After much delay, here now is episode one of the new Synchronicity Arkive podcast, Arkiving Synchronicity. This episode is an interview I did via email with Karl Tune, recorded via some technical help for your listening enjoyment.
Click here to download it (approx. 9Mb, 33min.).
A Transcript follows after the break…
MJ: Welcome to Arkiving Synchronicity, the Synchronicity Arkive podcast. Joining me today is long-time Arkive member Karl Tune. Karl, thanks for being here.
Karl: Hi Mike! I am glad to be here. I never thought I would be here this long. The people in our synching community keep life interesting and they keep me coming back.
MJ: I guess to start off, how did you first discover the synching community, and what was your first “synchronicity” experience?
Karl: My first synching experience was watching some drunk guys at a party match a ZZ Top music album to a pornographic movie. The women at the party did not appreciate it. I was really embarrassed.
How I got here was an entirely different matter. My newspaper used to have a short blurb everyday about a different web site. One day, in ‘97 or ‘98 they wrote about a web site promoting “The Dark Side of Oz”. At that point, I found 3 web sites listing how to perform “The Dark Side of Oz”. I am sure one of them was your Arkive site. Within a week, I hosted a “Dark Side of Oz” Party using your instructions.
Then in 2001, I wanted to watch “2001: A Space Odyssey” to see how corny it was by today’s standards. I remembered that your site listed how to play Pink Floyd music to “2001” and I wanted to try that too since “The Dark Side of Oz” had worked so well for me. When I looked up your site, I was very surprised to find an internet community involved in synching. I was disappointed in the “Echoes/Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite” combination. It had too many slow moments for me. I tried matching the other Pink Floyd “Meddle” album songs to “Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite” and I was hooked on synching from then on. 2%David tried my first synch idea so I tried some of his ideas. Baker B, Andrew Wendland, Rachel, and a number of other regulars warmly welcomed me to the synching community. Like I said earlier, the people here keep me coming back with their great ideas.
MJ: So, in looking at your chronology, it looks like there was a bit of a gap between your experience of Dark Side of Oz and actually becoming an active part of the synching community? What is about the community that did finally draw you in?
Karl: Funny, I never thought of it as a gap in time. When I watched “The Dark Side of Oz”, I was just the audience. When I watched “Echoes” with “Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite”, I became a participant. I crossed the gap between audience and participant. That was not so much a gap for me because I love participating in “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”.
The other gap I had to cross was buying more Pink Floyd music. I had avoided Pink Floyd music because I did not understand it at all. But now my perception had changed. In my mind, Pink Floyd’s “Meddle” and “2001” had to be combined because “The Dark Side of Oz” worked so well. I began tinkering with “One of These Days” and Jupiter and Beyond, and thought matching them was fun. My enjoyment of synching music to unrelated movies is what drew me in to the synching community.
MJ: That switch, between audience and participant, is one of the things I find most fascinating about synching. So, not to call it a gap per se, but did it take a while for that mindset to “get its hooks in you,” so to speak? Was there anything else that kind of contributed to you making that leap?
Karl: Yes, there was. Um, let me think a minute… I’ll use the reasons I give my wife and kids about my music movie madness. First off, when I tried “Echoes” with “Jupiter and Beyond”, I was at a period in my life where I had some time to marvel at matching music to seemingly unrelated movies. I like the fact that, with many synchs, I can just hit play and enjoy them while doing my household chores late at night.
Also, I think it is wicked that Pink Floyd has what I think is an intentional alternative soundtrack to “The Wizard of Oz”. I always believed it was intentional, long before I tried it. I think it is neat that musicians might try something like that. Because matching music to movies is subjective, we may never have a definitive answer about intention or quality. But it is fun all the same.
Mike, I think your web site and the web sites of the other synchers keep us well informed and up to date. People constantly bring new ideas to our table. I get to ask if you saw what I saw and we compare notes. Otherwise “The Dark Side of Oz” would still be a rumor. Now it has become an Urban Legend. It is the constant interaction in the synching community which also attracted me.
