04/04/2012 10:11 am ET Updated Jun 04, 2012

SXSW Flashback: Under The Iron Bridge With Soul Track Mind (VIDEO)

I was invited to film some Rubber Tracks sessions at the Converse/The Fader Fort during SXSW, and the afternoon I made it in with my camera served as a reminder that sometimes the raw process is more arresting to witness than the finished result.

Speaking of process-awareness, by way of an important aside, the 2012 SXSW Film Festival debuted what is, to my feeble mind, one of the all-time-greatest pure-Pop-process-aware-horror-movies-with-a-moral, The Cabin In The Woods, about which much will be written in the coming weeks. Here's a trailer:

Soul Track Mind, filmed by Michael Vazquez


"There are those who live now/Just to knock you down...You gotta get up/Get up/Get up off the ground..." Ain't it the truth, brother.


Instead of the retro ensembles he and the rest of the, well, ensemble, are usually decked-out-in ("decked-out-in" -- great phrase), Soul Track Mind's lead singer Donovan Keith is in full recording studio utilitarian mode, visually reduced herein to a tank-top, a headphone cord, a creaking door and a warm, naked light bulb whose edge is tapered by an enveloping darkness, the enhanced gravity of which doesn't seem to allow the light to travel past a minimal point, after which it is engulfed by the palpable dust-mite cosmos of a tiny room which was arrived at after a doggedly hot, imposingly pensive walk over a dirty creek, across rain tracks, then through a dust field on the far side of the overpass, and into a corrugated tin structure, a kind of outpost.

Anticipating a long shoot of multiple players, I instead happened upon a very funky and raw recording session which I instinctively began shooting, over the sound of instruments being tuned in the larger room, which itself became quiet for much of this take. For this clip, I've opted not to include the ambient sounds of the musos in the other room (though it is terrific documentary stuff) and have inserted the dry audio of the booth session, prepped for me by engineer Brad Worrell (no relation to the great Bernie Worrell, who I filmed playing with Bootsy Collins at Bonnaroo). I did include in the opening, the monitor playing back the other instruments just long enough to meditate on the transition to a cappella, and the moments between the moments of voice, light.

By way of a blogger disclaimer, I was gifted a pair of Converse hi-tops, a Converse watch, David Guetta MXR headphones from beats by Dr. Dre. (which include a portrait of Dre, suitable for framing) and free whiskey and tea. As the fates would have it, I needed new shoes after stepping into the river filming an Under The Iron Bridge session the very next day.

Extra-credit viewing:

You can watch Kal Mutsa's Under The Iron Bridge session: HERE

The performance and oral history I filmed with The Editors (the band, not the staff) at The Fader: Editors, Pt. 1 VIDEO Editors, Pt. 2 VIDEO

Bands interested in the Converse Rubber Tracks project can find out more HERE

Thanks to the artists and publicists who helped make these Under The Iron Bridge sessions so much fun -- for this shoot, thanks to Keith G. and Soul Track Mind.

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