petak, 21. lipnja 2013.

Richard Allen & A Closer Listen - Best New Videos

Audio-vizualne sinestezije u mozgu svijeta.

Best New Videos: Animation Edition

This past season has been healthy for animation, as demonstrated in these nine scored videos (plus one bonus video related to Voyager‘s golden disc).  These directors share a keen sense of imagination as well as a great deal of patience.  Animation may look fluid and fun, but it’s never been a quick art; each second of film may reflect hours, even days of work.  Hats off to all of the directors, sound designers and untold numbers of team members who toil away to bring us their art.
Our overture video is a lesson in synaesthesia that seems capable of provoking a synaesthetic reaction in those who have never experienced one.  Although the condition is extreme, most people possess at least a mild form, making associations of music with hue and other similar connections.  Multiple songs are used in the score, ranging from Linear Bells to Nine Inch Nails ~ kudos to those who are able to to recognize the songs without reading the credits!
Synaesthetic Locked
Director:  Oscar Lopez Rocha
Music:  29 tracks in three minutes!

Synesthetic Locked from LOROCROM on Vimeo.
Concept and Drawings: Tarik Berber
Digital Compositing:  Maria Pia Fanigliulo
Music:  Charlie Lewis & Kenny Parish

This surreal, dissociative hand-drawn video may be about fish, dreaming, the afterlife or none of the above.  The dulcitone symbolizes all “lost and forgotten things”, but this video will not be forgotten so easily.  Colors, images and words flash, intermingle and blur, providing a treat for the senses.
DULCITONE (hand drawn animation) from MaPi on Vimeo.
We should make strange things
Directors:  Naoki Niwa & Tadahiro Gunji
Music:  MAS
The title speaks for itself, as Niwa & Gunji’s strange and beautiful thing combines the subject matter of the previous two videos – synaesthesia and dreams – to form a complex whole.  Reflecting its jazz score, the video riffs on a theme without ever losing its bearings.  Props to the shape-singing bird.
We should make strange things from TANGE FILMS on Vimeo.
Samba ~ Loop
Director:  Ronda
Music:  DJ Fernandez
33 seconds of pure fun.  The title suggests that the video would make a fine endless loop, but we’re glad the director stopped here.  Who knows how many hours we’d spend watching if it never ended? Most people will have a favorite character; mine is the blue circle.  Oh, wait, he’s not a circle!
Samba – Loop from Ronda on Vimeo.
Celestial Dynamics
Director:  Kim Taylor
Music:  Björk, “Frosti”
More pretty circles, but this time with an astronomical bent.  If only science had been this interesting in school, I might have had a different career!  (Not that I’m complaining about my current career!) Kim Taylor makes an excellent teacher, putting old textbooks to wondrous work.  ”Frosti” was an inspired choice for the score, and we expect a certain Icelander will be happy with the pairing.
Celestial Dynamics from Kim Taylor on Vimeo.
The Clockmakers/Les Horlogers
Director:  Renaud Hallée
With this video, we make the switch from circles to triangles.  ”The Clockmakers” begins simply and grows progressively more complex.  The biggest surprise is that it is presented by the National Film Board of Canada.  Who knew that a corporate entity could be so cool, so in tune, so distinctly now? This video is a perfect blend of sight and sound, made with the aid of real trampolinists, none of which (we hope) were harmed during the filming.
The Clockmakers / Les horlogers from National Film Board of Canada on Vimeo.
Hiatus ~ We Can Be Ghosts Now (feat. Shura)
Director:  Tom Jobbins
Music:  Hiatus (feat. Shura)
And now, triangles in love.  One would not think a love story between geometrical shapes would be so affecting, but this one strikes at the gut, combining a Romeo and Juliet storyline with intimations of the 9/11 tragedy.  If this were live action, it would be too much to take.
Hiatus – We Can Be Ghosts Now (feat. Shura) from Tom Jobbins on Vimeo.
Director:  Saki Iyori
Music:  Yuki Sato
You need a hug now, right?  This video is the perfect balm, a gentle bedtime story for kids (who may still be watching “Loop” and need to be calmed down).  Yuki Sato’s song is not yet on iTunes, but it needs to be; it’s a sweet charmer as well.
hug from sakiiyori on Vimeo.
Vial of Sound ~ A Lifetime Passed
Director:  ori toor
Music:  Vial of Sound
“A Lifetime Passed” comes across as a blend of Akira and Princess Mononoke, a fluid explosion of movement and color.  It’s like a mobile come to life, with benign monsters hiding in the breeze.
Vial of Sound | A Lifetime Passed from ori toor on Vimeo.
Bonus:  My Face Is In Space
Director:  Tom Jobbins
This last entry (by the same director as “We Can Be Ghosts Now”) is not a music video, but a video about a golden record ~ more specifically, about a person whose image was on a golden record, and even more specifically, the golden record.  Voyager‘s infamous space-bound disc includes not only music, but pictures, and if a civilization ever finds it and figures out how to play it, who knows what the results might be?  In the meantime, our own fantasies expand and contract back here on earth.
My Face Is In Space from Tom Jobbins on Vimeo.
Richard Allen

