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Picks of the week

Peter Sean – White On White, With White

Not a music video so much as video music, this style piece comes by way of Video Cartel. What’s notable about it is that it demonstrates the power of two of the most fundamental, but often undervalued, disciplines in filmmaking – namely production design and editing. While I’m sure a colour grade was done on the video, the monochromatic effect is achieved mainly through the selection of wardrobe and props. While most videos don’t intend anything so drastic with their production design, an awareness of the colours you are using and the effect they create is important. As for the editing – I suspect this video was shot with little idea of how it would be pieced together in post-production, but through the use of specifically timed cuts and repeated images the video achieves a mesmerisingly rhythmic effect.

Markus Wormstorm – To Be An Open String

There is some incredibly evocative imagery in the music video for ‘To Be An Open String’, directed by Travys Owen. From opening drone shots of the ocean to lip-syncing faces morphing into one another, parts of this video feel completely out-of-this-world unique. However, one can’t help but wish they’d taken it a bit further. To be sure, there must have been constraints on what the team could achieve with limited resources, but there is such potential in the material that we see, it’s only disappointing when the resulting video feels a tad repetitive. Variety is the spice of life… and music videos!

Damascvs – Revogue

There are a lot of strong ideas in the new video from Damascvs by way of Quit Safari. With the advent of Virtual Reality looming it seems the artists have some thoughts on how this technology could affect our lives. And while the Kets brothers found a very fun, low-fi style for their interesting concept, the end result does, unfortunately, feel somewhat incoherent. Perhaps this is intentional – reflective of the jarring, disjointed, stuttering track that inspired the video, but there is no thematic or visual thread that really connects all the disparate images throughout. It is, however, an extraordinary visual trip, and admirable not in the least for what the team was able to accomplish with a limited budget.

Native Young – Kings

You can tell the video for ‘Kings’ is a run-and-gun production. It has the feel of a travelogue, one that you might make on vacation toting around a DSLR, grabbing shots as you see them, and cutting together the result into a montage set to music. The difference here, however, is that whoever was behind the camera for this project has an absolutely incredible eye. A lot of the images are fairly pedestrian, but every few shots one comes along that is just stunning. Additionally, some of the shots were subtly edited in post to lend an almost surreal aspect to the video. There’s a lack of pretentiousness about the whole thing – the feeling that the group behind it just wanted to convey their love of all of the natural beauty in Cape Town. And boy do they succeed. Also, whatever rig they were using to stabilize those Lubezki-style moving shots is just dreamy.

Elo – Be It

In some ways similar to the first entry on this list, the latest video from Elo is killer. There’s obviously the pink design of the piece, which one doesn’t usually think of as a very dynamic colour, but works phenomenally with the gorgeous photography. Then the filmmakers chose to work in a super wide aspect ratio that is often used in feature films but is an uncommon choice for a music video. Here it really accentuates the space and symmetry of many of the shots. And finally, the props and costuming are in some cases just so bizarre we get wonderfully memorable imagery throughout. These are filmmakers who clearly know what they’re doing, and it’s great to see such visual artistry paired with such a musically striking track.

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.