Top 5 Music Videos of the Week: Boy Epic, Lea Porcelain + more
5. Lea Porcelain — “A Year From Here”
“A Year From Here,” directed by Micki Rosi Richter and Lea Porcelain is a stunning video, but hard to grok. I’ve sat through it several times trying to decide if it’s the ghostly journey of a mother and daughter dealing with a loss together, or the bleak imagination of an orphan trying to will her mother back into existence during her darkest days. Either way, it’s beautiful. Utter beautiful. There is a brightness, and a contrast, and a magic, and a pain. I look forward to drowning in it again.
4. Vallenfyre — “The Merciless Tide”
I get a surprisingly low number of great metal music videos in this column. Most of the truly disturbing stuff is coming from people who rarely speak above a whisper, and that’s not a bad thing, but I do miss an unapologetic scream into the void. “The Merciless Tide,” directed by Ash Pears, is not for the faint of heart. A man (Chris Haris), is trapped in a cell by white-faced figures and is being tortured to death slowly in a variety of inventive psychological ways. It all builds to a gruesome suicide, a hopeless nothing from which any sensible person would turn away.
I watched it three times.
3. Boy Epic — “Trust”
Every Boy Epic video I’ve ever seen sort of looks the same, but it’s in the way every Scorsese flicks sort of looks the same. Every time he shows up on my scream I feel like I’m watching some awesome spiritual sequel to Fight Club in broken pieces, and the result is magnetic. Here, we see Boy Epic live out a double fantasy life as a roguish gentleman of crime dragging his girlfriend through violence and vice, only for the terrifying reality to come crashing at the end. Boy Epic is just walking hypnosis in every movement, and I can’t wait for the next piece of the puzzle.
2. Hippo Campus — “western kids”
There are videos like Dire Straits “Money for Nothing” and A-ha’s “Take on Me” that managed that sweet spot between cutting edge animation that still managed to not be very good and, well, being something we just haven’t seen before. That’s why they have endured even though technology has gotten so much better. I sort of get the impression that “western kids,” directed by Najeeb Tarazi and which seems to take place inside pirated animation software, was sort of going for that sweet spot, and it oddly works. Contrived? Yeah, it kind of is, but the whole time I felt like I was immersed in a musical version of some terribly avant garde yet utterly broken visual experience, much like the video games of Kitty Horrorshow embrace dysfunction as a design aesthetic. The video ends with all the elements being deleted into a bland singularity, and it’s narratively more compelling than 90 percent of the videos out there.
1. Amanda Palmer and Edward Ka-Spel — “The Clock at the Back of the Cage”
I am cheating here because this hit the internet back in April, and despite being a huge fan of Edward Ka-Spel IU somehow missed it. That’s a shame because… woah. Directed by Chris Bennet, Christy Louise Flaws and Luke O’Connor (the latter two of whom also star in the piece), “The Clock at the Back of the Cage” is a spellbinding stop-motion fairytale that is so beautiful you forget it is disturbing as all get out. It comes across like Mirrormask by way of the Brothers Quay, and every second of it makes you wish every other music video would learn from it. I haven’t seen an animated masterpiece like this since Erasure’s “Gaudete,” and even that is barely in the same league. Watch this with the lights off, and as Ka-Spel always says, “sing while you may.”
by Jef Rouner