Tag Archives: music video

Video Rundown: Matthew Dear / Oh Land / Katy B

Matthew Dear, “Slowdance”

The video for Matthew Dear’s “Slowdance” is a monochromatic collage about “the disruption of memory, at it’s visual core,” according to filmmaker Charles Bergquist. These disruptions are expressed through beat-matching cuts and visual effects that lend the clip the look of degraded film or mixed paint. The blend of urban decay and fleeting romance echoes the themes of Dear’s Black City.

Oh Land, “White Nights”


Video music auteurs Canada
craft a whimsical, surreal clip for Danish singer-songwriter Oh Land. The result is a musical version of Inception, if directed by Michel Gondry. Not as frenetic as their earlier videos, they take a more traditional approach with their choreography. Oh Land is a joy to listen and watch, whether in hipster-friendly Indian headdress, 50s styling, or animal-print.

Katy B, “Witches’ Brew”

http://vimeo.com/27247269

One of the strongest song’s on Katy B‘s On A Mission gets an equally vibrant video. Colin Tilley keeps his focus on the chanteuse, playing a bit with the titular witchcraft. A fine example of focusing on a singer’s inherent sexuality without resorting to the lowest common denominator.

Video Rundown: Björk / Little Dragon / Pure X

I struggled to find a common thread between these videos, and there might not be one. A music video maven, a de riguer style, and a forbidden suggestion comprise this week’s Video Rundown.

Björk, “Crystalline”

Michel Gondry pairs up with frequent muse Björk for her “Crystalline” video. A vivid combination of stop motion and traditional animation, the clip is a dance-club version of A Trip the Moon (a film that has influenced music videos before). Gondry translates Björk’s lyrics literally: “crystals grow like plants” and “crystallizing galaxies / spread out like my fingers.” The result is mesmerizing; the song’s drum-and-bass breakdown particularly so.

Little Dragon, “When I Go Out”

“When I Go Out” on Little Dragon’s latest effort (Ritual Union) is sparse and ambient. The video by Italy’s Emanuele Kabu fills in the empty space of the song with a sensory-overloading video. A collage of discrete, 2D images layered to create movement and depth creates a GIF kaleidoscope effect (popularlized by everyone from M.I.A. to the Traphouse crew) that is as hypnotic is the song’s deep house groove.

Pure X, “Easy”

Shoegazers Pure X team up with director Malcolm Elijah for the video for “Easy,” the most upbeat track on their Acéphale debut Pleasure. The clip is built on fleeting glimpses of S&M (the theme of the album’s cover). But like their sound, the leather-gloved hands and stiletto heels are difficult to grasp. Instead of the fuzzy feedback of the music, however, the audience is awash in deep reds or the unnerving bleach of negative film.

Video Rundown: Tittsworth & Alvin Risk / Bikini / Does It Offend You, Yeah?

The “party as video” is nothing new, but here are three distinct takes on an age-old concept.

Tittsworth & Alvin Risk – “Pendejas”

The one you’ve all been waiting for: a clip that captures the sweat and swagger of moombahton, filmed in one of its chief incubators. Directed by Rand Rosenberg, “Pendejas” combines footage from a rowdy Tropixxx party with just enough touches of urban life to keep it grounded. “Que Que” might have beaten Tittsworth and Alvin Risk to the punch, but this is the first true moombahton video.

Bikini – “ACheerlaeder”

Dance-pop outfit Bikini paints a picture of Hamptons-style extravagance in their (NSFW) video for “ACheerlaeder.” Vivid with the clarity that only HD can provide, the clip fills in the blanks of what you don’t see in Gossip Girl or American Apparel ads. Fleeting scenes of boarding school preps firing Roman candles out of a Mercedes convertible, a suited duo steering a speed boat, and the requisite between-the-sheets intimacy mingle with some stray images: one woman in armor and another planking nude. Trashy, yet refined.

Does It Offend You, Yeah? – “The Wrestler”

The latest from unofficial video mavens the High5Collective is less a party video than their offering for “T.I.O.N.” Still, hipsters recreating the most famous scene from Office Space is evocative as any scene from a rager. The video’s second half gets tribal; the man versus machine/return to nature theme fits the natural/artificial contrast that DIOYY inhibit in their brand of dance-punk.

http://vimeo.com/25991303

Meet the High5Collective, masters of the unofficial video

“We make videos for artists that inspire us.”

That simple credo comes from the High5Collective. If you don’t know their name yet, you soon will. While music video directors CANADA use the traditional, artist-commissioned model, the High5Collective (or H5C) is trying something different: producing high-quality – but unofficial – videos on spec. Coupled with a low-information mystique and a reliance on social media like Tumblr, H5C is firmly in touch with the zeitgeist.