Best New Videos: Strobes, Spies & Ink

Our overture selection is a video about music.  The keen animation brings to life the entire spectrum of the field.  Send this to a music teacher or student you love, and they’ll be sure to love you in return.
Understand Music
Director and Music:  finally.

Understand Music from finally. on Vimeo.
The following trio of videos were created with ink and paint.  These videos experiment with color and movement, synching them to sound.  Those who are on a limited budget might consider utilizing such techniques, as they manage to impress without actors or plot.  Antoine Delach’s “Macros/ INK world” speeds and slows the frames; scntfc’s “Undone 2″ (part of an ongoing Seattle exhibition) uses macro photography to astonishing effect; Michael Zoidis & Jodie Southgate’s “a2″ turns aural ambience into visual haze.  Lava lamps were never so rich in hue.
Director:  Antoine Delach
Music:  Blockhead, “Serenade”
MACROS/ INK world _v01 from Antoine Delach. on Vimeo.
Undone 2
Director:  scntfc
Music:  Pale Fire 5, “Burn a Pale Fire”

Undone 2 from scntfc on Vimeo.
Directors:  Michael Zoidis & Jodie Southgate
Music:  ’Olafur Arnalds & Nils Frahm, “a2″

Ólafur Arnalds & Nils Frahm – a2 (Official Video) from Erased Tapes on Vimeo.
Next up is Tim Sessler, who pulls off the hat trick with his latest video.  Tim’s now been featured in this column three times, first with “Stilles Leben” (on our former site), then with “Bending Sounds”, and now with “Forecast”, filmed in a series of National Parks in the Western United States.  Suffice it to say that he’s one of our favorite directors: always changing, always capable of surprise.
Director:  Tim Sessler
Music:  d_rradio, “Forecast”

FORECAST from Tim Sessler on Vimeo.
One doesn’t have to live in New York City to appreciate the brilliance of “New York Biotopes”.  In this graduation project, the director reimagines the city as a place in which inanimate objects blossom and flourish: train tracks, subway seats, streetlights.  In the end, metal poles float like seeds.  Our grade:  A+.
New York Biotopes
Director:   Lena Steinkühler
Music:  Man Mantis, “Teacups of Our Ashes”
New York Biotopes from Lena Steinkühler on Vimeo.
Cyriak’s back!  The director brings his signature style to bear on Bonobo’s music, with stunning results.  The video starts sedately enough, but swiftly turns bonkers.  And that’s why we love it.
Director:  Cyriak
Music:  Bonobo, “Cirrus”

