10 videos that prove that your old VHS tapes are valuable

by Jesse Locke

March 7, 2014






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Living on Video is a weekly column that unearths forgotten VHS gems, Vimeo obscurities, and YouTube oddities from the musical ether—all obsessively curated by Weird Canada music editor Jesse Locke. This week, we mine the murky mind of JFM.

The warped sounds and visions of Jesse Frank Matthews (a.k.a. JFM are a longtime personal fave. I first met the blunted beatsmith/botanist when he manned the traps for RatTail, but he’s since become a mad scientist of the sampler, dishing out pitch-shifted tape loops, echo-heavy FX and stuttering sound collages, plus a prolific stream of ADD-addled videos to accompany the tunes.

Last year’s self-titled LP on Divorce is one headnodder wormhole after another. Today sees the release of two follow-ups, with the Squat cassette from Pleasence and a hypnomixed lock-groove 7-inch. The latter is free for the first 350 grippers through the door at tonight’s Long Winter gig in Toronto. (For the uninitiated, Long Winter is the monthly arts, music, and culture series programmed by members of Fucked Up.)

This week’s column takes a slightly different format, with a guided tour through 10 of JFM’s trippiest clips, featuring director’s commentary from the madman himself.


JFM – “Don Juanna”

“I found this VHS in a Halifax free box. I think that’s Tony Curtis driving the car and being aggressively massaged at the end.”


JFM – “Lava Love” 

“This came from a friend’s older sister’s NOKTB ‘Hangin’ Tough’ video. The final seconds are from an incredible Niagara Region classic called The Phobe, which used to play everyday after school on the local TV station.”


JFM – “Felix”

“This one is a propaganda video about government conspiracies to cover up knowledge of UFOs, Area 51, and Bob Marley smoking ganja with aliens. All that good stuff.”


JFM – “Ezy2luv”

“One lonely scene from a filthy French VHS porno. The cover of the video was so offensive, I didn’t even know where to discard of it when I was done with it.”


JFM – “Druid in Ruins”

“This is made up of two different sources. One is a video I made in 2006 for art school, with a roaming interior of a mock-up of the house my mother grew up in, made by her father. The other part is an “aquarium in a box” video—a static shot of fishes swimming around (like the fireplace videos at Christmas).”


JFM – “Frozen Frisbee”

“This comes from a magic video called In the Streets. I took the entire spool out, flipped some of the frames and removed others altogether. I really like the section ‘Can you look in my mind?’ He’s serious.”


JFM – “Soundtrack to Hell”

“Halloween at Canada’s Wonderland is called Fright Night. The park is open at night, and I snuck my video camera onto the rides and shot this footage from my lap. It was made for a commission to the psych ward in St. Catharines but was denied.”


JFM – “Young Junky and the Lonesome Ghost”

“This was shot on a RatTail west coast tour in 2012. It was captured digitally from a small hand-crank vintage ‘movie-camera’ that played Mickey Mouse and the Lonesome Ghost. Mickey survives.”


JFM – “Byebye”

“This was shot at African Lion Safari with my friend Joshua Jensen Nagle. The vocals were added afterwards by Jasmyn (Burke, of RatTail and Weaves), but the original track can be found on my album, Compost.”


RatTail – “Sicko”

“This footage was taken from a video showing male strippers doing their thing, as well as behind the scenes eating pizza and pumping iron. I like the tender ending.”

Tags: Music, News, Jesse Frank Matthews, Living On Video






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