Visual Music Classics #1 – Begone Dull Care 1949, Norman Mclaren
Saturday, 29 March 2008
‘Begone Dull Care’, by Normal Mclaren, is one of the quintessential Visual Music films, it also happened to have been one of his favourites along with the well-known ‘Neighbours’. Educated at the Glasgow School of Art, Mclaren experimented with animation and film making techniques without the use of a camera. He painted onto the blank film stock directly, added dyes, and then scratched away at the surface, etching in glyphs and abstract lines. This method was used to create ‘Begone Dull Care’, in 1949, to produce an explosion of colours, lines and shapes syncopated to a bopping jazz tune composed by Oscar Peterson. Certain shapes, textures and colours correspond to different instrumental sections, almost as if Mclaren was attempting the human equivalent of FFT (computational frequency analysis). The complexity of the visual motifs increases proportionally with the intensity of the music – culminating in riotous finale of colours, lattices, patterns and animated hieroglyphics in perfect synchronicity.