Each week, Moritz Gayard rounds up the best new music videos so you don’t have to.
2013 has been a banner year for music videos. The genre seems to be unstoppable, as we proved it every single week with this Videodrome column. This year I got told to drop some sort of a best videos list—not an easy task. Anyway, let’s get to it and salute my Ten Best Music Videos of 2013. On a side note: what has happened to Patrick Daughters?
#1 Placebo – “Too Many Friends”, directed by Saman Kesh
Saman Kesh is the best director working. Placebo is not the best band working. But this is definitely one of the most interesting and unique videos I’ve seen this year. Speaking to Videostatic, Saman Kesh explains: “It was designed as a puzzle. I actually got the idea when somebody told me ‘Hey man, I love your work… I’m always not sure If my interpretation is right though, but awesome!!!’ I was kind of sad by this as I took it as ‘your shit isn’t clear motherfucker!’—haha. So, it weaseled its way into the writing as a “what do YOU think happened, viewer?” We originally had four answers, but we found it to be a bit too confusing, so we decided to compartmentalize them into A) Guys fault, B) Girl’s fault, C) We are wrong, you tell us”.
#2 Mazes – “Bodies”, directed by Austin of Vision Fortune
Simplicity is king. Directed by Austin of Vision Fortune, this video explores the connection between moving and still imagery as several couples pose for photographs. Of the video Austin says, “The idea of the video came from the idea that we as humans are inevitably attracted to both moving image and still imagery such as photography and painting. The video explores and raises questions about the parallels between these two mediums: we see the subjects sitting as still as possible for these ‘video’ portraits, subtle nuances appear on closer inspection as we the audience see eyes blinking and twitching”.
#3 Co La – “Make It Slay”, directed by Andrew Strasser
Dem thirsty. Baltimore musician and producer Co La, signed to OPN’s infamous Software imprint, has released a hell of a CGI HD video centered solely around a champagne flute. Director Andrew Strasser on the clip: “‘Make It Slay’ is the kind of jam that inspires angles. When Matt approached me about making a video based around a champagne glass, the choice to animate freed any limits. This was also another opportunity to mix the message of carbonated ‘cola’. This video is full of references to 3D animation tutorial culture, but does not glamorize cyber culture. Instead it pits feat in idyllic artificial environments—beauty is your biggest enemy.”
#4 Death Grips – “You might think he loves you for your money but I know what he really loves you for it’s your brand new leopard skin pillbox hat”, self-directed
Fucking with all the boundaries left, Death Grips are showing a.g.a.i.n. the path to free your mind.
#5 Beach House – “Wishes”, directed by Eric Wareheim
It’s happening again: Laura Palmer’s dad lip-syncs to this dreamy Beach House track while riding a horse, surrounded by cheerleaders wearing horse masks in a soccer stadium?
#6 The Civil Wars – “The One That Got Away”, directed by Tom Haines
“The One That Got Away” was the first single from Grammy nominated goth folk duo The Civil Wars—unfortunately they split up before their new album was released. Longtime directing champion Tom Haines on the video: “I wanted to create the idea of a character who was living on the edge of society, but that gave her strength,” Haines says. “She is vulnerable but adaptable, and sadly, seismic natural disasters seem to be increasingly something we may have to live with, so adaptability is crucial to survival. It somehow reflected the ideas of loss, regret and transience which echo in the song.”
#7 Scratch Massive feat. Koudlam – “Waiting for a Sign”, directed by Edouard Salier
The video is set in some post-apocalyptic Thailand with boys lost in a Lord of the Flies daze. I love it. And Koudlam is the best thing that happened in 2013.
#8 Oneohtrix Point Never – “Still Life” (Betamale), directed by Jon Rafman
Extremely disturbing and extremely NSFW.
#9 Dean Blunt – “Felony / Stalker 7”, self-directed
искусство, обращенное спиной к зрителю, но силящееся объяснить ему выражение своего лица (за счет в основном обнажения боли, которое в то же время не считывается как жалоба).
#10 Pharrell Williams – “Happy”, directed by We Are From LA
You cannot watch this video and NOT want to dance by the end of it. Promise. Cameos include Odd Future’s Tyler, the Creator, Earl Sweatshirt, and Jasper, Jimmy Kimmel, Magic Johnson, Steve Carell, Jamie Foxx, Kelly Osboune. Pharrell Williams: “The best work comes from people who are motivated by crisis—when something stops the original idea, they respond by coming up with something even better. Existence is all mathematics, he says. There’s an equation for success in every obstacle.”
For more editions of Videodrome, click here.
