I am a big fan of David Firth.
A lot of people took notice of Mr. Firth, after he released the dark and humorous “Salad Fingers” videos on www.newgrounds.com and I guess you could say I was one of them. If you haven’t seen the “Salad Fingers” series, or are wondering what the hell kind of name “salad fingers” implies, then I suggest you go watch it at Mr. Firth’s site: http://fat-pie.com/, however be warned, it is strange and creepy.
Dark, humorous, strange, and creepy are just some of the words I would use to describe David’s work. He truly understands what makes things scary, unnerving and uncomfortable. It is not jump-scares that truly frighten viewers, nor is it just the unusual or unexpected that make us truly uncomfortable, more than both those things it is the uncanny. When things almost feel normal, but there is something out of place, or when there is something very wrong and yet the scene and the characters do not respond to the weirdness, and it makes us the viewers uneasy. By not explaining twisted visuals or actions we are forced to try to rationalize in a hurry strange scenes that really have no earthly explanation. By withholding information from us, we are forced to try to make sense of the unknown, and it is the unknown that frightens us. Mr. Firth is a genius at creating such scenarios.
It also helps tremendous that David Firth has a great talent for creating atmosphere. Within that atmosphere is his choice of music.
I guess being an animator and story teller is just two of David’s skills, he is also something of a musician, and impressively he creates all the music for his own videos.
A million years ago (October 2008) I did an amateur review of Grape Digging Sharon Fruits’ “Chasing Butterflies” I probably did a poor man’s effort to support the acoustic band endeavors of Firth and his friends, but hey I tried: http://colinkellymusicinreview.blogspot.ca/2011/03/october-2008-grape-diggers-chasing.html
I think it’s high time I ramble about Locust Toybox, Firth’s solo music endeavour.
David makes it an issue to use as many different instruments as he can, from broken flutes to toy pianos. He will create a rhythm section by manipulating a broken record’s sound on a beat up old record player and add the necessary melody from seemingly any source, so long as it brings a distinct and unforgettable sound forth with. The music of Locust Toybox makes great white noise in the background while working or studying, but it is also hypnotic when taken in fully and completely. Best of all it helps create that atmosphere I was talking about earlier in his videos.
I think my favorite single video by David Firth is “Roof Tiling.”
“Is there some music playing?
No! You do.
I wish you had cancer.
I’ll watch you rot.”
That is a perfect set of sentences to entice and scare people. There is so much mystery and so much madness. It is disjointed and chaotic and yet coherent. But what really brings “Roof Tiling” alive is the background score. A song Firth has titled “Hyper Darts Challenge.”
Knowing what we know about David Firth and his flash videos, “Hyper Darts Challenge” is unsurprisingly a hypnotic song of various sounds from unknown sources. Maybe a toy piano is being used for the melody? Maybe a conversation from parliament has been greatly distorted into sounding like water sounds make up the rhythm? I have no idea and no way to know for certain. I guess we could email David and find out.
Whatever unorthodox approach Firth has undertaken to create “Hyper Darts Challenge” is really missing the point, the song on its own would and probably should be considered cool and relaxing, but of course this collection of sound was created for a video about roof tiling and after that experience it is nigh impossible to remove the dark ideas and the decent into madness our protagonist Jonathan experience from the groovy beats within. Is there some music playing?
David Firth is not a greedy man you can enjoy everything he produces for free on his site. He is yet another example of a diamond in the rough that we can find on the muddy swamp that is the internet if we just look hard enough. Another radical artist that may never have found a home if not for the strange wonder that is the online world. I spend a lot of time talking about music, and the music Firth makes is really good, but he is so much more than just that. Check out http://fat-pie.com/ and experience it all for yourself. There hasn’t been too much activity on there for a while but there is a new Locust Toybox album that fits nicely into the vein of this dialogue.
- King of Braves.