Then there are the synchs our community has created. The Rush/Wonka Project, Shared Fantasia, Shared Fantasia 2000, Edward Zepplinhands, Beatles Invade Oz, and Darkest City are just a few of the many creations that keep me wanting to see more. They have a collective energy which I find attractive.
Another attractive aspect for me is the constant exposure to new music and music I never heard of before. My knowledge of music artists has greatly expanded due to our shared community of synchers. Since I have limited money, I used to buy the “best of” albums. But now I find that many albums have their own story to tell. I missed that because the “best of” albums gave broken fragments of a theme the artists are trying to tell. I use this as an excuse to spend all my extra money on music and movies. My music and movie collection has exploded in size because I joined you here.
These reasons bring me here. I hope I’m not rambling on. There are probably other reasons that escape me right now.
MJ: Which of your own synchronicities would you call your favorite? Are there any you are particularly proud of, or do you think they stand on their own?
Karl: I was over excited about my first synch idea “Bad Seamus Rising” and thought I found what everybody else was missing. It uses “Meddle” and “2001: A Space Odyssey”. Now I would watch my some of my early synchs and wonder why I thought they were so good. I suppose the mind changes over time. Right now, I think my best music and movie matches are in “Shared Fantasia 2000” and “Shared Animatrix”. We did not get much feedback on “Shared Fantasia 2000” and “Shared Animatrix” is only in the text stage. I’m curious if others perceive what I am trying to achieve. I hope that practice makes me better.
MJ: Getting back to what you were saying about the synching community introducing you to new artists, obviously Pink Floyd is big on everyone’s list, but I’d be curious to know what other artists might stand out for you, because of the influence of synching? Any particular favorites? You mentioned mostly music artists, are there any films that synching introduced you to, that you wouldn’t necessarily have had contact with?
Karl: I knew little of Pink Floyd. They have such wonderful instrumental sections in their music that I never heard before. The synching community exposed me to Ozric Tentacles and Jarre who are joyful to my ears. I was already a fan of Tangerine Dream and Kitaro before synching. There is a lot of good music out there. I find it is easier to match instrumental music because there are no words to have to match up.
As for movies, I do not normally watch horror flicks. You people have to stop synching to slasher films. They wear me out emotionally. Marco had a good one with “Dark Side of the Moon/Night of the Living Dead” and Rachel2 had “The Nine Inch Ring”. Great synchs but they scared me pretty bad. I do watch a lot of movies but I never bothered to own any before synching. I enjoy Fantasia, Fantasia 2000, and 2001: A Space Odyssey for the advances they made in the industry. I think I own 10 movies now. So my movie collection has expanded a bit. Buying all these movies and music is hard on my wallet.
MJ: Just curious, besides the Fantasias, and 2001, what other films made it into your library?
Karl: I got some good ones for my Birthday. I now own Fantasia, Fantasia 2000, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, Fantastic Planet, The Dark Crystal, The Corpse Bride, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Lord of the Rings, …Oh… I got Clockwork Orange and Sin City as joke gifts on me. Ha Ha…I’ve had Sin City for a year and still haven’t watched it. It’s pretty obvious that I enjoy surrealism and metaphors. There is so much hidden symbolism in these movies.
MJ: 2001 has always been one of my favorites personally, even though I didn’t quite “get it,” on my first viewing. And it’s seemed to me that, kind of like what you were saying about instrumental music, that the more abstract films seem to make good synching material. Obviously, the end of 2001 qualifies on that count, as do both Fantasias. I guess I’m always curious, what do you think the end of 2001 is “about”?
