Super-8 hijinx with Danny & Reid's Motion Machine
by RUPERT BOTTENBERG
Remember how Kids in the Hall used to have those little snippets of lo-fi black-and-white oddness, with tunes from the late, great Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet? Well, the Kids are all doing rails in L.A. right now, and the Men fluttered off to assorted different projects, but the spirit of those snippets lives on in a way, thanks to Reid Diamond, former Shadowy bassist.
Put 40 or 50 little shorts back to back, plug in the amps and you've got Danny & Reid's Motion Machine (Danny being Danny Bowden, of the Toronto band Stranger Than Fiction), a two-piece band who accompany their own homemade Super-8 movies. "They're all very short, no longer than a Ramones song. It's like making little rock videos. Thing is, unlike a lot of other bands who use visuals, our compositions relate to the images, which aren't random. The picture and the music are composed with each other in mind."
Diamond's particularly fond of urban landscapes, most of which are shot in hometown Toronto. "One I shot in Montreal last year, or started anyway. I shot the geodesic dome for about 15 seconds, and as the summer went on, everytime I saw a spherical object, I shot it. At the end of last summer, I developed the film, and it was neat to see stuff I'd forgotten I'd filmed. The dome ended up having this really weird, sci-fi, futuristic look."
Diamond promises a kaleidoscope of moods, both visually and musically. "Some of the pieces are funny, some are more melancholy. It's only guitar and drums, and I play organ a bit, so it varies between Question Mark and the Mysterians doing a soundtrack to Tom Verlaine's solo stuff, sparse guitar atmosphere. We're fairly eclectic within our abilities.
"I think of it as a three-piece: me, Danny and the projector. The projector is really our conductor, because what we find is it runs at different speeds depending on the power grid. You know, have brown-outs? Well, it happens during shows, and even if you calibrate the projector, you don't really know what speed it'll be going at. So we really have to watch the films. We can't just sleepwalk through it."
With Pest 5000, Jimmy Brain and April Showers at Casa del Popolo on Saturday, June 24, 9pm, $6