“In Praise of Shadows” tours Japan’s transportation systems in time-lapse. This runs the gamut from the massive monorails of Kobe and Chiba, the automated transit in Tokyo, and the trains of Osaka, as well as more modest transport methods–escalators, taxis, crosswalks, rickshaws, and sushi conveyor belts.
While the first two installments of At The CONFLUX are exclusively nocturnal, “In Praise of Shadows” begins at dawn. Twilight gradually approaches, shadows sweep the city, and night falls, concluding high above the city where Aerial Arterial began.
It takes its title from a 1933 essay by the Japanese author and novelist Jun’ichirō Tanizaki. Tanizaki uses shadows (both real and metaphoric) to contrast the subtlety of traditional Japanese aesthetics with the gleaming light of the modern era.
The music is brighter than the previous installments. Clarinet, upright bass, and violin chords and lines punctuate simple koto-inspired melodies of the piano. Field recordings of train announcements, monorail accelerations, crosswalk jingles, elevator chimes, conversing crowds, and summer cicadas decorate the texture.
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“In Praise of Shadows” is the third and final installment of At The CONFLUX, a short film that explores the rhythm of urban Japan and its people.
A complete gear and location list can be found at attheconflux.com .
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At the CONFLUX was shot during two trips to Japan. In May and June of both 2014 and 2015. Editing began in earnest in November of 2015 along with the composition of the music.
I recorded the solo piano part in early April at Sound Pure studios in Durham, NC, with the help of recording engineer, Artem Smirnov. I recorded the koto melodies in my home studio.
Members of The Deviant Septet, Karen Kim—violin, Bill Kalinkos—clarinet, Brad Balliett—bassoon, Doug Balliett—bass, Mike Gurfield—trumpet, Matthew, Melore—trombone, Jared Soldiviero—percussion recorded the instrumentals with recording engineer Rick Nelson.
The time-lapses were shot in raw (with a 5D Mark III and a Sony A7s) developed in Lightroom, and edited in Adobe Premiere Pro CC. I composed the music at the piano with paper and pencil, input it into Finale 2014, recorded the music into Pro Tools in two separate recording sessions, processed the field recording in Ableton and Max MSP, and executed the final edits in Adobe Audition and Premiere.
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Music and Images © Justin Tierney
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Cast: Justin Tierney