Karl: I didn’t get the ending of 2001 either when I first watched it. I later read the book and have a better grasp of what happened. Dave and Hal are battling over the space ship, the metaphorical watering hole. Dave uses his greatest weapon, his mind, to defeat the computer and survive. His comprehension is expanded, just as the ape’s comprehension was expanded. This gives us hope at the dawn of the space age. There’s so much to gain if we do not annihilate ourselves with a nuclear war. Well… that part did not make it into the movie… but it is there in the book.
I first bought 2001 and Fantasia to try 2%David’s synching ideas. Those were the only two movies I owned for awhile. I lent Fantasia to friends and did not see that one again for a few years, so naturally I matched all the music I owned to the only movie in my collection. I am having more fun as my collection expands. I do notice that our community uses abstract films which is groovy with me.
MJ: Now that your film library has widened up a bit, any recent synchs you’ve come up with that you’re ready to share with the community?
Karl: Well ah… I’ve tinkered a bit with my new movies. It takes many hours to find a decent match. Um, most of the time lately, I don’t find much of a match at all. It is hard to compete with great stuff like Stegokitty’s “Contact/Echoes” and Mike Casey’s “Devo to Oz”. Even Stuff I don’t care for like… Catsiam’s “Toy Wall” and Marco’s “Apocolypse Now/The Wall” both have so much matching going on throughout the revelation. When I do find a decent match, I have to think up decent story to tell with it. That is part of my expression.
I did match one song by Ozric Tentacles with the movie “Fantastic Planet”. I’ll have fun matching the rest of the album. I’m doing a lot of one hit wonders with “Fantastic Planet” using… Oh… songs like “Mexican Radio” and “Children of the Sun”.
MJ: Speaking of your story-telling with synchs, that’s certainly been a distinctive feature of your submissions to the Arkive database. What led you to start creating those? Is that just another layer to the synchs themselves, in your view? I guess that almost looks to me like it’s starting to get into baker’s multi-layered territory, a little, so I’m curious what kinds of thinking goes on behind it…
Karl: I was writing stories with my synch descriptions from the beginning. It was not a conscious decision. I really don’t know why. It is just a part of who I am and my artistic expression. I have a story for everything. There are multiple reasons for everything. You could say I talk too much.
I was worried that you would deem my stories too irrelevant or radical for your site. I had time to polish my stories on 2%David’s synch message board before I ever started listing them in Baker B’s board and then eventually on your “Synchronicity Arkive”.
Now I’ve got to find what Baker B’s mentions about multi-layering. Do you mean his Tiling system? He has some amazing mathematical and spatial reasoning for synchronicity which make me cross my eyes. I think he incorporates this in his “Rainbow Sphere” which he claims to disprove intention by Pink Floyd. He is also big on metaphorical stories.
MJ: Yeah, I have to admit, that although I find the thought patterns behind them pretty interesting, that at times my own eyes have gone a little crossed on some of the more mathematical reasoning Baker has put out there. But then I’m not really a mathematical kind of guy, I guess. I just find it interesting how synching itself spreads out into other forms, beyond strict audio/video pairings. I have to admit, although I enjoy audiovisual synching, that the concept of synching I personally use is a generally a lot broader… and it’s what keeps me interested in running the Arkive for the community, rather than the ebb and flow of my own interest in specific audio/video synching.
So, what’s your feeling on the current state of synching, as a community and as a hobby?
Karl: I take a psychological approach to our hobby. Others may take it philosophically. Yet others may take a technological approach. Whatever way, I still enjoy playing music to movies while I fold laundry or make lunch for the next workday. I think it keeps my brain active. As long as there is good music and good movies, I’ll be matching them. I also enjoy watching other people’s great resonant ideas, however they arrive at them.
“The Dark Side of Oz” has become a famous urban legend. Even people who have never witnessed it, consider it a bizarre fact. Theaters around the globe are now showing “The Dark Side of Oz”. Anybody who finds this interesting will look it up on the internet. This word of mouth rumor will continue to bring new faces into the synchronicity web ring.
