With this last part, we will head for more energetic offerings from last year. Be sure to get in the lively mood and the trippiness of those videos. Fasten your seatbelt and enjoy the ride. A bit of caution here as these videos are mild NSFW.
Caravan Palace “Lone Digger” by Double Ninja
“The choice of the title started as a joke while exchanging emails with our manager and we liked the modern touch immediately. Our good old robot as an emoji <I°_°I> ! We communicate a lot via email and text messages, so it actually took us a while to realise it could be a problem pronouncing it. But it’s fun to puzzle people a bit, even your direct partners: label, PRs, distributors… Somehow it started to be called “Robot” or “Robot face” on the net but that was never our choice.” (The band commenting on the title of their new album <I°_°I>, since I couldn’t find any interviews regarding the video. For whatever reason a video this popular and the band this socially active didn’t have any single mention is beyond me).
Okay, I’m a bit cheating here as this video was released in late 2015, but I know it when I saw it, this video has to be up here on this list. I’m not beating around the bush, Lone Digger video is one of the most impressive production. Everything here is top-notch, the music is great- the French band Caravan Palace is one of the most prominent electro-swing band today; just listen!), the video kicks ass- they created the mood of the club that go so well together with the song, and they managed to turn up a notch into a bloodbath of the lawless. But the video speaks some of the truth as well. Aren’t we, human, when get drunk and high, becoming some sort of wild animals? This video brings an absolute amazing energy that surely will make your blood pumping and your heart racing.
Savern “Hendrix” by Airplan Studio
Regrettably, I can’t find any interviews regarding the making of this video. Might have it in Hungarian, where the band and the animation company are based, but again that out of my reach.
Wildly imaginative, cinematic, and just plain entertaining to watch, this video gives a lovely tribute to classic rock music, classic western movies and the post apocalyptic world that suddenly become popular in recent years (no small thanks to Mad Max Fury Road). Let’s face it, this world building is so cool that you could make a movie revolve around this settings (Actually they did raising funds for another project based on this settings, which sadly failed). The story is a trip to madness where the world is suddenly invaded by the alien that could make people hallucinating. There’s the green liquid that can keep people in check but with all the supply is now gone, our “Man with No Name” version becomes more and more out of touch with the reality and get himself more into the world of Jimi Hendrix. The CG animation mostly keep up with the theme but the art settings of the post apocalyptic world are the real winner here. Moreover, this video never forgets to be fun and as a whole, this is a must watch for any fan of classic rock music and movie lovers.
The Avalanches “Subways” by Mrzyk & Moriceau
“The concept was to create a full 2D cartoon inspired by Sesame Street. An old school, grainy and fully handmade cartoon, as if it had been created in the 70s. It had to look like a dangerous and stressful jungle with incredible characters. The idea was to escape from reality and go to something more strange, fantastical, with a little bit of humour.” (Mrzyk & Moriceau)
Discovering new animation work from French directing duo Mrzyk & Moriceau is always a treat as it guarantees trippy, often outrageous imagery held together by a certain subversive sense. Presented in a style that may or may not have been inspired by the likes of Fritz The Cat (with a little bit of additional French sophistication), illustrators Mrzyk & Moriceau have reimagined the journey into a hilarious and psychedelic vision to the soundtrack of the summer Subways by The Avalanches in which we see a revolving cast of incredible characters and as much visual innuendo as you can cram into three and a half minutes. This silly but wonderful music video was inspired by the New York subway in the 70s and It’s full of crude imagery that you can’t help but giggle at, subways turned into love trains full of bubbles, infinity hot dogs, a poodle clown, a pair of high-fiving rats, and an apple-headed man walking a worm. The Avalanche’s music always have the escapist quality and this video helps enhancing that mood with all the silly, colorful sets of characters.
Run the Jewels ft. lil Bub, Maceo, Delonte “Meowpurrdy” by Cyriak
“My first thought was how weird it was to mix cats and rap music, but it makes sense when you consider the duality of cats: They look cute and fluffy but they are savage wild animals at the same time.” – Cyriak
About the concept “It’s the epic struggle between good and evil in a universe made entirely of cats. In the end, both sides are perfectly balanced, and I guess they cancel each other out — or are simply a part of a larger natural cycle.”
