Sound and Vision: Pascal Maguet

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Bailrigg FM’s Head of Music takes us through three of his favourite music videos…

 

Dan Deacon – When I Was Done Dying

What draws me to a music video are interesting visuals and this project between musician Dan Deacon, Adult Swim and nine animators definitely has that. There are several other trippy animated music videos that I think are great, see Portishead’s The Rip or Blockhead’s The Music Scene, but WIWDD has the edge over them for two reasons.

First off is the variation of the art style, each animator brings their completely different style to the table and they seamlessly flow into each other creating this stunningly colourful and vibrant story. I say story and that leads me to its second USP, the fact that, unlike many similar videos, the visuals are directly informed by the lyrics of the song, which are a first-person account of either reincarnation or smoking a lot of DMT; either way the song’s lyrics are translated into the graphics stunningly.

I’m not going to go into what happens in the video because that’ll spoil the fun of it, but if you like it and are a fan of Rick and Morty check out Adult Swim’s aptly named Rick and Morty Exquisite Corpse, which isn’t as beautiful but probably more fun.

 

Kendrick Lamar – Alright

“I heard you was conflicted”. Maybe, but not about this being my favourite Kdot video and music video in general. The 7-minute-long black and white video opens with the To Pimp A Butterfly’s recurring monologue set to stark images of an neighbourhood in the US, highlighting violence and an oppressive police presence, climaxing in a literal slow motion shot from a police officer’s handgun. Then it jumps to Kendrick in a car with the other Black Hippies (seemingly a Busta Rhymes’ reference), he’s rapping a short music video exclusive verse over a bouncy beat, the shot pans out from the car and it’s not driving on the road, it’s being held up like a carriage by 4 policemen.

That two minute 40 second double intro for the song perfectly encapsulates the dichotomy perfected by both the song and its video, before we even hear that iconic The Color Purple opening line; hope and celebration in the face of such a bleak situation.

The rest of the video just oozes charm and you can’t help but smile as Kendrick flies through the streets of LA or when you see the crowd cheerfully bounce during the chorus. At the end, we come crashing back down to earth with Kendrick but then we see his cheeky smile before the camera cuts and we know he (and everyone else) “gon’ be alright”.

 

Girl Talk – Bounce That

So, I’ve picked an animated music video and a live action one, so what sort should I pick last? What about both?

This fan-made video was painstakingly created by rotoscoping (an animation technique involving animating over a live action video) a live, and very fun looking, set of American DJ Girl Talk. The result is incredible.

Colours, outlines and even body parts constantly pop in and out with the music and the people in the video vary from looking like a blurry but recognisable picture to subjects of a Picasso cubism painting. It looks like Richard Linklater’s Waking Life boiled down from a 100-minute film to a 3-minute dance song, and the constant shifting in rotoscoping style compliments Girl Talk’s dynamic and varied use of sampling in the song.

I can’t offer much more of an explanation of why it works so well, it just does, however the version on YouTube dubs it the “Best Fan Video Ever” in the title and I can’t help but agree.

https://youtu.be/WK3O_qZVqXk