Actually, probably every site that lists “The Dark Side of the Oz” lists “The Synchronicity Arkive”. They have become synonymous. And I’m glad that the first thing you do is list other great synch sites at the top of your home web page. There is very positive cooperation here. We do not have to be uniform to be unified.
I also find it very encouraging that other members of our synch society continue to create websites and message boards. There is definitely a lot of interest in the subject. Members do come and go, but I see the participation continue. Leighton, Marco, and O are all prolific synchers. They all surpass Michael Allen, who we all long ago considered the King of Synchronicity. And Andrew Wendland continues to amass a large list on his site. And the “Synchronicity Arkive” continues to improve and grow. Again, I am very happy with how we exist here now.
MJ: Speaking of “prolific” syncher O, I wonder what your feeling is on that whole situation. Did O disrupt your enjoyment of the Arkive and the synching community? Did you ever watch any of his synchs? And uh, I guess, was he as abusive towards you as he was to some others in the community?
Karl: I would rather talk about Rachel, Rachel2, and Nakoudo. They were all a positive influence on the message boards as were many other people. Rachel went off to college and tried to recruit more synchers. Rachel2 has amazing dreams and was lead singer for a band. She would sneak here during work. And Nakoudo has some hilarious Michael Jackson synchs. You gotta love ’em.
O-70420689 wanted us to worship him. As you know, we call him O. He’s very excited about synchronicity and was trying to rally us to become more active and unified. He also really wanted people to watch his ideas. Only, O grossly overposted in discussions, making it hard to follow anybody’s conversation. He was very abrasive and abusive to the point of driving many regulars away. I also got the feeling he was trying to build a fight club instead of a synchers club. From what I experienced here, synching is more a personal journey rather than a team effort. That is what made the Shared Fantasia and Shared Fantasia 2000 so extraordinary. I could feel the collective energy of our community in those collaborative works of art.
I did watch one of O’s ideas. It was pretty good and original. But so many other people have great ideas. I eagerly watch any of Leighton or Marco’s ideas. I’ve watched far more of their ideas because they are such nice guys. Marco has a terrific book out with far too many revelations to mention. His book had a huge psychological impact on me. And “The Synchronicity Arkive” makes our ideas look so professional. I am beginning to feel like we have a legitimate art form here.
O was a little abrasive towards me but the biggest insult he called me was “potato head”. Ha Ha. He was far FAR more insulting to the rest of the community. I repeatedly asked him to be nice to our community. And I did ask you to ban him for awhile because he was driving away many of our friends. Many regulars said they left because of O. I also think he was bringing bad karma to the synch board. People were becoming more combative. Mike, I’m glad you protect us from O. Life is more relaxed now that O is taking a forced vacation from “The Synchronicity Arkive”.
I’d also rather talk about Michael Allen, Key, and Baker B who were all frequent posters with unique, fun, and meaningful thoughts. I actually thought Pink Floyd was talking to me on one message board once but it was really Michael. I was SO fooled.
MJ: Yeah, the “O experience” was definitely a negative for the community and I think it’s taken a long time to really recover from that. That’s probably one reason I keep re-examining it myself… I can’t say that I really enjoyed having to be the “benevolent dictator,” and it’s something I still struggle with. I guess I would rather talk about any of the names you mentioned, as more positive examples of the community. The worst thing for me about the impact of O is that some of those names are still missing from our little corner of the net, since that happened…
Do you still talk to any of the synchers who left us a while back (regardless of whether it was the influence of O or not)? I still feel like the community itself is a little bit shaky, after all of the rather erratic changes I’ve made to the Arkive itself in the last year or so, and I’m wondering at ways to both bring folks back, and strengthen the community itself…
Karl: Hey, you have every right to make decisions about your site and to enforce the rules. Your site is better for it. I expect people will come and go on the internet as their interests change and grow.
True, the community has changed over the years but the interest level is still similar. I don’t expect anybody to stay in one place forever. And I expect those who do stay, to have the same arguments and discussions that we love to argue and discuss.
