Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Chris Cunningham, Gil Scott-Heron: New York Is Killing Me

I'm waiting for a file to compress for the new The Mountain, The River and The Road DVD, so I have some free time which I've partially squandered online (part was unsquandered and involved a much needed grocery run - we now have bread and jelly!)

First, the video (sorry bout the ad, make it fullscreen after the plug):

For some reason a lot of the posts with this video seem to be "temporarily unavailable." Fortunately, this one still works.

It's a great example of a video that makes it appear as though the music is creating the images. It's my favorite approach to music videos and I've always wanted to try making one. Gondry used to do this a lot and Cunningham has also done this a few times in the past.

Star Guitar - The Chemical Brothers from Chen VM on Vimeo.

(In an interview I read a few years ago, Cunningham mentioned how he loved use of the train POV in the "Star Guitar" video and wished he'd thought of it. "New York Is Killing Me" seems to be his go at it)

I prefer these organic videos to the narrative videos (which I'm totally guilty of). I feel like they lend themselves better to multiple viewings and are more symbiotic with the music. Many people may feel differently, my wonderful girlfriend for one, but I don't like watching narratives over and over and over. It can be powerful for a few runs, but after that I'd rather just hear the song (unless, of course, the video is better than the song, which honestly isn't all that rare). A good abstract video that draws inspiration from the music but abandons narrative can actually be an extension of the song. It lets the mind wander and explore and consider the sound and images. The result can never be independent of the song and allows more viewer interpretation.

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