pick a piper: all her colours.

Long story short: I’ve been waiting three years for Pick A Piper to release a full length album. And my dreams are coming true.

Pick A Piper - All Her Colours cover

I first wrote about Pick A Piper three years ago, and since then they’ve maintained a justifiable position of glory in my regular iTunes rotation. Created by Caribou’s Brad Weber, he oversees the highly collaborative outputs of Pick A Piper with friends like Angus Fraser, Dan Roberts and Ruby Suns’ Ryan McPhun. The first glimpse into the new record came two months ago with the release of Weber and McPhun’s track “Lucid in Fjords.”

 

Then the gifts kept coming, and three weeks ago they announced their first full-length LP “All Her Colours.” I mean, c’mon: the album has “colours” in the title. It’s like they’re doing this just for me! Though I fell in love with Pick A Piper because of their randomly complex beats and use of eclectic organic sound-makers (find me anything as dance-worthy that also has a glockenspiel in it, I dare you…), Weber has a deft ear and his recent shift to more production-based, synthetic sounds has only served to make the new tracks even more exciting. He’s playing again with one of my favourite themes in all of art – the digital organic – and here he creates, twists, delays and reverbs lines of aural magic that, though digital, sound like they were first formed in nature. The kind of fantastical magical nature you usually only to get to visit while dreaming or high or both.

I’ve waited to post about the new record hoping we’d get a video to promote the release, and today, oh happy day, they delivered a visual just as complex and interesting as their music. Directed and animated by Matt Yarrington and Sara Winters, the video for the album’s title track “All Her Colours” (with fellow Caribou member John Schmersal on vocals) is the perfect animated trip. Any video with a heroine who mixes her own potion in a blanket fort in the park and ends up riding prisms through outer space is right up my alley. I already loved the video, but I loved it more after reading some of Yarrington’s background for the vid as told to MTV Hive“It is intended to portray color and light itself, personified as a female human and broken into a collection of archetypal aspects of the ‘oneself,’” he says. “Each color is like a vital center of the whole. The shadow character is the negative aspects of a ‘Macrocosmic Oversoul,’ who, in an effort to harness the power of light and wreak havoc, has trapped ‘White Light’ in a prism and refracted her into the individual colors of the visible spectrum.” 

So, basically, I love Yarrington as much as Weber now.

“All Her Colours” is out on Mint Records on April 2 and is up for digital/vinyl pre-order now.

quasi-objects: lorenzo oggiano.

I’ve always loved the intersection of the digital and the organic, and how the hyper-depiction of seemingly natural subjects can be rendered so realistic that they border on seeming fake. Working in both video and 3D-generated visuals, Lorenzo Oggiano works inside a high-def macro world where his images play with polarity. Beginning his study in 2003 and still on-going, his “Quasi-Objects” series is obviously beautiful, but glistening grotesque; informed by the laws and evolutions of nature but not actually formed by them. Up-close, I can see flower stamens that resemble insect eggs and, with a blink of the eye, smooth skin that becomes scales and water drops mirror light like multi-faceted eyes. There’s a line where attraction and disgust run almost parallel, and he’s walking along it a spine-tingling way.

From Oggiano’s site: “Quasi-Objects” is an art project consisting of 3d generated videos and prints, a practice of “organic re-design” – started in 2003 and still in progress – that aims to stimulate thought and dialogue on the progressive relativisation of natural forms of life as a result of techno-biological evolution. “Quasi-Objects” regards data actualization, the production of biologically non-functional organisms and ecosystems as transient output of an operative practice: aesthetics of process.

Life is a real and autonomous process independent from any specific material manifestation.”

Via But Does It Float

feist + martin de thurah: the bad in each other.

I first fell in love with Danish director Martin de Thurah after his disturbingly glorious video for Fever Ray’s “When I Grow Up.” His gritty, realistic hand-held style is a perfect match for the dark undertones in Feist’s “The Bad In Each Other.” It’s a marriage made in video heaven.

matthew dear + morgan beringer: in the middle (i met you there).

The stable of amazing musicians on Ghostly International’s roster never fails to impress, and along with the audio they’ve also promoted their artists with consistently beautiful videos.

Their latest, directed by Morgan Beringer and promoting Matthew Dear’s Headcage EP, is a gorgeous, metallic, slithering, opalescent mess of wonderful goo.

 

The only thing that kinda bums me out is that it reminds me a bit too much of Robert Seidel’s legendary 2006 masterpiece for Zero 7’s Futures.

fla + the freaks: the loner.

I’ve been waiting for this. A short while ago I posted about the trailer for this little gem. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but something about it resonated with me. I’m more than happy to report that the full-length video is just as exquisitely realized and heart-achingly simple as I’d hoped.

Directed and animated by FLA, I was blown away by the use of variety of perspectives and the amount of detail. I’ve watched again and again,  each time seeing new things and each time feeling a little more filled with a wonderful yearning.  At the end of the day, what a truly remarkable thing it would be to have someone (or some small pink monster-dog thing) fight to love you despite all your faults. To me, The Loner is about the power of realizing you need something when you want it the least and the possibility inside us all to turn around one day and decide to become, in small steps, a better version of yourself. I actually gasped at one point, which is how you know it’s damn good. When it was over I realized how much I didn’t want it to end, which I think it some of the highest praise I can give.

quick + dirty #2: red song, camouflar, we float and bad choices.