Sure, people contact me here on your site all the time. I think many of the old regulars silently stop by and read what the newer crowd has to argue and discuss.
Because your “Synchronicity Arkive” is synonymous with “The Dark Side of Oz”, I feel you have done as much as anybody could do to strengthen our community. You always take feedback and cater your site to our needs. Your web site is light years beyond what you first started with. To me, your site changes are always positive and growing. Because I use your web site as my web site, I try to contribute when I can since your site is very interactive.
MJ: Is there any “must have” feature for you, interactively speaking, that the Arkive currently lacks, that you’d like to see? Or are there any other new directions or items you’d like to see become a larger part of the website itself, or even the community itself?
Karl: I think you need a page devoted to web links and lucky numbers for the lottery. I like to check the results of goofy polls. I thought your Syncher’s Anthology was a fabulous idea to document our hobby. I am really curious to learn more about the people who synch music to movies. Do we have any common threads that make us interested in synching?
MJ: Well, one of the things I’m looking to do by starting this podcast is to get to know members of the community a little more. Honestly, I was a bit disappointed that the Anthology idea never quite got off the ground… but I do still have some ideas in the back of my head on the general thought of a book. I do think it would be interesting to see some more “concrete” relics of our hobby, but obviously the copyright issue makes that difficult.
Speaking of which, here’s a question I almost never hear feedback on… as a member of the community, do you find my constant “attention” to the copyright issue helpful or more of a distraction from synching in general? My fiancé tends to think that I get a little overzealous on that particular issue, although I think it is becoming such an over-riding issue for all of society, that I can’t help talking about it… plus I think it’s especially relevant to synching.
Karl: Yes, the podcast is a great way to augment the Syncher’s Anthology.
As far as copyright, I think you are foresighted in an area that really affects synching. Being slightly proactive now can make a difference in the future. Only um, I don’t comprehend how I as the individual can make a difference against corporate copyright lawyers… unless I had a corporate lawyer of my own, telling me what to think in the courtroom. It’s all interesting but I would waste energy worrying about it. It might help me if somebody explained something concrete I could do about it. You have been enlightened enough to bring it to our attention. Thank you.
MJ: Other than copyright, are there any other issues that you think the community faces? Obviously, as the recent mention of the hobby on the Mercury News site demonstrated, the hobby itself is still regularly dismissed as “a stoner waste of time” by many. Do you think that perception handicaps a more “in-depth” understanding of the art of audiovisual synching?
Karl: It’s possible that the general public feels that synching is just a bunch of bong wash. But we who are regulars know that our many members come from all walks of life. I personally have never used illegal drugs and drugs are certainly not a requirement to match music to movies. I’d hate to think that a newcomer would believe they had to use drugs to perceive synchronicity. This personal journey in art. What is beauty for one person may not make any sense to another.
Back in the ‘60’s I was drawn to the art of Picasso, Dali, and many other artists, like a moth to a flame. I was irresistibly drawn to surrealism. Not because I used LSD, but because the art thought outside the box of what was normal. I wanted to think outside my limited square box. I believe an education also helps me adapt to the constant change in the world. So stay in school. There are always new ideas and new perceptions to challenge us.
I came here under the perception that anybody who listened to Pink Floyd had to use cannabis. That was the silly reason it took me so long to listen to Pink Floyd’s music. But I was drawn here all the same and discovered so much good music. I’ve wanted to try “The Dark Side of Oz” since 1981 when I first heard about it. Another member, Simon, reports attending a “Dark Side of Oz” Party in 1976. As long as “The Dark Side of Oz” is an urban legend, people will come join us. And they will get out of it, what they put into it.
MJ: Speaking of the personal journey in art, how would you say that synching affects the rest of your life? Earlier you mentioned that you take more of a psychological approach to the hobby. How does that inform how you approach synching, and how does that carry over into other areas of your life?
