Picks of the week

Gigi Lamayne feat. WTF – Moja

The video for Gigi Lamayne’s collaboration with WTF has arrived. Directed by Cube of Sky Star Films, on the surface, this video feels like nothing special – a bunch of folks partying it up to a bumpin’ track. But there’s something about it that is striking. The photography and editing are sharp, and the choreography of the backup dancers is energetic while the principal musicians primarily play to camera. But the thing that really jumps out about this video is Lamayne’s confidence and fearlessness as a performer. In a genre that is far from progressive towards women, Lamayne here takes what is a traditionally masculine setting (a garage) and dominates it. The men of WTF are talented artists in their own right, but here they feel like accessories, shrinking in the shadow of Lamayne’s charisma. So often we see women objectified and rendered secondary in hip hop music videos, it’s refreshing to see a video subvert that from one of SA’s top up-and-coming young artists.

Tresor feat. The Kiffness – Evergreen

It’s not a new technique – the video plays out in slow-motion while the vocalist sings in what appears to be real time. Tricky to shoot, but the effect is mesmerizing, especially so in this gorgeously simple one-take. The technique perfectly matches the laid-back atmosphere of the track, and it just goes to show that you can do something great with very few resources. It’s also hard not to appreciate The Kiffness’ David Scott absolutely jamming on the xylophone in a performance that must have sounded completely ridiculous on set.

Nicky Romero & Nile Rodgers – Future Funk

It seems there has been a miniature resurgence of the otherwise defunct (sorry) funk genre amongst popular electronic musicians, from Daft Punk to Mark Ronson. This is by no means unwelcome in our book, and the most recent example of this phenomenon might be Nicky Romero’s collaboration with legendary guitarist and producer Nile Rodgers. But the newly released video for the track is a throwback in and of itself. Ostensibly ‘Part 2’ of a three-part series of videos from Romero, this video bears no resemblance to the preceding video for ‘Lighthouse’ (except for the appearance of a selfsame Polaroid of said lighthouse). What we get instead is a stylistic throwback to the music videos of yesteryear, with a 4:3 aspect ratio, rapid dolly-ins, and whip-pan transitions. It’s great fun and fits the vibe of the track perfectly. Here’s to hoping funk keeps making a comeback.

DJ Qness & December Streets – Can You Feel It

It seems this week is a week of collaborations. But this track from odd couples DJ Qness and December Streets has so far been a commercial hit, and now we have an accompanying music video. Doing very little that is revolutionary and suffering from a few shortcomings – the female lead greatly outshines her male counterpart, and the presence of Coca-Cola products is conspicuous (but hey, they helped make this project happen) – the video is still fun, sexy, and beautifully photographed. The filmmakers also made great use of their location, and the idea to use a warehouse studio for a television show is a wonderfully innovative idea when you’re strapped for budget. It’s hard to say what the abrupt shift at the end of the video is meant to signify, but otherwise this a very playful, romantic piece.

Exodus – Riky Rick (Directed by Kyle Lewis)

Far from a traditional music video, ‘Exodus’ is really a short film. There’s so much that can be said for this masterful piece of work, and no less about director Kyle Lewis’ talent, that it kind of defies review and begs to be watched in its entirety. For some it may be too ‘weird’, but there is so much here to dive into – from the incredibly rich imagery to the gorgeous black & white photography, to the way the film perfectly captures the feel of the music and takes its significance to the next level. But really Riky Rick’s own words are most appropriate: “Everything is art to me. The music is always art. We downgrade our art by shooting mediocre music videos that downgrade the level of the art, but the music is such a beautiful piece of art that visuals should also do the same.” Indeed, music aside, music videos remain one of the most commercial forms of pure visual art that you can find. And yet, most music videos squander this potential to deliver something rote and pedestrian. ‘Exodus’ is a wonderful challenge to this paradigm, and hopefully more artists will follow suit. Definitely give it a watch.

Sam Besser enjoys writing about arts and entertainment because he likes pretending people care about his opinions. He is a great lover of film and a casual lover of 15th-century stained glass windows. These interests rarely intersect.