I am often asked why I no longer post videos to Big Ass Lens. When once I made 5-10 videos a week, I now choose to forgo the tedious process of converting, editing, and mastering. My creative output has dwindled to a couple blown out movies I’ve recorded on my phone. Sometimes these video are even shot in portrait mode. Years ago, this would have been blasphemous
There is much to be said about the natural pleasure of the ephemeral and immediate. Live music is unique to its recorded relative in that it is uncertain, unpredictable, and fleeting. In its ideal form, one should value it for its transitory existence: something that is created before your eyes, and never to be reproduced again. For a long time, I was determined to live this experience that had so many times been filtered through the lens of a camera.
Yet there is also something to be said about documentation, preservation, and memory. I will often re-watch movies that I’ve shot in the past, to admire a moment in time that has long since passed, a bookmark into the pages of history. I remember the friends who were with me, the new people who I met, the good, the bad – the sights and sounds that make every show unique. I’ve often read that smell is one of the strongest senses for evoking buried memories, but for me, music conjures even more.
Over the years, the desire to experience live music in its purest form, without technical distractions, without impediments, drove me to stop recording. But it also brings me to this post, the first video post on this website in some time, and the artist who is the subject of it: Noah Lennox, aka Panda Bear.
Of all the videos ever posted on this site, the ones I revisit the most were taken 4 years ago, at Governor’s Island for Panda Bear’s Tomboy album pre-tour. And yet, when I last saw him, back in May at the epic Red Bull show at Warsaw, I took the route of passive spectator, taking in new sounds with fresh ears. Each experience had its own particular qualities that stood out; at Governor’s Island, it was the sea of color, penetrating layers of misty fog that blew around the blustery wind. At Warsaw, the evanescent harmonies coupled with bleating pulses of laser light. In each, I found the live experience to be singular moments of artistic expression, the only difference was that one was enshrined to history, available for reissue on the public library of the internet.
In the weeks and months following the Warsaw show, I yearned to revisit those moments of exuberance, with no recourse. And so I resolved to preserve what I could of my next experience, even if it were only partial. While they are not perfect documents of a perfect night, they are a testimony to a grounded moment in time, a recollection of an event, and an acknowledgement that not all great moments must come to pass.