Run The Jewels made music history when they unleashed the world’s first cat-rap charity album Meow The Jewels that composed entirely of sounds made by cats. So for Meowpurrdy, they naturally turned to the only man able to provide a suitably insane version of its visual equivalent, Cyriak – the king of the disturbing and hallucinatory Internet video. Using morphing as his main technique, this bizarre animated video features a kaleidoscopic collage of abominable cats that grow appendages out of their mouths and heads. At its conclusion, a villainous cat that would frighten Cerebus rises from the underworld, swallows an angelic kitten then spits the poor thing out like a hairball, only to explode into the sky. Cyriak’s visual treatment is an LSD-nightmare miasma of cat limbs and teeth fractalizing into feline Cthulu-esque monstrosities engaged in an epic battle between cat heaven and cat hell. It’s nothing like you have seen before but it’s also fascinating to watch.
Koloto “Fay” by Sabine Volkert
“The video follows the protagonist from the lyricless song’s title, as she embarks on a journey of self-discovery, acceptance and growth. After being thrown off of the support she previously received, Fay seeks refuge in an alternative world, Here she is being confronted with instances of her future self, while her insecurities manifest themselves and try to capture and bind her to the past. Throughout this chase she learns to find inner strength and accept herself while moving forward, Back in her actual reality she has now come out as a stronger and independent person. No shape is bound by the limitation of its original form; that makes it quite playful. Everything is in a state of constant movement – forming, dissipating, morphing. Serving as an expression of the music, the visual language as well as the entire narrative are driven by the sounds and evolve with it.” – Sabine Volkert
This video is a glaring example of creating the animated sequence that flows completely in synch with the music. Intricate and delicate, “Fay” is a gorgeously composed piece of electronic music that has been paired with an equally stunning animated video by Sabine Volkert, an animator, illustrator, and designer currently based in Germany. It took nine months of production time over a 14-month period to complete. The music video organically merges the dynamics of music and moving pictures. The director builds semi-abstract worlds telling a story of self-recognition, self-acknowledgment and personal growth accompanied by electronic music.The figure with long blonde hair is transported from reality into an every-changing landscape of tunnels, passages, mirrors and puddles. Along the way she is sometimes depicted as a girl, and at other points is abstracted to a light-yellow streak speeding through the coloured graphics. At the end, she is pulled back into the real world by an outstretched arm. The character’s speed and movement roughly follow the pace of the track’s distorted sounds. The visuals play out as continuous animated shot without any cuts.
BONUS: THE BEST USE OF CGI ANIMATION
Yili “Jay Chou Kinetic Milk” by Ryan Staake
“I think I’m a bit of a stylistic chameleon. My videos tend to be based around novel VFX techniques, fringe camera technologies, time consuming practical effects or whatever new method I want to dive into for a month or two. I try to use these new approaches in ways that serve a central theme or idea I’m trying to convey for a video, and not just as a gimmick (but that definitely happens). I come from a design background, so I’m constantly chasing that creative-high of finding a visual hook to perfectly express an idea/statement.”
For my almost dismissal towards the CG animation (I need to fix that bad habit of mine, I just don’t really care about CG animation), this ad is a fine case where the usage of 3D CGI actually enhance the viewing experience. Directed by Ryan Staake, the man who always fascinated with VFX techniques (he just released his most creative work so far, in which he had to make the music video when the actual artist didn’t even appeared on set. It’s hilarious). I’m a bit too old now to be impressed by Rube Goldberg machine, but the video showcases computer-generated 3D elements that act in a very similar manner to real-world elements. In fact, you’ll probably find yourself wondering if the elements are real or not throughout the video. Notably, the physics in the music video are fantastic.
And that’s a wrap. With the new release of Gorillaz’s new single just weeks ago – the band who is exceptional both in music and in animation departments, 2017 promised to be a great year for animated music videos as well. See you again for next year’s coverage. Perhaps.