D. VS. P. – The April Edition
This month we have Pulse’s Simon Cahn in the director’s chair going up with Able&Baker’s Joe Walker (who has chosen to be represented by Dad’s Army in image). Check out the five most talked about videos of April below:
Simon Cahn: I really enjoyed this one. I have always thought it’s very hard to do a great animated music video. It tends to forget the narration over the animation techniques, mostly because of budgets. But this one is really great. No doubt Sylvain Chomet did an amazing piece, with great visuals and narration. Also, i always get very emotional and delighted when I still see some hand-drawn animated films, it’s so rare now.
Joe Walker: Like everyone else on the planet I was a massive fan of Belville Rendezvous so it’s great to see Sylvain Chomet turning his hand to music videos. I think Stromae has lucked out here because in lesser hands dramatizing this fairly trite social critique could have been toe-curlingly adolescent but Chomet brings a charm and detail to the execution that make this a totally satisfying watch. And who could resist the closing image of gigantic rabid bird first chewing then excreting her Madge the Q? Not me.
Joe: I think Odd Future have one of the most interesting music video set ups out there. Since Yonkers first came out it was clear that they were pretty unique in the ‘artist directing themselves’ category. I love the glorious weirdness of this, it’s at the same time referential and totally original, there’s nods to the dayglo steez of De La Soul, some classic 90’s r’n’b tropes and a run out mad max inspired outro but the overall effect is totally of the moment. I have a special fondness for extended dialogue intros to the music videos in fact – I was part of a wonderfully heated exchange judging the D&AD MV category on this very topic the other day - I love the way they turn a video into something more than a straightforward visual accompaniment to a track but extend a narrative outwards.
Simon: I was so excited when I saw Tyler just released a new music video. I’m a big fan of his video work, I think he is one of the best in videos of this generation. He has always strong ideas and managed to create his own powerful style. I was not disappointed when I looked at the intro, it was funny and weird like I like. But then, I was a bit disappointed by the rest of the video, maybe I was hoping for more insane things. As always, he managed to hook me back again around the end with his signature long takes on him just performing, like the one in front of the theater with the blue sky behind him. It’s so simple but so good. It’s my favorite part of the video.
Simon: This video is very funny and really well executed. I had a great moment watching it, but I can’t say much more. Maybe because I’m not the biggest fan of this 80’s aesthetic and world. It’s a really well directed joke.
Joe: Ok I just spent twenty minutes googling this and am still no closer to having my head round it. All I know with any certainty is it’s the best thing I’ve watched this week and possibly in my life. As far as I can tell director David Sandberg has crowdfunded a feature called Kung Fury in which he also stars as a kung fu renegade cop who travels back through time to fuck Hitler’s shit up. Somehow (the internet is bizarrely mute on the chronology) the track True Survivor was licensed as the movie’s theme song and a re-edited version of the trailer with an added performance layer from the Hoff released as its music video.
What’s blowing my mind here is that as far as I can tell the track and the film were created independently of each other and the utter perfection of their union is just happy accident. Watching the music video is actually a much, much less strange experience than just listening to the track by itself and trying to imagine how it could possibly have been created in isolation to the movie, you know just as a track that this very year the Hoff saw fit to write and perform and which may even have had a different music video. It’s almost like the creation of one actually necessitates the creation of the other in exactly the same way that physics reckons space and time are somehow interwoven. Thinking about this too hard is making me feel weird and twitchy.
Quite another layer of intrigue is added by the fact that the Hoff’s face is now so saturated with botox it looks like it could split like a water balloon at any moment. A genuinely nail biting watch. In the end he holds it together and rides off happily into the sunset on the back of a dinosaur. Phew. Off to get a cheeseburger probably.
Joe: There’s something about the logic loop/circularity here that puts me mind of Chris Nolan’s short films or a Charlie Kaufman script. Thing is I’m not sure if there’s enough on the page here to totally deliver, it’s almost like the payoff comes too early and we’re left just to spin the idea out until we arrive at what was for me a slightly mawkish ending. All that said it’s beautifully executed and I really like the cold, muted grade.
Simon: It’s funny with this one, the first time I saw it, I didn’t really enjoyed it. I thought the video didn’t fit so well with the track and was not really into the story and mood. But then, I looked at it again another day, and I had completely different emotions. I really enjoyed the character of Alexis Taylor, he is just so awkward in this, I love it. I also was quite moved by the story, I think it’s a powerful one. I’m not so talking about the looped narration, I think the real force is just the basic emotions that it convey.
Simon: I just love everything about this video. Great track, great and simple concept. The casting is just perfect. Three Thumps up 👍👍👍
And it’s been photographed by one of the most talented DOP I know, my man Pat Scola!!!
Joe: David Wilson makes it look so easy doesn’t he. Just skips about between the genres – an animated superhero meltdown for Royal Blood here, an emotive then surreal banger for Arcade Fire there - and smashes them all out the park. Nauseating. I love everything about this one for Metronomy: the dangling detail of the trophy, the self shifting gearbox, the bondage guitar harness. I like to imagine the idea came to him in a dream and he woke up to find it already scribbled out on a pad on his bedside table and just popped it in the post to Because. A brilliantly comic rendering of ability music has to make you forget what you’re doing and get carried off in wandering associations of ideas. We need more two and half minute instrumentals to make videos for.