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If you’re a stickler for the unspoken rules of tasteful editing and flawless footage, you may want to skip this AMV. As for myself, the apparent disregard for those time-tested hallmarks of quality (not) on display here somehow makes it more enjoyable. That’s not to say that I don’t care how a video looks, or that repetitive effects have never ruined a good AMV for me. It’s just that, once in a while, an AMV brings something to the table that really gets it into your good graces despite any “flaws” that it might have. Maybe it’s an anime series you love, or music that you really like. In this case, the second I found out there was an AMV set to “Percolator,” I was sure I was going to love it. That’s precisely the kind of positive prejudice that annoys me when it concerns other people who set their standards aside anytime they encounter a video that uses something that they like. It’s funny how that suddenly doesn’t apply to myself, isn’t it?
I don’t know if “Percolator” was ever any kind of hit outside of Chicago — the big city I’ve always called my own despite never living less than a half hour’s drive away — or if anyone really knew about it when it came out. It was a really weird song to hear on the radio but there it was. I honestly don’t know if this song was ever a hit outside of Chicago. I don’t how people felt about it back then and I can’t imagine how people might feel about it now. I expect that there’s no small amount of listeners who love getting down to Green Velvet tech-house sets — which are perfectly timed with when I leave work for the long drive home every Saturday night — who would mistake this kind of raw-sounding production for technical incompetence. I never felt that way, not even when I was a kid, which sorta makes me feel like I’m part of some special club, which is nonsense, of course. It’s nostalgia, I’m sure, but it’s different from the usual kind of media consumption-associated memories that I normally feel about this stuff and the shared experiences I had around it with other people. It was more personal than that but that’s as close as I’ll come to trying to describe it, assuming that my memories about these kind of things can really be trusted in the first place.
It’s tempting to say that viewers might misunderstand this AMV for the same kind of reasons that EDM fans might scoff at actual Chicago house music. But that’s not very fair to people who, despite their best efforts, can’t help but feel a little nauseous while watching this. Maybe it’s a case of sensory overload. Or maybe it’s just another instance where I find myself attracted to things that most normal people find irritatingly objectionable. It’s like the PTC testing strips, which tasted terrible to everyone in my high school biology class except for me. I definitely don’t think that this AMV is epilepsy fuel but I recognize the fact that some viewers simply won’t be able to make it all the way through.
Up to this point I’ve spent a lot of time talking about other people’s opinions instead of the video itself. Ultimately it shouldn’t matter what anyone else thinks about it. But whether or not you’re a seasoned editor or a beginner, a casual fan of AMVs or a discerning collector (who’ve been a slowly-dying breed for nearly a decade now), you know the unspoken rules that are supposed to be followed. Never upscale your footage, don’t make a video with inconsistent aspect ratios, only use video ripped from DVDs, etc. The rules aren’t a guide to making a masterpiece, but they’ll at least give your project the potential (however small) to become one.
All that collected wisdom goes right out the window for this AMV, edited nearly ten years ago by setalone. The basic effects used in this video, which I won’t attempt to describe, just work for me. Probably not on their own and maybe not with any other song in the world, but the internal sync between them, the track’s bouncy baseline, unpolished beats and love-it/hate-it “melody,” makes for an unexpectedly hypnotic experience. Or at least it has for me. I have more important things to do than write this entry while it plays on a loop in another window, but seeing how I’m kind of in a trance, they might have to wait.
Essentially, I don’t think this is a truly great AMV, at least not in a traditional sense. The lip sync, possibly not even necessary, doesn’t always hit the mark. While I think the at-times low-quality footage is somewhat fitting for such a raw and gritty-sounding song, the end product could probably have been improved by using DVD-quality footage. There’s jagged aliasing in static shots that has no place in any AMV. But for whatever reason, I don’t care. Maybe I’m burned out on HD quality AMVs where every cut and effect is applied with sublime precision and want to go back to a simpler time? Maybe I want this AMV to be better than it is. I love it, but is that because of how it’s edited or because of the simple fact that even it exists at all? Even by the anything-goes standards of the mid-2000s, this shouldn’t have ever been made (let alone archived for posterity), and the fact that it indeed was is still amazing to me. It doesn’t appear to have ever been popular, which is unfortunate but understandable. It would be nice if more people would watch weird AMVs like this. Better still would be more people editing weird AMVs made in the same spirit that toe the line between being ridiculously creative and potentially-disastrous. Either way, the results are bound to be entertaining.