It’s tough to be a stranger to Gotye. The Bruges born multi-instrumentalist has had a worldwide hit with Somebody I Used To Know. This is partially due to the meticulous, focused video by Natasha Pincus and Co. Gotye sings about making her “someone he used to know” while he gets painted; Kimbra strips of paint while singing and screaming in his face. And even after singing it in his face, he says the same things… cause that’s all he’s got.
The song amalgamates the freakish, post-empire pop of the past three years. The music is unafraid to be itself as it is arranged, sequenced, and contorted. It owes as much to Jon Brion as it does Peter Gabriel and the Police. Lofty company if you ask me. Two songs later, I Feel Better pops up, a breathe of fresh air past the smoky mirrors that dominate the first half of the record. Instead of the wild introspection of Future Islands, action takes precedent, moving forward in life and in attitude. With a Motown horn backing, no less. This track really isn’t progressive rock, or funk… its music of elation, release, and possibly deception.
Calling Making Mirrors a break-up record is like saying all ice cream is chocolate: you’re only as right as you want to be. A story as deliberate as this record can be clear and pointedly arched. Yet you are the sole viewer of the story. Your view is your complete own. The new power pop that Gotye brings (one lacking genres, geographic regions and race) is in its own world, unable or unwilling to grasp anything beyond its measures. So I Feel Better could be completely honest or completely dishonest. Projection instead of reflection.
Simian Mobile Disco have been mum for some time, likely a little sore for a few slight missteps in the past few years. Well, they are back and they seem like they have their stuff together both musically and visually, which is super, super fantastic to hear. They recently released their new single “Cerulean” with an accompanying video by fellow UK folk Jack Featherstone and Will Samuel of ISO Studio.
One of the reasons why this song is so great is because the video they’ve released for it is a brilliant pairing, really personifying the song. The video follows a little circle who is on a journey. To where? It doesn’t matter. He is just pushing along through a video game like world and, even though there is no talking or “story,” the song articulates what this little guy is going through, which you see as he confronts sticky acute angles, color changing shapes, entrapping boxes, and other geometric landscapes. It’s a very simple, visual approach to a music video and has to be one of the best videos I’ve seen in a while from a band. Big high fives for Featherstone and Samuel of ISO on this. (And, if you guys did in fact make this into a video game, I would play this so much. I would give you my money and I would play this game forever.)
Check out the video above and be on the lookout for the release of the band’s new LP on May 14.
There are many great things about this video: Jim Lo Scalzo‘s short documentary America’s Dead Sea. First off, the story of Salton City, California is kind of insane. At the beginning of the 20th century, the Colorado River spilled over an irrigation canal and for two years the river flowed into the desert, forming the Salton Sea. In the ’50s, a sugar magnate developed a town along the “Salton Rivera” which is still inhabited, but just barely. Since it’s formation by the Colorado River, the only water flowing into the Salton Sea has been irrigation runoff, and the body of water has become increasingly saline and polluted.
But it’s not just the story that makes this video worth watching. The compelling cinematography is thanks to the years that Jim spent working as a photojournalist. What might be the best thing about his video is that Jim doesn’t narrate it; instead, he uses archival footage and sound clips to contrast the promise the lake offered in the 50′s to the reality of the Salton Sea now.
Partizan films along with AB/CD/CD have created a series of super clever ads for Opening Ceremony to promote their Spring/Summer 2012 collection. They’ve taken the clichés of Jean-Luc Godard films – the over-the-top romance, the cheesy lines – and turned them on their head a bit and making you laugh in the process. It’s a smart move by Opening Ceremony to create funny ads like these that will surely be shared around the web, like so. I mean, who still watches television? If you’re curious about the seeing the whole Spring/Summer 2012 collection, you can click here.
If Andre Tarkovsky, Stanley Kubrick and George Lucas had collaborated to create an über strange art house sci-fi film it would most likely resemble the inner workings of Beyond the Black Rainbow. Canadian filmmaker Panos Cosmatos’ first feature film is an amalgamation of the ethereal crawl of Solaris, set in a Kubrickian vision of the future with a plot akin to THX 1138. The clinical aesthetic of Beyond the Black Rainbow has been drawn upon as backdrop for countless ‘asylum’ centered films and there is no question of where Cosmatos’ creative inspiration stems from. His predecessors are boldly acknowledged through the futuristic set design and intricate mise-en-scene, yet the film still stands unique and begs to be understood on a conceptual level.
Premièring at the Tribeca Film festival in 2011 and the Montreal Fantasia Film Festival the same year, Beyond the Black Rainbow has been gaining a cult following despite its narrow release, which is set to change next month thanks to Magnet Releasing (Magnolia Pictures). Undeniably, the film will appeal most to a niche of cinephiles who devour visual feasts or alternatively to those who prefer a ‘pharmatose’ viewing experience. Nevertheless, it is a stunning film of accomplishment for a first time filmmaker whose roots in music video production are present in the astute attention placed on sound design. The haunting score, designed by Jeremy Schmidt of Black Mountain, is sure to slowly immerse you into a trancelike viewing state.
Set in 1983, as previous generations would have imagine it to be, Beyond the Back Rainbow takes place at the Arboria Institute, a hidden den that claims to help you find true happiness and solace. Once inside the institute, it is clear that the only patient of importance is the ingénue Elena (Eva Allan). The young and beautiful capture is forced to endure ‘therapeutic’ sessions facilitated by the ultra creepy Dr. Barry Nyle (Michael Rogers) who transforms from pill-popping junkie to supernatural zombie psychopath as the film progresses. With an 11 page script, it is evident that dialogue is a mere accessory here, as Cosmatos’ chooses to execute his film through an experimental vision in the same vein as a curated video installation. Spellbound by the beauty of this dystopian nightmare, questions concerning the loosely woven plot are allowed to remain unanswered. Beyond the Black Rainbow will blow your mind, if you let it. Leave your expectations at the door, dowse yourself in its hypnotic rhythm and engage in this experimental misadventure.