Bonobo – ‘Cirrus’ (Official Video) from Ninja Tune on Vimeo.
Here’s another crazy one, made with patterns and cutouts.  Bond may have found his next opening sequence.  If “Stamation” is the director’s real name, his career may have been predetermined.
Mauvaise Herbe
Director:  Clem Stamation
Music:  Jean Elliot Senior, “Mauvaise Herbe”
Jean Elliot Senior – Mauvaise Herbe from Clem Stamation on Vimeo.
Seizure alert!  We are not kidding.  The strobes in this final video are dangerous.  We are saddened that some people will never be able to watch it.  Those who do will find that their eyes will be playing tricks on them, and afterimages are possible.  To quote Bruce Springsteen, “Mama always told me not to look into the eyes of the sun; but Mama, that’s where the fun is!”
Fix My Life
Director:  Morgan Beringer
Music:  Melt Yourself Down, “Fix My Life”
Melt Yourself Down – Fix My Life from Leaf Label on Vimeo.
Richard Allen for A Closer Listen.

Best New Videos III

These brand-new videos represent our best batch yet!  We’ve scoured through hundreds of videos in the past few months in order to bring you the finest the industry has to offer.  Start watching here now to discover your new favorites! 
Despite the fact that MTV has removed “music” from its moniker, music videos are alive and well.  Without the backing of major labels, budgets have been diminished, but new digital tools have helped directors to bring their visions to life.  This is an exciting time for the medium; the sky seems to be the limit for creativity.
In the latest installment, we bring you the best work of the past season: live action, time-lapse photography, animation, computer imagery, and even crayon!
A Winged Victory for the Sullen: Requiem for the Static King Part One
Director:  Christopher Hewitt
A Winged Victory For The Sullen – Requiem For The Static King Part One (Official Video) from Erased Tapes on Vimeo.
This season’s highlight is an amazing, heartfelt video that arrives a year after the stellar album, A Winged Victory for the Sullen.  The video runs the gamut of emotions, but ends on a note of hope.
Beirut: The Rip Tide
Director: Houmah Abdallah
Beirut ‘The Rip TIde’ from Houmam Abdallah on Vimeo.
A stunning debut from director Houman Abdallah: what begins as a normal sailing expedition turns into something wondrous.
Hundred Waters: Thistle
Director: Martin Allais
Hundred Waters – Thistle (Official video) from Martin Allais on Vimeo.
Shades of Stephen R. Johnson and Michael Gondry ~ an unexpectedly beautiful stop-motion video that we wish would never stop.  Poor horsie.
MRK: The Flow
Sound Design: echoicaudio
The Flow from MRK on Vimeo.
A short, abstract film that has already won an award for sound design, “The Flow” experiments with codes and layers and impresses with its industrial tone.
Kira Kira: Cutthroat Roundabout
Director: Sara Gunnarsdottir
CUTTHROAT ROUNDABOUT from Sara Gunnarsdottir on Vimeo.
An extremely bizarre, incredibly intriguing video for a song that didn’t seem to lend itself to the format – until we saw this.
View from the ISS at Night
Director: Knate Myers
Music: John Murphy, Sunshine (Adagio In D Minor)
Performed by the City of Prague Philharmonic
View from the ISS at Night from Knate Myers on Vimeo.
Sumptuous, all natural images from the International Space Station, a reminder of the beauty of our planet and a counterbalance to the violence of the international news.
John Talabot: Lamento
Director: Joshua Catalano
LAMENTO from Joshua Catalano on Vimeo.
A wild, hypnotic video for the techheads: special props to the blink-and-you’ll-miss-them flying cat ships.
Nicolas Ménard: Micromachines
Director: Nicolas Ménard
Music: Je Theme

Micromachines (2012) from Nicolas Ménard on Vimeo.
Sure, it’s “just crayon”, but it’s so much fun, especially for the kids.  Cars go to the drive-in to see movies about cars!
Hamer Hall: Evolution
Director: Cameron Gough
Music: Nick van Cuylenburg
Hamer Hall – Evolution from Dirty Puppet on Vimeo.
An unusual shape for a video – even narrower than the last one – designed to run in the 6 x 1 metre LED screens of Melbourne’s Hamer Hall.  Unless you have really good eyes, we recommend watching in full-screen!
Flying Lotus: Putty Boy Strut
Director: Cyriak
Flying Lotus – Putty Boy Strut (Until The Quiet Comes, new album out October 1st/2nd) from Warp Records on Vimeo.
The director of  Eskmo’s “We Got More” returns with a futuristic tale of cannibalistic robots.
ACL Classic: Cyriak’s “Cycles”