Scratch Massive’s new album Nuit de Rêve will have you reaching for the adjectives in a hurry. In the meantime let’s just say that this is like listening to the future backwards. You could spend all night trying to piece together the musical references: everything from dark synthesizers to Koudlam‘s breath of fresh air and Jimmy Somerville make their appearance on this classic sounding electronic record which sometimes feels like John Carpenter’s imagination getting trapped in an analogue German heaven. Or to put it another way, you’ll love it with the lights off.
Click below for today’s EB Listening Party featuring Scratch Massive:
Space-rocked and sci-twisted French duo Discodeine (consisting of Pilooski and Pentile) happily time-travels into the strange and soulful no-man’s land of future disco which is occupied by only a few machine-funking creatures whose style and attitude oscillate between the ludicrous and trendy. Far away from our trivial planet pop, disco and krautrock sounds get warped into another dimension creating a homogenous, yet unique mixture that enchants with timeless grooviness, downtempo atmospheres and modern song writing.
Luring but not sexy, rakish yet unconcerned, delirious but not obvious are the trademarks of Discodeine, whose project kicked off in 2007, around the same time Pilooski published his first collection of Dirty Edits Vol. I – A Collection Of Dirty Classics Selected By Dirty Sound System. Being part of the Dirty Sound System, and as an avid rare music lover and recycler, he elegantly scavenged outer musical dimensions to recover some weird-ass gems, among them music by Pipilotti Rist and The Human Beinz, and remixed them into glamorous contemporary chic floor companions. Remixes for LCD Sounds System, Mystery Jets and Frankie Valli were also part of the protocol, and Dirty Edits Vol. 2 following swiftly in 2008, to much acclaim, added even more French remix craft mastery to the bill. Krikor and Joakim were on duty as well.
The other vital ingredient of the magical duo, Pentile, formed part of Octet and France Copland. Teaming up in the studio,they unleashed their whole power. Their project involves wine, tattoos, Ennio Morricone’s string section, a lot of fun playing around with ring modulators, and blood – all of which was then turned into full-grown tracks. Their self-titled debut album, released this month on Pschent, unites the Discodeine highlights previously released on Dirty, and features collaborations with Jarvis Cocker, Matias Aguayo and Baxter Dury. We bug Pilooski Q&A style and find out it’s all not as future disco as we think.
Discodeine sounds like a combination of cough syrup and, ahem, disco. How did you come up with this infernal concoction?
It’s a thing of balance: a dose of funk, experimentation, all wrapped up in a pop format.
How many bottles of Chianti did you have to drink to make this album? Or in other words: How did this album come about?
The album is just the logical progression of a few 12” we did. We didn’t have to do it, but then again, we like the idea of it.
How long did it take to make?
About a year.
The album sounds like you do not care at all about anything, the only thing that counts is that you are happy…
That’s right, we and the machines are a happy family. We all jam together and then edit the whole thing.
Between the two of you, who is responsible for what in the studio?
We both do compositions and arrangements; Benjamin is more on the textures, I, Cédric, do the mixing.
Do you play/perform live as well?
We’re working on it at the moment.
Could you play Air or Daft Punk for me, please?
We think you’ve come to the wrong party…
What do you do apart from making music?
Breathe, eat, sometimes we get some sleep.
And when you’re making music as Pilooski and Pentile… What are you both busy with right now…?
I’m producing bands at the moment, one is called Tristesse Contemporaine, the other one is called Turzi. Benjamin is working on a solo project on a more experimental trip.
How did you end up on Pschent as opposed to Dirty where you previously released your records?
Dirty licensed it to Pschent, as a means to expand, I suppose.
What is the club and music situation in Paris Disco City? Still as baguettecore as it used to be?
Yes, it’s still very baguettecore, the only difference is that now we also get the butter to go with it.
As influences, you cite Richard Gotainer, CAN and Messiaen which is quite a bizarre mixture of weird-ass krautrock, experimental music and trash! Tell us more about these fascinations… how did you get into that sort of music?
We usually have a fascination for dead composers.
Are you record collectors?
We don’t collect records, what’s the use?
Do you feel some kind of mental brotherhood with the Emperor Machine?
Would you feel comfortable to present yourself in a world-wide future disco context or is Discodeine just a fun project?
We don’t really know what future disco is, do you?
What is the future of future disco?
And your future vision of Discodeine?
Less and less future disco.
How did you get to make music with Jarvis Cocker?
He got in touch with Dirty, I did a remix for him, we then proposed this track to him as we were looking for a pop feature.
And Baxter Dury?
We are fans of his music, so we called him.
What does Discodeine look like? A lot of disco sports a very strong visual identity including planets, triangles, and anything that has a parapsychological feel to it.
We’re more into 19th century paintings to be honest.
Is it true that you have “Discodeine is hot” tattooed on your bottoms? And that you met at the gym?
Yes, we also mixed our blood.
What does Discodeine taste like?
Sweet and sour, what would you expect?
Like teen spirit.