Friday, 23 October 2009

Video nasty

I've spoken on here about my appreciation for music videos when they are done well. Music videos can be inspired as well as awful, and at their best they are works of art. Music videos also give bands and directors a chance to create something really, well... odd. And I like odd. Here's a few of the ones that stand out to me as particularly weird.

Monkey Drummer - Chris Cunningham & Aphex Twin

Wonderfully odd, refreshingly simple and original, and certainly creepy in many ways. The combination of the organic and the mechanical is something that, when done well, can still produce genuine chills for me (and, I believe, many others) despite the technological age we live in. It's also fun to draw comparisons to the Cadbury's drumming gorilla - he stood out on TV, but compared to the robo-bonobo above our Phil Collins-loving primate seems positively ordinary.

Donkey Rhubarb - Aphex Twin

Another one from Richard D. James, a.k.a Aphex Twin. James' music videos are always something special in a disturbing and oddball way, but at the same time feeling like highly crafted and original works. James has a tendency to use his own face, complete with twisted and unnerving grin, throughout his videos. This one is no different, turning our lovely teddy bears into something plucked from a nightmarish version of CBeebies.

Black Hole Sun - Soundgarden

Being fifteen years old now, some of the effects in this video do come across as a little dated. But I don't think the overall effect is diminished at all. Wonderfully kooky with some genuinely disturbing images, Soundgarden's video presents both a critique and a tribute to the American life and American values. Despite all the surreal barbecues, the giant dogs bathing with women and images of the Apocalypse, it's the grinning plastic-style faces of pretty much everyone in the video (not including the band) that freak me out the most.

Closer - Nine Inch Nails

Everything about this one is just strange and unnerving. Like a compilation of shots from some LSD-fuelled version of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, excerpts from long lost science videos and a snuff film, the whole thing oozes gothic atmosphere. If I had to choose one thing that freaks me out the most, it has to be the mechanised heart strapped to the chair right at the start. I believe there's a version without the "scene missing" screens with more sections that couldn't be shown on television, but at the moment I can't find it. I can't imagine how much weirder it could get though.

Don't Let The Man Get You Down - Fatboy Slim (video here)

This one's less overtly odd, but every time I see it I just find the whole thing very uncomfortable and think it's put together in a masterful way. The end is just chilling, so make sure you watch until the very end.

And just to finish...

The Salmon Dance - The Chemical Brothers

Because singing fish are always odd, as well as great fun.

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