Thursday, April 30, 2009

If You Go Down To The Woods Today

For this post i'm going to touch on something that I would usually avoid, namely: music videos. Now, before I begin upon my little thematic playlist, let me put the rant in Al's Music Rant for you
I've never really liked music clips - i think of them like TV advertisements. Not in their function or purpose, but in the fact that the majority of them are awful. Which means that when a good one comes along it really stands out. Too many music videos take a banal premise and run with it for the entirety of its three minutes (the bitches and bling approach), that or they'll start off well and then drop the ball or just become boring over the course of the song.
There are some great artists and directors out there who treat the music video as an artistic medium on par with their artwork, music and image; but too many bands cast off their videos as an obligation. Few are the videos that have turned me onto a new band, i might hear the track and think it's good but a bad video can really stop me from checking out more as it may show a lack of creativity. Harsh? probably Fair? definitely. The only video that springs to mind that got me on to a band i'd never heard of -with the ensuing album being thoroughly enjoyable- was Carpark North's Human.
I also revile any video that tries to cutely take a visual interpretation of the song's lyrics or the name of the band. It's too weak a concept, even for two or three minutes - so don't do it. There's an alarming tendency for artists to stick timidly to their genre. Rappers gloat for the camera while they show off their monetary prospects in slow motion, Indie kids opt for dark, jagged dance halls maybe with the occasional choreographed dance from some tre chic indie chicks, electronic artists seem allergic to appearing in their own videos instead using animation or bad actors in their stead. And so on and so forth.
I totally understand demographics and visual consistency and all that rubbish. But just once, I wish a mainstream pop artist - let's say, oooooh Britney - would work with a visionary like, mmmmmm, Michel Gondry.

....oh wait, maybe Kylie Minogue beat her to it. And guess what? i like Kylie more than Britney (sorry, Ruth).

Starting to see my point? but enough, onward and upward. Anyway, I hosted my first show for 1700 yesterday, that's right. AMR has made the leap to TV (sort of), 1700 is a live music show on Channel 31 5pm weekdays, with yours truly hosting on Thursdays with the good lass Fawn.
But enough plugging, our clip of the week was Chairlfit's Evident Utensil and it got me thinking "there's an awful lot of music clips lately that have people prancing around in a forest!" And with a little research it turns out I was absolutely right. Enjoy

Chairlift - Evident Utensil
Director - Ray Tintori

This clip uses a fancy technique called 'datamoshing' - a highly technical process whose details i won't go into here, all you need to know is it makes for a very, very cool visual. Not a bad pop song too. It's twee sing-a-long obscured by some mysterious violence that's happening visually.

MGMT - Electric Feel Director - Ray Tintori
Ah! we have an auteur on our hands, Mr. Tintori has MGMT in an equally foresty, weirdly psychedelic environment. Pretty similar sans the datamoshing technique really.

Florence & The Machine - Dog Days Are Over
Director -
Tom Beard
With this knowledge in mind, I assumed that this video too was done by Ray Tintori. It's suspiciously similar in theme and tone, perhaps there's a videos in forests for cool indie conspiracy afoot. But wait maye this all started with...

Sigur Ros - Gobbledigook (NSFW Version)
Director - Arni & Kinski

It's cheeky, innocent nudity is perfect for the bouncy acoustic incanation of the track. In short, here's a video i love as it continues the album's theme and art to a visual medium. There's something playful about it too, even if it may have inspired all these videos of people prancing about in the woods.

Death Cab For Cutie - Soul Meets Body
Director - Jon Watts

Even my beloved Death Cab join the club, sure they eventually head indoors to transmit their melancholy anthem across the globe, but that opening walk through a magic(ish) forest is pretty distinctive.

Goldfrapp - A&E
Director - Dougal Wilson

In the band's defense, this is more of a glade than a forest. But still plenty of prancing about, thanks to some cool choreography and what can only be described as 'Leave Men'. Killer track too.

Mogwai - Batcat
Director - Dominic Hailstone

Bringing us to the finish is Mogwai and their genuinely scary mini-horror movie. Set in a forest sure, but a distinct lack of frivolity here. The director, Hailstone, has previously worked with Chris Cunningham and as an effects man on Harry Potter. That explains a lot...

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