Russell Kirkpatrick's Journal
Blogging. Has anyone noticed I'm not very good at it? Last blog I talked about my strength. Well, as the remaining friends I have will tell you, communication is my weakness.
I've spent the last few days enraptured by The Decemberists' new album 'The Hazards of Love'. It's utterly captivating folk-rock, melodic but with a sinister twist, all wrapped up in a fantasy about the doomed love between a woman and her shape-shifter beloved.
If you can find it, have a listen to the song 'The Wanting Comes in Waves/Repaid'.
What else? New epic fantasy going well. Used NZ's premier toll road, queued up to pay my two bucks and a week later received a bill for unpaid tolls. What utter nonsense. Rang them to sort it out - of course I no longer have the receipt, but I was able to tell them that one of their two machines was broken. 'We'll ring you back.' Yeah. Still waiting.
Been doing a lot of thinking about moral philosophy.
Saw Star Trek: a good vehicle to reintroduce the main characters, but the plot was implausible, trivial and forgettable. Still, enough explosions and the audience will swallow anything. Must remember that. In the words of John Wesley, marked on his sermon: 'Logic weak, shout here.'
Oh, and some of you have noticed my blog is being spammed. Spammers, you are low-lives. I've had to spend good money setting up a system to weed you out, and my real friends are put to extra trouble because of it.
I should have been writing, but I put this together instead. Here are some of my favourite music videos. Seen any of these?
1. Come to Daddy by Aphex Twin, directed by Chris Cunningham. A sinister horror video to accompany a frankly frightening piece of ‘drill ‘n’ bass’ techno. The Aphex Twin stars as a group of young girls, a homunculus and a young male victim. This video has won numerous awards, and established the Aphex Twin’s reputation. Plays with gender identities in an unsettling way.
2. Sing For Absolution by Muse, directed by Ark. A gentle science fiction twist on the ‘Planet of the Apes’ premise. Here the band are escaping a world about to be destroyed by an ice age. Superb graphics and production values enhance a passionately sung song. Won Kerrang’s 2004 video of the year award.
3. Once In A Lifetime by Talking Heads, directed by Jonathon Demme. Brilliant and not dated, this 25 year old video was the first music video to be exhibited in an art gallery. Perfect showcase for the zany David Byrne, Talking Heads’ frontman, a sort of musical John Cleese.
4. Around The World by Daft Punk, directed by Michel Gondry. This catchy bass-driven techno piece has a brilliantly choreographed video which emphasises the mechanic/organic mix in Daft Punk’s music. Delightful fun. Gondry went on to direct The Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind.
5. Walkietalkieman by Steriogram, directed by Michel Gondry. New Zealand punk/rock group given the Gondry treatment. The song (but not the video) was used in an iPod commercial. The video features knitting, yes knitting, and lots of New Zealand’s most famous product. I especially enjoy the bit when the giant rips the lead singer in half, only for him to be sewn back together.
6. All Is Full Of Love by Bjork, directed by Chris Cunningham. Cunningham is a master of the medium; I love everything he’s done. And the elfin Icelandic wailer appears in a beautiful shimmery ballad, as eccentric and controversial as one would expect from the two main protagonists. Hugely influential, this video of one robot creating her lover paved the way for I, Robot among other special effects.
7. Itsu by Plaid, directed by Pleix. An unsettling spin on the ‘meat is murder’ theme; the title says it all. No gratuitous violence, but it does get its point across amongst the blips and beats of Plaid’s austere electronic rhythms. Not well known but a real gem.
8. Windowlicker by Aphex Twin, directed by Chris Cunningham. If you are easily offended don’t watch this. A long clip, it allows Richard James (a.k.a Aphex Twin) to parody the ‘white men can’t dance’ notion. After two minutes of offensive language as a pair of black men try to chat up two black women, Aphex Twin arrives to steal the scene. The trademark head-substitution and unsettling gender blurring. The music is a parody of smooth hip-hop. Fun, but I warned you about being offended …
9. Nice Weather For Ducks by Lemon Jelly, directed by Lemon Jelly. The Jelly run their own graphic arts company, Airside, so do their own videos. And this is a treat. A gentle, naïve Dutch children’s tune is turned into a rollicking salsa number as cartoon animals dance with the wise wizard. Totally psychedelic bliss-out fun.
10. I Wish I Had An Angel by Nightwish, directed by unknown. Nightwish are a Scandinavian goth-metal group with a slew of spectacular is slightly juvenile videos, and this is the best of them. Love the insane bassist. Interspersed with footage of some movie or other.
11. The Barry Williams Show by Peter Gabriel, directed by Sean Penn. Yes, that Sean Penn. Gabriel had really pushed the boundaries of the video form, from Sledgehammer in the 1980s through to today. This, off his most recent album, is a parody of a certain talkshow host that unfolds interestingly enough until a spine-chilling twist halfway through. Superb.
12. Televators by The Mars Volta, directed by The Saline Project. Like everything The Mars Volta do, the Televators video doesn’t make straightforward sense. It is gorgeous, however, an animation about a city man and a jungle animal. I can’t work out much more than that!
All these videos can be found on the internet, most on youtube.
What are some of your favourites?