review by Aurelio Cianciotta for neural.it

sculpture toad blinker picture disc neuralThis luxurious edition has sprung from the elaborations of the Toad Blinker combo (musician Dan Hayhurst and animator-illustrator Rueben Sutherland). The release is a 12” vinyl with “zoetropic” images in a pure psychedelic style, something we haven’t seen at the office for time immemorial. Dekorder have thought this move out well: the format being an effective way to present an album of dreamlike settings, seventies inspiration, contemporary electronica, drone music and free-from improvisation. In reviews, some have suggested this work is a sort of avant-techno, though our first listening generated a feeling of a lo-fi deconstruction (maybe a bit freaky but genuine), realized using the stylizations of prog-rock epic. The rewriting here has taken fragments and insights and organized them into real environments, involving the linguistic elements of the players, mutations between analogue and digital and echoing loops. There is an overall informal aplomb present and a kaleidoscopic perspective in which one small movement changes everything: the passages are at the time dreamy and fatal, airy in their junctions, flickering in their effects and cohesive in their imaginative (but vague) narration – a little indolent and dazed. A project, in short, that, although not pervaded by extreme concepts, is still characterized by fruitful interweavings, presaging an evolution and an expressive potential that may bloom even more powerfully.

We use a video camera shooting  25 frames per second at a high shutter speed to make animations using illustrated picture discs, exploiting the same mathematical quirk as a phenakistoscope. We had a go at improvising a simple device to view the animations without a video camera…you’ll need some black cardboard, a sharp knife, a yoghurt pot, a record player and a bright light.

(here’s one we made earlier…)

The design could be ‘finessed’… e.g. we found we could watch the animation happen directly on the surface of the record (rather than by peering through the slots in the cardboard) by pointing the light through the slots at certain angles, suggesting a device incorporating a mirror and a carefully positioned light source could be very effective.