This 2010 video, alternately (and lovingly) known as “Invasion of the Teddy Bears”, represents Cyriak’s finest moment to date.
Miss a previous installment?  Click below for more!
Richard Allen

Best New Videos II

Animation!  Macro Imagery!  Live action!  The second installment of Best New Videos presents a cornucopia of sight and sound for your viewing and listening pleasure!
The recent Vimeo Awards are a sign that all is well in the short-form video industry.  The channel has upgraded since our last feature, and now boasts an extremely browser-friendly template with an increased amount of staff picks.  2011 was the year in which Bandcamp trounced MySpace; 2012 may be the year in which Vimeo trounces YouTube.  We hope that you enjoy this season’s handpicked selection!
Johnny Kelly:  Shelly
Music:  Clogs, “Kapsburger”
Shelly from Johnny Kelly on Vimeo.
This student project was made a few years ago, but just popped up online.  It begins in a charming, whimsical fashion, but in the end, it just breaks your heart.  :(
Diego Stocco ~ Music from Nature
Diego Stocco – Music from Nature from Diego Stocco on Vimeo.
You needed cheering up after the lobster video, didn’t you?  This should do the trick.  It’s Stocco’s second appearance in our first two installments.  ”Music from Nature” is a natural descendent of Coldcut’s “Natural Rhythm.”  Stocco’s fascination with the sonic properties of everything he encounters continues to inspire.
Raúl Gómez ~ Ordinary Symphony
Ordinary Symphony from Raúl Gómez on Vimeo.
Another slightly older (2011) video that recently surfaced for the international community, “Ordinary Symphony” is fun to watch because it keeps the eye moving from place to place.  Those who like this video may also enjoy a card game called “Spot It!”.
Stephen Meierding ~ Bicycle Sounds
Bicycle Sounds from Stephen Meierding on Vimeo.
Winner of the Bicycle Short Film Festival, “Bicycle Sounds” may remind some of the work of Origamibiro.  Not only is it a wonderful short film, it double-teams as a fine new composition.
Max Hattler ~ Shift
Music:  David Kamp
Shift (by Max Hattler) from Max Hattler on Vimeo.
Exquisite sound design is the key to this intriguingly precise video.  The editing is immaculate, and the synching of sight and sound is absolute.  Hattler demonstrates what should be common knowledge:  a successful music video is not just pretty pictures welded to pleasant sound.
Thallus ~ Focus the Play
Director:  Tonje Thilesen

Thallus – Focus The Play from Tonje Thilesen on Vimeo.
So you think you lack the budget to make an effective music video?  Look what this director does with water, paint and light.  Hollywood producers could learn a lot by watching this lesson in economy.
Hilary Hahn and Hauschka ~ Bounce Bounce
Director:  Hayley Morris
“Bounce Bounce” by Hilary Hahn and Hauschka from Hayley Morris on Vimeo.
Playful, beautiful stop-motion animation, done the old fashioned, painstaking way.  Sure, one could use a computer to speed up the process, but the end result would be much less charming.
Clemens Wirth ~ Micro Empire
Music:  Radium Audio
Micro Empire from Clemens Wirth on Vimeo.
Previously featured on our News page, “Micro Empire” represents the beginning of a new short video series, following the extremely successful “Macro Empire” series of last year.  Wirth continues to go from strength to strength, and shows no signs of slowing down.
Cokau ~ Prie Dieu
Music:  Amon Tobin, “Surge (16-bit remix)”
Prie Dieu from Cokau on Vimeo.
Winner of the Experimental category in this year’s Vimeo Awards, “Prie Dieu” is a stunning visual treat, bolstered by incredible colors and lighting.  No praying mantises were hurt.
Richard Allen

