Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Matthew Frost and his Celebrity Pals Poke Fun at Modern Life

A few years ago we learnt that 10% of all the photographs ever taken by humanity were captured within the course of twelve months.  That means a tenth of all images existing in photography’s 215 year history came into being during recent months.
The need to self-celebrate and narcissistically capture personal triviality is obviously concerning many, especially celebrities who find it increasingly harder to compete with a system where people flock from fad to fad, taking little time to genuinely value precious moments. In Matthew Frost’s two-minute short Aspirational, Hollywood star Kirsten Dunst is accosted by a couple of Gen Yers who seize the opportunity to rampantly take selfies of themselves, as if posing with an inhuman object. “Do you want to talk or anything?” beseeches Dunst, “I mean, you can ask me a question, or are you curious about anything?” But the point is to shine a light on the transient attention span of modern times, and hopefully shame ourselves into recognition.
This Matthew Frost fella has a particular knack for roping in celebrities to make funny and succinct vignettes, bemoaning the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder plaguing us. That said, the shorts work best when those famous people participating are willing to make fun of themselves, too.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

-Music Videos on my Mind- Ty Segall’s “Connection Man”

There’s no excuse for artists not putting out music videos in this age. Technology is meant to be cheaper and more accessible than ever, yet the number of times we come across fantastic new material void of moving images to accompany it, is maddeningly inexcusable.
But San Francisco’s Ty Segall seems an analogue soul in a digital world, hence why he names old rock bands from the ‘70s as icons that inspire him. Retro British music has been especially important to Segall, most notably glitter rock figures like T. Rex and Ziggy Stardust, whose psychedelic overtones are very much laced in his own output. (Even turns out that Baby Boomer favourites Hawkwind is Segall’s most esteemed band.)
Man, it’s almost tragic that a pop song as wicked as Connection Man has no music video. It’s equally tragic that an ostensible movie blogger like moi is too technically inept to patch together something that suffices. The shame of it.

Monday, 15 September 2014

-Music Videos on my Mind- The Foreign Resort’s “Alone”

It was thanks to The Cure that alternative rock music went commercial.

Fronted by the aesthetically gloomy Robert Smith and consisting of a line up of gothic outliers, The Cure wasn’t the type of group to appeal to the mainstream, but during the ‘80s they were massive. The Cure had a Midas ability to generate uniquely odd songs that absolutely rocked Top 40 radio. The songs were eerie but drenched in infectious melody, which made the band one of the most successful British groups of all time.
Interpol, The Smashing Pumpkins and Deftones all cite The Cure as primary influences, and it’s obvious that Denmark’s The Foreign Resort owes the same respect. However, The Foreign Resort is so hung-up on immersing itself in the whole UK post-punk/ new wave sound that they’ve failed to acknowledge that a huge part of what made The Cure’s music so brilliant was Smith’s weirdly playful lyricisms. Furthermore, The Cure had legendary music videos, whereas these guys haven’t seemed to have bothered much. Love the sound, though.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

-Music Videos on my Mind- Yann Tiersen’s “Meteorites”

Yann Tiersen was up until now a name that appeared on movie credits for music by. It turns out he’s actually a French indie pop star with eight studio albums under his belt, and it appears that European directors wholesale lift songs from his albums because his sound is impressively cinematic. For example, the music used on Amélie pretty much consists of tunes pilfered from Tiersen’s first four albums.
Tiersen thinks in cinema. Everything about Meteorites speaks film, from a poetic recitation of what feels like a movie pitch, to the finale of 1950s B-movie theremins that brings it all back to ground. The song lives and breathes through Aidan Moffat’s brogue Scottish narration, who himself is the lead singer in Arab Strap, imbuing the vocals with a baritone dreaminess that takes the listener by the hand and whisks them on an exquisite voyage of ethereal loveliness.
Meteorites is a song of cosmic enchantment: building from small tender beginnings, flourishing into a sensual midpoint, only to then fade into a miasma of spooky exhaustion.
It’s the kind of song that is so epic in scale it seems a poor choice to have commissioned a music video which is so stiff and confined. It’s distracting to have French fashion model Clémence Poésy ineffectively mouth Moffat’s words. It proves distracting, whereas just to close one’s eyes and go on Moffat’s journey suffices.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

-Music Videos on my Mind- Sharon Van Etten’s “Our Love”

The track listings of Sharon Van Etten’s latest album Are We There have a convincing theme of nihilistic romance, for it includes songs titled Your Love Is Killing Me, I Love You But I’m Lost and Our Love.
Our Love is the song that resonates most because of its bleak sensibilities. It’s a song that wallows in minimalist arrangements, consisting of unfortunate metaphors and repeated verses that echo a relationship decaying in the worst ways imaginable. It’s a song that finds beauty in the dying embers of romance, presenting a tale of emotional privation, and discovering that the end of a relationship is as tragically beautiful as its birth. It’s dark and evocative song writing.