Video: Agritexture – an exploration of the rural environment
Agritexture is the first in a series of experimental shorts exploring how farming and nature have shaped the rural environment.
Shot on a Red Cinema Camera, Paul Stevenson explored his local countryside of Somerset to find how centuries of farming practices have carved and dictated every scene of the landscape and focused on how the wild has endured and adapted around the tracks, rivers, fields, buildings and forests.
Thom Thomas-Watkins explains the aim of the video and how it was made
The film celebrates the imagery and beauty of this and we decided to just use music to drive and personify the intimacy and expanse of the surroundings. It aims to leave the viewer to make up their own mind on the impact or to just enjoy the ride through a modern-day rural landscape.
The aim of the video is to conjure an impression of it being a strange new place or you were seeing something familiar in a new light, I chose to write the music in a 7/8 time signature which doesn’t let your attention drift and has a tendency of pulling you in. The pulse gets pushed a beat ahead every bar by a quaver, as appose to the steady 4/4 western music listeners are used to. I was aware this time signature is also used for Tubular Bells, which was made (more) famous by The Exorcist, so tried to avoid it being creepy and lent more on alluring and energised.
The next stages involved Paul filming over a series of weeks spontaneously on cold mornings, spare evenings and days off. Our time to contribute to the project didn’t coincide, so I capture sound in the local surroundings where I live in rural Devon. I captured the local forest and the farm tracks but the best sounds came from leaving the recorder next to my bird feeder in the garden and getting close up sounds of the Thrushes, Swallows and Martins. Most of the clicks and rustling sounds in the percussion are all from the birds and a few sounds made it in from the field gates and forest.
Once the cuts started flowing I adapted the mix of the music to grow and expand with the journey but keeping a divide between the machined land and the woodland.
Watch the video