Here we review the ten most outstanding videos of August, the ones that have set the tone for the hottest month of the year, counted down from 10 to 1. We start with Sigur Rós and finish with Antony.
August has come to an end, autumn is coming and along with it, the end of 2012. The latter will bring us the lists of this year’s best - if the world doesn’t come to an end first – and like every month, here we bring you our countdown of the videos that have set the tone and the character of recent weeks, from 10 to 1.
10. Sigur Rós: “Varúð”
The 'Valtari Mystery Film Experiment' carried out by Sigur Rós continues its course. The idea of the project was to bypass the process of artistic supervision and approval that usually takes place in the majority of this type of commissions, giving the filmmakers involved total creative freedom. To the point that not even the band itself has any idea what direction the videos will take until they see them entirely finished, without the chance to veto the results. After Ramin Bahrani’s visual poem for “ Ég anda”, this time it is Ryan McGinley’s turn, with his interpretation of “Varúð”. The photographer invites us to take a magical journey through the streets of New York alongside a strange, golden-haired girl who is crossing the city unaware of the dangers of traffic
9. Killer Mike: “Untitled”
Benjamin Dickinson is the brain behind the idea of painting Killer Mike, Scar and other extras in the video as characters from famous paintings. This is what the video of "Untitled" is like, a nice reminder of the fact that the Atlanta rapper has made one of the finest hip-hop albums of the year.
8. Band Of Horses: “Knock Knock”
Band of Horses have premiered their highly entertaining video clip for “ Knock Knock”, the first single from their new album, “Mirage Rock”, on sale starting 17th September. The video takes the form of an outdated nature documentary, pedestrian and tending towards kitsch, something that its director, Jared Eberhardt, had wanted to do for some time. “I wanted to pay tribute to the old nature films I remember from school. Those old films were all about a bunch of guys going to exotic places and staging adventures, with very little craft or consideration to lighting or aesthetics”. He hit the nail on the head.
7. Animal Collective: “Today’s Supernatural”
Danny Perez, the usual director of Animal Collective’s clips, meets up again with the Baltimore quartet in a psychedelic illusion full of make-up, desert dust, grotesque instruments, torn extremities and a sort of “pink monster” that wanders among the thickets. If they haven’t dropped acid, it sure looks like it.
6. Major Lazer: “Get Free ft. Amber of the Dirty Projectors”
After the animated ‘ lyric video’, the new Major Lazer track featuring the charming vocals of Amber Coffman from Dirty Projectors, has a proper clip. Directed by SoMe, in it we can live the Jamaica night experience from the comfort of our own home. Boxing matches, impossible moves and all kinds of nocturnal characters back up one of the best tunes of the season.
5. Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti: “Only In My Dreams”
“Some people dream in black and white, some in colour, and some people dream only in sound. Ariel Pink dreams in VHS.” So says the director of “Only In My Dreams”, the first video from “Mature Themes” (4AD, 2012), the latest album by Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti. The clip starts with a lovers' quarrel, and ends... we don't know what happens in the flat once the door closes, but we have a good idea. Kicked out by his girlfriend Geneva Jacuzzi (his former lover in real life, apparently), Pink starts looking for love in every corner of Los Angeles. It looks like this whole indie-pop star thing still helps when trying to get some.
4. Julia Holter: “Goddess Eyes I”
Don’t be fooled by the static, tepid beginning of the clip that Jose Wolff directed for “Goddess Eyes I”. It becomes intriguing as soon as the camera shifts away from Julia Holter, right at the start of the second minute, to take us to dark, mysterious places. The author says, “The first thing that came to mind was an image that gradually deteriorates with visual noise, echoing the sonic noise present in the song” . Then begins a journey in which , “We go from lightness to darkness, away from a structured, fabricated place and into raw territory”.
3. Diplo: “Set It Off featuring Lazerdisk Party Sex”
When done well, by professionals, pole dancing can be quite dazzling to watch. At least, that's what Diplo must think, seeing as he made a truly hypnotic video for “ Set It Off”, his tune in collaboration with Lazerdisk Party Sex, included on his recent “Express Yourself EP”. Even though you might think you can pull it off, don't try this at home.
2. Grimes: “Genesis”
Claire Boucher - with her incipient dreadlocks, her python, her Knights of the Zodiac sword and her cap decorated with a resounding “PUSSY” - takes a trip into the California desert with a wild-looking gang. It’s said to be inspired by the trashy glamour of Jean Paul Gaultier, the painting “The Seven Deadly Sins and the Four Last Things” (attributed to Hieronymus Bosch, dated around 1500 and currently hanging in Spain’s Prado Museum) and "Tank Girl". We would add that it also has a healthy dose of “Mortal Combat”, Shion Sono-style Japanese film and raves lifted from “Pokémon Girls”. It’s directed by Boucher herself. Come on and check it out.
1. Antony and The Johnsons: “Cut The World”
Composed for the opera-performance “The Life And Death Of Marina Abramovich”, the song now reclaims the original cast of the work for a video clip that hides unbearable levels of violence behind a first impression of calmness and candour. Carice van Houten features as the secretary, Willem Dafoe as the boss in the office who ends up [omitted for being a spoiler] and Marina Abramovic as the individual to whom the atrocity is confessed. Directed by Nabil.