Category: Noteworthy

Noteworthy entries.

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Colder‘s To The Music video by UVA is a striking promo treatment where sound and image are totally in keeping with each other. I’ve worked with and commissioned pieces from Colder’s Marc Nguyen Tan previously (he has a background as an art director, creating impressive graphic and motion pieces as Dotmov and le cabinet), so it is intriguing to see how United Visual Artists interpret the singer and his work after Marc has previously been so in control of his visual look.

The generative process and custom software UVA use to create the video frames elicits a fragile, flickery, and lo-tech electronic image of the singer and a female dancer. They jitter in and out of the dusky red-black ether, forms in a state of flux captured and then broken back into digital bits. The edgy transfer of black and white scanlines into faces and figures offer a perfect parallel to the vocals that float in and out of the mix. Try to grab at any meaning and the 3D forms threaten to swirl into nothingness.

Read the Post Colder and UVA dance To The Music

Madonna hung up

I love and hate the latest Madonna video, Hung Up, in more or less equal measures.

Why I hate it:

  1. Performance clichés (couldn’t afford a good location scout?)
  2. Hip-hop meets disco milieux (!?)
  3. Incoherence (false narrative)
  4. Krumping (Madonna trope: superficial use of street fad)

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WarpVision DVD | Trailer image (Itsu/Pleix)

Warp Vision, an anthology of cutting-edge videos from the pioneering electronic music label Warp, is released September 27.

Warp’s eclectic DVD selection reflects the obsessions, twists, turns and writhings of this label which, although firmly marking home territory in electronica, has never wanted to be so easily boxed and defined. So it is with the promo’s presented here. Although Cunningham’s seminal, impactive videos for Aphex Twin and Squarepusher are included, seen in the context of this collection they do not define Warp’s moving images as much as we’d probably expect, even if they cast a long, dark shadow.

Working on shoestring budgets and without the benefits of digital production and effects coming on stream until the mid-nineties, the early videos are still an exercise in experimentation and ideas, a genuine reflection of the music output. It’s good to see videos rough around the edges (even if, as in Jarvis Cocker, of Pulp’s, early Aphex effort, this is mostly curio value ), as it is Warp’s embrace of the DIY digital creators, post-2000, with the tools to create altogether slicker fare.

Tellingly, the most recent releases on the DVD read like a who’s who of rising-star video directors (Briet, Lynn Fox, Holdsworth, Rutterford, et al), a testament to Warp’s willingness for creators to have a high degree of freedom in creative production. And we can be sure that the next crop of music videos they produce will also utilize breakthrough talent. In videos such as Ed Holdsworth’s Half of What for Prefuse 73, a capsule city journey of abstract, shimmering light, and the ode to environmental elements, both of urban and natural wildernesses, that is Sam Tootal’s contribution for Mira Calix, they have visual contributions with a deftness of touch and lyricism which they would do well to expand upon.

If a criticism can be made of this collection, it lies with the fact the grand-scale of a Windowlicker is so rarely seen. The trajectory of the videos appear to have become ever more tightly shrink-wrapped around the music, rather than adding another layer of meaning and emotion, as opposed to just motion. A problem which may lie with the creators more than anything (and a criticism which echoes far louder with less creatively-centred record companies). While one can’t expect epics for every release, Warp need to continue deforming their ‘box’, bending definitions, if they are not to be a victim of the expectations they have so assiduously created from loyal fans. If they stay true to the excellent heritage of this collection (particularly the justly lauded highpoints), and continue to find ever more warped visions, then they shouldn’t disappoint. Warp Vision is a timely reminder of the label’s revolutionary past as much for them as it is for us.
Read the Post Warped visions