started to pull images that the music fit to. I found an old Arizona Magazine from 1954 at a bookstore in Idyllwild California a year ago and I had scanned a few of the pages that featured photos of golden glowing plateau’s. Excitedly I started to cut out the images and place them on top of eachother.
The mix continues and as we move through tracks by Port St. Willow, Egyptian Hip Hop, and Trimbal. The electronic tempo’s of these tracks elicited a methodical stacking of aqua, blue, and green digital squares in Illustrator which took me into the song by Night Works – I Tried So Hard. This minimal flowing song brought me to a few images of spilled orange, pink and red paint from a print experiment gone wrong that had also scanned and I dropped these onto the squares and blurred so that it created a subtle warm hue gradient.
Forest Spirits brings up the tempo with a throbbing beat, uplifting and motivating. I began working faster adding bits of color to each square and as Estere‘s track – Culture Clash begins I dropped the images of the Arizona wild on top of the squares. Glass Candy, Blackbird Blackbird, Korallreven brought the collage into the homestretch as the pace picks up and the vocals keep the creative energy alive and unconfined.
This type of project is what inspires us to continue in constant search of connection to music, to other creatives, and collaboration. To be able to work with the brilliance of Black City Lights and be a part of that creation in a complimentary discipline is invigorating beyond words. We look forward to seeing where Calum and Julia head next and as the mix ends on Soundcloud, where the first 100 people to visit the site will receive a free download of the mixtape, make sure to keep listening, as the music of BCL will continue to ride with you on whatever creative journey you are on.