Every Thing

A snail on a viola scroll experiences mellow depression:

Song up on Soundcloud.

This is the third in a series of “Crazy Snail” videos, after a quick snail video throwing some footage together, and then what was supposed to be a quick video throwing more footage together but accidentally turned into something more.

I had the concept for this one not long after I finished Crazy Snail 2, and recorded a mock-up of the beginning of the song. I got stuck at the point that I needed a violin, and figured I’d get one eventually, so it sat. For a year.

I’m finally moving out of my snail-infested apartment, so I figured now was the time. I had the bright idea that an electric violin would let me record without worrying about both making and recording noise in my thin-walled apartment. Maybe I could actually record something without my upstairs neighbor turning up his music to unbearable levels in noise-revenge!

I hunted outside for a snail and found one hidden in the leaves within minutes. Filming snail footage takes patience and improvisation and snail knowledge. You can drip water on a sleeping snail to convince it that it might be a good time to check out what’s up in the world, but besides that, one cannot coerce a snail into doing much of anything. All you can do is follow it along and take advantage of the individual snail’s personality.

And snails do have personalities. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my years of snail filming experience, it’s that snails are individuals. They behave in different, and recognisable, ways. I would have thought they’d be rather algorithmic, so this surprised me.

Luckily this snail was nothing like the snail the song’s about, and took to the viola scroll quite happily. The way it arched and swayed while I was playing! The way it happily curled up to sleep when I was done, right at the top! How it perched on a tuning peg and regarded its spiral companion… I wonder if the scroll triggered familiarity in its snail mind?

I knew I had some great footage. Now time to produce the song!

It turned out the cheap electric violin I got for this makes more extra noise than any amount of neighbors and leafblowers ever could, but it was too late to turn back now, so I went ahead and used my trusty old viola. Heavy, loud, and has survived past video abuse (see What Is Up With Noises). Had to change up the composition a lot, from high tiny delicate life to dark and low and slow, and of course as soon as I start recording, my neighbor turns up the beats.

Ah well, so much for production quality. You can hear the distant pulse of pumping bass in a bunch of my videos, and hopefully this will be the last, what with the new place and all. In the end, with the many tracks overlaid with echo it evens out to a low distant thunder that I kind of like, which makes me wish that I had bothered a little more with production quality in other aspects. Oh well.

And none of those things are the things people care or ask about after watching the video. They want to know about EMOTIONS. Well! I’d meant to capture an infinite curled-up moment of a particular feeling, including the odd self-aware beauty of feeling that feeling. That stuff is in a snail video because the snail is the perfect metaphor, literally curling up in its delicate spiral shell, an ugly distasteful thing portrayed in all its first-person beauty.