Club Video (music video) 4' 41" stereo mix © 1987


Club Video is a 2-channel video with options for stereo or quadraphonic audio. Multiple monitors have also been employed in some installations. The work is produced solely from source/cut-up fragments from a set of classic genre movies, to which a range of tape-manipulated music fragments from records have been synchronized. The work references the then-emergence of multi-screen environments with blaring club music, generating an ironic dissolution of 'video art' back into the pool of video imagery which proliferated in multiple 'non-art' contexts in the mid-80s.

Club Video originated from an invitation for a solo exhibition at Artspace, Sydney. The soundtrack was released as a mini-LP on Present Records.

Club Video soundtrack LP poster © 1985


All music processing, editing & mix - Philip Brophy


Soundtrack mini-LP released on Present Records
Music-video clip produced for Present Records


Premiere of Club Video - Artspace, Sydney

Club Video Part V - dual screens © 1985


Original 1985 catalogue notes

Club Video utilizes the structural concept of "Beat" as outlined in an earlier → ↑ → performance Formula Disco (1980):
* Performer + Language = "Artist"
* Beat + Overlay = "Disco"
* Artist + Disco = "X"
The result is that anything can be overlaid in a fairly indiscriminate fashion over a repetitive rhythmic structure to produce a rhythmic form.

The early video Ads delineates a controlled environment of multiplicity in the interplays of its selected imagery. Club Video mixes this approach with the narrativity of the selected films, reassembling semantic threads and visual icons to tell stories untold in the original films. Using montage as a constructional tool, both Ads and Club Video simply convert informational inputs to outputs in the style of what could be called "musique concrète".

Before the advent of computer technology which facilitated the advent of digital sampling of sounds, musique concrète existed as a viable materialist way of manipulating sound. The method of musique concrète (or magnetic tape manipulation) used in Club Video attempts to achieve a homogenous sound rather than a disorienting, fragmented effect more typical of musique concrète.


Club Video Part IV - dual screens © 1985


Each U-Matic 3/4" tape has a different soundtrack which–when combined in a mixer and played through stereo speakers–forms a homogenous soundtrack. The soundtrack contains no sound or music from the actual films, and instead consists of original instrumental music composed for the work. There is a different musical composition for each section, although all the pieces feature a strong drum mix (hence the notion of 'club', referencing nightclubs). The original subtitling of the work as With Beat/Without refers to the viewer's option (in some versions of the installation) to fade out the drum sounds on the mix up and have the musical sounds without the supporting rhythms.

The narrative shape (constructed through editing) of each section in club video complexly relates to the narrative structures bracket articulated through myth) typical of the genres: the Musical's rhythmic onslaught, the Gangster film's rise and fall, the Western's traversing of space, the JD film's explosive fracturing, and the Horror film's suspenseful buildup. These endemic constructions are further supported by the structural form of each sections soundtrack: a driving pattern syncopated with temple embellishments (Musical), an ABAB serialization punctuated by percussive bursts and empty silences (Gangster), a sonic landscape developed by a progression of aural layerings (Western).

All editing, post-producton & mixing was done through direct tape-reel manipulation of dubs from the listed recordings. (Sections that apear to have 'melodies' are in fact fragments from records recorded at various manually-controlled speeds so as to effect a sequence of notes when played back.) Occasional effects employed were spring reverb, fuzz box and phase shifter. All loops are 4-track 1/4" tape loops. The cutting in and out of the sections are done live through a mixer recording onto a reel-to-reel master tape.

Club Video Part III - dual screens © 1985

Sound sources

Part I - "Well ... here I am."

Pipeline - The Chantays (4")
Forget Me Nots - Patrice Rushen (5")
Loopzilla - George Clinton (9")
Favourite Shirts - Haircut 100 (6")
I'm Your Money - Heaven 17 (2")
Let Me Go - Heaven 17 (5")
Obsession - title theme - Bernard Herrmann (1")
The Flowers Of Romance - PIL (6")
The Sinking of the Titanic - Gavin Bryars (34")

Part II - "I don't know nothing. I don't hear nothing. I don't see nothing "

Buffalo Girls - Malcom McClaren (2")
Blue Heaven - Glen Miller (5")
Pagan Love Song - Glen Miller (5")
String of Pearls - Glen Miller (5")
Tuxedo Junction - Glen Miller (5")
Chant No.1 - Spandau Ballet (1")
At the Height of the Fighting - Heaven 17 (8")

Part III - "Didn't expect to see you riding shotgun on this run, marshall."

Magnificent 7 - title theme - Elmer Bernstein (2")
West Side Story - prologue - Leonard Bernstein (13")
Ooh to be Aah - Kaja Goo Goo (9")
The Watcher Watched - Ennio Morricone (59")
Electric Kingdom - Twilight 22 (6") & (6")
Crystal - Weather Report (18")

Part IV - "Take it easy, pretty boy. Whaddaya have such a sweat about?"

Gimme Back My Man - B-52s (7")
Lava - B-52s (1") & (1")
Rebel Rouser - Duane Eddy (2")
Rumble - Duane Eddy (4")
Red River Rock - Johnny & the Hurricanes (1")
Celebration Day - Led Zeppelin (2")
Night Train - Visage (1") & (7")
Fluff - Black Sabbath (8")

Part V - "A boy's best friend is his mother."

Beat Box Diversion - Art of Noise (4")
The Sinking of the Titanic - Gavin Bryars (4")
Psycho - Bernard Herrmann (13")
A Big Country - title theme - Jerome Morris's (2")
Hard Times - Run DMC (4") & (4") & (4")
Fireworks - Siouxsie & the Banshees (5")