Marcellus Pittman

(Detroit / Unirhythm, Sound Signature)

Marcellus Pittman is the epitome of Detroit dance music. Raised on a mixture of rap, soul, funk, house, techno and disco, his DJ sets are just varied as that sounds, with the kind of turntable skills that come from his roots as a hip-hop DJ. He cut his teeth on Theo Parrish's label and started one of the Motor City's most renowned projects, Three Chairs—with Parrish, Moodymann and Rick Wilhite—alongside running Unirhythm, one of Detroit's best imprints. But maybe the thing that defines Pittman most is his love of unquantized rhythms, and the way he mixes them.


CLIPS Co-Op is a BIPOC led digital media and film cooperative based in Brooklyn, New York.  The goals of the Co-op are to promote community collaboration and the celebration of artistry by designing and coordinating virtual and physical platforms for artists' works. The CLIPS Co-Op model invites audiences to engage in a visual-based dialogue with our artists’ chosen medium, promote local businesses, and providing ample rhythms and drinks in addition to the visual media for a holistic memorable experience.

On our process:

“The first step is to break up the mix within the Clips Co-op group. Trying to tackle sourcing and stitching content for even 30 minutes' worth of music can seem daunting. In the case of this mix, we broke it up into four 15-17 minutes segments to curate.  We then listen to the music in a vacuum (no other sounds or images around), as in literally in the dark. If we don't have access to a dark spot, then I just close my eyes. Given my background as a cinephile, I have an unnecessarily large amount of film scenes and soundtracks stored in my memory, from which I can pull similar emotions, themes, and context from to pair with the music.From there starts the sourcing of the videos. While the mix segment plays on repeat we scour whatever video search engine we're partial to at that moment for what I saw as a connection to the mix in my original listening session. Additional helpful context on the DJ or concept of the event helps refine this process.For example, given Marcellus hails from the Midwest, the birthplace of House, Techno, (some) Funk and Motown (as well as the TRUE birth of Punk Rock with the band DEATH out of Detroit), we had a strong sense of foundational footing to work with. That said if the selections are too "on the nose" and only follow these sources it just becomes fan service and not a collaborative piece. I make sure to pull from my own history, experiences, and interests as well. From there comes the most tedious part of the process; the cutting, cropping, masking, scaling, and overlaying hundreds of splices of content into some sort of discernible visual media. There doesn't necessarily need to be an explicit narrative, but it can't be completely random either. Review from others can help with that as well. At its core, this piece came to be a homage to black rhythm, black women, black power, and also some more nebulous thematic notes of being in sync with the world; and our place as apart of the whole.”


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Refraction Festival 2020
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