Best New Videos

New Feature!  Today’s music videos are different from their ancestors; the field has expanded to the point where it needs redefinition.  A modern music video may be a short film soundtracked by an older song, a new song backed by found footage, or a traditional promotional tool.  Sometimes the images come first, and the director looks for music; sometimes the music comes first, and the artist looks for visuals.  At other times, the creation of a video is a cooperative venture.
Thanks to Vimeo and other such channels, the potential for the short-form, music-backed, dialogue-free video is finally being reached.  Uploading is now easier than ever; fans often find their labors of love adopted as official videos.  Competing for air time is no longer an issue; if the video is worth sharing, people will share it.  Video may have killed the radio star, but the internet has helped the video star.  These are some of the best music videos we’ve encountered over the past three months.
Bending Sounds ~ NYC Subway
Director:  Tim Sessler
Those who followed this feature on its former site will recognize the name of Tim Sessler from his amazing “Stilles Leben”.  ”Bending Sounds” is of particular interest to anyone who has ever traveled through the New York transit system, which seems to be populated by random musicians.  Yet most of them have passed through a rigorous series of competitions in order to earn their right to perform.  This video offers an accurate representation of what it sounds like to pass through the train tunnels and over the platforms: alternating periods of silence, conversation and tune.  While these musicians are often ignored (Joshua Bell’s D.C. stint being the prime example), they comprise an important part of the sonic environment.  Without them, the transit system would seem much less friendly.
Improv on a Plate
Director:  Diego Stocco
Our old friend Diego Stocco (“Music from a Dry Cleaner”) was “about to cut a chocolate cake (when he) noticed a very interesting sound”.  The cake seen in the background looks very tasty, and it does seem that Diego ate a slice.  Inspired by sugar and sound, he also produced this fun piece.  As with all of the artist’s work, it demonstrates a love of pure sound and its sonic possibilities.
Rear Window
Director:  Jeff Desom

Music:  Johannes Brahms, arr. Hugo Winterhalter, “Hungarian Dance”
Jeff Desom’s video for Hauschka’s “Morgenrot” was nominated for a Vimeo award a couple years back; it’s hard to imagine that “Rear Window” won’t receive the same attention.  It’s incredible to think that all of this footage came from the original movie.  With the help of tilt-shift photography, Desom makes it seem like something new.
Timelapse Croatia
Directors:  Romulic & Stojcic
While billed as a timelapse video, this presentation is actually comprised of hundreds of thousands of photographs.  It’s a window to a country few of us have seen, and it’s so beautifully presented that it makes one want to travel there.  While the score begins as expected, a long period in the middle allows the sound of Croatia to speak for itself, a rare choice that makes a powerful impact.
Arctic Motion
Director:  Tor Even Mathisen
Music:  The American Dollar, “As We Leave”

The music of The American Dollar seems ideally suited to timelapse videos; 2011′s “Manhattan in Motion” is a prime example.  And the camera of Tor Even Mathisen seems ideally suited to capturing images of the Northern Lights.  This amazing footage is a wonderful way to introduce these seldom-seen images to the world, as well as to launch The American Dollar’s new album Awake in the City.
Director:  Hugo Goudswaard
Music:  Nicholas Jaar, “Columb”
As winter turns to spring, the thaw is in full force.  This macro film brilliantly delves into the sights and sounds of the changing seasons.  This blend of music, image and sound is abstract yet easy to interpret: he sendeth out his word, and melteth them; he causeth his wind to blow, and the waters flow.
In the Middle (I Met You There)
Director:  Morgan Beringer
Music:  Matthew Dear (ft. Jonny Pierce of The Drums)
“In the Middle (I Met You There)” is easily the best video of the season:  impressionistic, dramatic and memorable.  An intense color palette shifts and surges, obscuring and revealing the images within.  The overall effect is hypnotic, mesmerizing, and curiosity-inducing, especially on a full screen.  Is that photography, painting, or computer wizardry?  How did they do that?
Richard Allen

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