Karl: Synching exposes me to new music which I believe improves my personal quality of life. I have recently read a little bit about music so I can better understand the beautiful noise I listen to. I have a very limited knowledge of music. Psychology explains what we perceive. I don’t think this knowledge makes me any better at synching. Practice probably goes a longer way at making me more experienced. You know the old saying, “Experience is recognizing the same mistake when you make it again.”
In psychology, what you perceive is based on previous experience. I think the rest of my life carries over into synching. As far as affecting my life, I now search for hidden messages in music and movies. I have learned to keep an open eye to this added dimension of music matching movies. I see more subliminal clues in movies than I used to.
I do think synching has had a profound affect on the rest of my family. They are profoundly annoyed that I play movies muted. We have big wrestling matches over the remote control.
MJ: Are there any other over-riding philosophical, psychological or other concerns that you find that synching addresses somehow? If someone “on the street” were to ask you, what synching means, how would you respond?
Karl: Yes, there are other over-riding philosophical, psychological and technical areas that multi-media addresses.
When somebody on the street randomly talks about “the Dark Side of Oz” to me, I feign ignorance and try to pick their perception of this added dimension. Why do you think Pink Floyd created a sound track to “The Wizard of Oz”? That would explain all the weird sounds in the music. What good does it do if it was supposed to be secret? Then the talk goes in to band fan trivia on their part. I consider us here as experts on synching and I won’t learn anything if I do all the talking. In all cases, we know far more as a group.
If you were to ask me about synching, I would talk about perception. We only live in the present. Our minds remember a past and project a future. To project the future, you need to understand cause and effect. That is why perception is important. We draw on what we remember. Then I switch over to modern surrealism where perception is altered in unexpected ways. You can combine your senses in the enjoyment of art. Like seeing a pretty red rose while smelling its lovely fragrance. Or eating popcorn at the movies. The visual is tied into the taste of the popcorn.
To me, harmonizing music to movies is a hobby which has no right or wrong answers, just many flavors. It challenges my brain in many unexpected ways. And it is interesting to witness what other people use as cues to synchronize music to movies.
MJ: Backing up for just a sec, you mentioned there that your family is kind of annoyed by you turning down the sound on movies. So, I take it that they don’t exactly “get” the full concept of synching? I’m curious, what do they think of this “enigmatic” hobby of yours, and the community around it?
Karl: Ohhhh my, they know what I’m trying to do. They think it is silly and they tolerate me a little. My kids talk to me like I’m a little child when they tell me to play the movie and keep the music off. They whimsically say that it’s OK to play a movie without any music, really! And they are amazed that there are other people out there like me trying to harmonize music to movies. My wife says that if the rest of you in synch land claimed to be aliens, she would believe I was one too. She has suspected this for quite some time now. What we do is just not normal and she cannot believe we put so much effort into it. Right now, my wife refers to the rest of you synchers as my imaginary friends. But you are not imaginary because real things, that manifest themselves in my house, are created by the synching community. I buy music and rent movies you all recommend. I print out your directions to line the synchs up. Every movie I rent, my family is suspicious that I am going to synch to it and they try to put the movie back on the shelf. Yes, they think we are a bit crazy. My wife wishes you synched to better music like Barry Manilow or James Taylor. She says our psychedelic music is driving her crazy as it obviously has done to me.
MJ: That’s pretty funny. I think, bottom line, synching isn’t for everyone…
Well, Karl, I think we’re just about out of time for this installment, so is there anything else you’d like to tell the community of synchers out there?
Karl: Yes, there is more to life than the internet. Everybody needs to get out of the house more and socialize. Invite your buddies out for a dinner and drinks. Ask that woman or man out on a date. And best of all, live well.
MJ: Thanks again for joining me, I’m looking forward to our role reversal podcast, which I’m working on as “Episode 2” of Arkiving Synchronicity.
Karl: It’s been a great pleasure here. I’m looking forward to the next round with you.