H5C appeared out of nowhere about a month ago, with a video for The Weeknd’s “The Morning.” Like the song, the clip is a lurid tribute to debauchery, complete with half-dressed club rats and expansive shots of the desert. Straying from form, however, is the video’s dip into darkness: a metaphorical take on the psychic damage that the club lifestyle entails.

http://vimeo.com/24453255

The collective has also tackled songs by the Internet driven, crew-of-the-moment, Odd Future. H5C’s video for Frank Ocean’s “We All Believe” continues the visual feel of “The Morning,” even if there isn’t as strong a thread from song to video. Like a better version of Rihanna’s “Man Down,” the clip is a tale of assault, revenge, and murder. Again, H5C opts for a sinister narrative and an unsettling conclusion.

http://vimeo.com/24812777

Their recently released video for Tyler, the Creator’s “Transylvania” attempts to capture the spirit of the earliest Odd Future clips (notably “EARL“). “Transylvania,” one of the hardest songs on Goblin, is the perfect soundtrack for some wolf gang-esque mayhem: skateboarding, drug-use, underage drinking, violence, theft, and eventually (and predictably), date rape. Like KIDS, it’s shocking because of its verisimilitude.

http://vimeo.com/25394063

Rounding out the collective’s output is a clip for Sander Kleinenberg’s electrohouse anthem “T.I.O.N.” The video is straight-forward but effective: one of those mythic parties of youth, with enough oddly colored drinks and sexual experimentation to go around. Also, body paint.

http://vimeo.com/25065341

Will the High5Collective be able to convert unofficial videos into official ones? In an age where Kreayshawn gets a $1 million contract after one video goes viral, the right combination of talent and savvy goes a long way. The High5Collective is blessed with both.

Video Rundown: Nightwave / Adventure / Chad Valley

Three videos with drastically different styles: post-MTV sampling; breezy hand-held; film school symbolism. United by a common theme, each clip is a meditation on what it is to “feel” (that was the easy part – it’s right there in each song title).

Nightwave – Feel

Formerly known as 8Bitch, the Slovenian Londoner Nightwave makes future bass that is true to her name. The video for “Feel,” off the EP of the same name, is a bubbling club track teeming with energetic synths and rave whistles. The video chops up the seminal coming-of-age film The Graduate, pushing the quick cuts of the Mike Nichols’ film to the extreme.

Adventure – Feels Like Heaven

As Adventure, Baltimore’s Benjamin Boeldt has transitioned from diehard chiptuner to synth pop crooner. In the video for “Feels Like Heaven,” Boeldt goes on some adventures of his own: jet skiing, sky-diving, and toying with some multi-colored skulls a la Dan Deacon. Both the video and song provide some airy, summertime fun.

Chad Valley – Now That I’m Real (How Does It Feel?)

The video for Chad Valley’s “Now That I’m Real” has that love-lorn, art school short film feel – in a good way. Beautifully shot in lush black and white by Lucy Bridger, the clip focuses on a couple and their interactions with a few found objects.

Video Rundown: Brenmar / The Weeknd / Tyler the Creator

Here are three new videos that challenge the concept of sexuality in the format. Audiences are used to dancers, models, and objects of affection in clips; what happens when these sex objects are taken out of their element?

Brenmar – Taking It Down

The video for Brenmar’s “Taking It Down” flips the concept of the lap dance: the dancer keeps her clothes on as she takes off Brenmar’s… hair. Intercut with scenes from a dreamlike, after-hours rave in the barber shop, the clip complements the Marques Houston-sampling slice of rhythm and bass. Who knew a straight razor shave could be so sexy?

The Weeknd – The Morning

From the High 5 Collective comes another unofficial – yet slickly produced – video for a song by the Weeknd. Like the clip for “What You Need,” this one for “The Morning” features semi-dressed club girls during the morning after. But as these four wander home from partying in the desert, things take a turn for the weird. Models, cocaine, the Devil – what doesn’t this video have?

http://vimeo.com/24453255

Tyler the Creator – She (feat. Frank Ocean)

Odd Future has come a long way from lo-fi skate videos. The clip for Tyler’s “She” actually has a narrative, albeit an OFWGKTA-approved one about stalking and violence. Tyler (who also directed) appears as the ski-mask and Supreme clad Goblin, stalking Frank Ocean’s girlfriend. The twisted tale of high school devotion ends with Tyler smiling and practically winking at the camera, acknowledging that the video – and the Odd Future MO – are both fantasies.

Video Rundown: Memories of the 90's Edition

Happy Memorial Day. Let me begin by asking, why are you reading blogs? Get outside, fire up the BBQ, pour some drinks (may I suggest Trailer Park Punch? 1 part Jack Daniels, 1 part lemonade), and get the party started. For some inspiration, here are three videos that represented the height of partying for my preteen self.

Ghost Town DJs – My Boo

The song may be timeless, but the video is more a time capsule. “My Boo” is like a spring break edition of The Grind: it’s all hard-bodies chilling at the pool, playing beach volleyball, and (inexplicably) washing cars. Fun fact: watch for a cameo by Jermaine Dupri, who released “My Boo” on his label’s seminal booty bass compilation So So Def Bass All-Stars.

2Pac – I Get Around

2Pac was the rare rapper who could bounce from party rap to gangsta rap without seeming inauthentic. “I Get Around” is an example of the former, and the video is practically a parody of hip hop extravagance. Nearly two decades later, the bikini-clad party girls seem almost modest, the poolside flirting quaint. Fun fact: the song features Shock G and Money-B of Digital Underground, the group that gave 2Pac his first break.

Smashing Pumpkins – 1979

One of the most famous videos of the grunge era, “1979” is a tribute to high school hijinks: the kind of boredom-induced fun that includes trashing convenience stores and throwing house parties. Fun fact: for years, I assumed the pool make-out scene was blurring out nudity, but wistful thinking aside, it appears to be water on the lens.

The Smashing Pumpkins – 1979 by EMI_Music