Quick + Dirty is back with a hot list of videos I think you need to see…

suuns: red song.

galaxie + mathieu cyr: camouflar.

my first earthquake + satan’s pearl horses: we float.

shout out out out out + a.j. bond + chris von szombathy: bad choices.

everynone: losers.

It’s no secret how much I love Everynone. They have an amazing knack at cutting together visceral, universally human moments into montages that almost everyone can immediately understand and identify with. Their vids are amazingly shareable (the term “viral” should be banned from the internet lexicon, btw…) because they strike a chord that’s direct and true. From the exquisite balances cast in their last vid “Symmetry” to their gorgeous type-based series “Words”, they exemplify the power of a quick, well-shot visual to tell incredibly vibrant tales.

As of this writing, their latest video “Losers” is at 7,000 views on Vimeo in only 5 hours. I guarantee you that it will be all over the internet in the upcoming days…as it should be. With the growing awareness of the true impact of bullying, I think this type of raw, insightful and connected portrayal of the slices that bullying cuts out from all of us is exactly the type of thing we need to see, and continue to see, until we do something tangible and real to stop it. I know what it feels like to be called a “faggot” in my high school highway. I also know what it feels like to call someone else a name because I was weak and want to feel stronger. As with any type of bullying – no matter which side of it you were on – it’s something you get over, but not something you forget.

I particularly love the shift in meaning from the beginning of the video to the end. Humourously unassuming at first, I laughed while not knowing where I was being lead yet. Then I realized I was slowly being shown that the losers are everyone. Each of us has the power both to bully and the responsibility to to learn we must end bullying. The true impact came at the very end when I realized that, only two minutes before at the beginning of the video, I was being the unwitting bully myself. It’s that kind of immediate emotional impact, and psychological realization just afterward, that lets you know you’ve just watched something very special.

hudson + dropbear: against the grain.

Before we continue, I need you to know something about me: I take art supplies very seriously. Always have, always will. I obsessed over markers, cried over broken crayons and openly coveted my Dad’s set of Prismacolour pencil crayons that he would sometimes let me touch, but never draw with, because they had metallics in them. I repeat, METALLIC PENCIL CRAYONS.

In Grade 3, my Mom, in some sort of  back-to-school buying haze, bought me the 20-pack of Laurentians instead of the 24-pack I’d clearly requested. Then, in her bloodlust to shut me up and get me back in school already, she acted like it was no big deal. This was unacceptable. I needed the extra four colours. One was robin’s egg blue. What was I supposed to do; draw with the ultramarine and peacock blue at the same time and hope for the best? Obviously not. So, I promptly rode my bike to the local drug store and was almost immediately caught shoving the 24-pack down the front of my pants. It seemed like the only logical thing to do at the time. I was trapped in an A Time To Kill-esque moral dilemma and the only solution that made sense was to just steal the extra four. There was simply no other way.

Long story short (too late!) this is all to say that pencil crayons are the undeniably awesome tools of youth and memory, and this nifty stop-mo vid for Hudson’s “Against The Grain” by animator/filmmaker Dropbear is making me feel like stealing something. Wait, I mean… drawing… with pencil crayons. Yeah. That’s it.

(I also punched my fist through my Lite Brite once because I was one peg away from completing the Clown Face and discovered that I was missing the last peg. It was an insurmountable tragedy at the time, and I resorted to violence. I was four years old. But that’s a story for another time…)

+ via Vimeo Discover

friendly fires + david lewandowski: hurting.

Friendly Fires are a reliable go-to, a steady member of a stable of cherished artists who I know will deliver how I like it each and every time. “Kiss of Life” is one of my have tracks ever, and it’s Chris Cottam-directed video makes me want to dance. While waving palm fronds around. I knew the Fires and I were on the same wavelength when they chose an image from Sølve Sundsbø’s Perroquet series as the cover for their 2011 album Pala (which, not to brag, but I totally blogged about back in 2008), so I knew we had the same taste in photography. Having the same taste in photography is like taking the carpool lane right into my heart. Click here to once again ogle its gorgeousness.

Today’s video for “Hurting” – the third single from Pala – is no visual disappointment. Sure, we’ve got a hot hipster broad/love interest with a disturbingly elastic neck, but the real draw here is lead singer Ed Macfarlane limping through his love and throwing his boogie down in an attempt (much like the mating dance of birds, which leads us back to parrots – I’m seeing a synergy here!) too woo her. And by “woo”, I mean “prove cool enough for,” because she kinda looks like a bitch. Which is really to say, if Ed Macfarlane wanted to dance with me, I wouldn’t say no.

There’s an easy urban whimsy going on here; it’s sunset-lit, street-wise and dance-y. And if you’re wondering why that cube is so next level good, look no further that director David Lewandowski, who, in case you don’t know, worked on a little piece of mind-altering, visual magnum opus/digital genius I like to call Tron: Legacy. (Say what you want about the plot, the 3D animation was without peer.) Click here to see some highly-detailed posts and videos about his work for that film.

+ via Antville

sticky monster lab: the loner teaser.

As Mrs. Peacock said during the dinner party in Clue, “I mean, I have absolutely no idea what we’re doing here. Or what I’m doing here, or what this place is about, but I am determined to enjoy myself. And I’m very intrigued, and, oh my, this soup’s delicious, isn’t it?”

So, soup aside, we find ourselves watching Sticky Monster Lab’s trailer for a “new animation and compilation album” called The Loaner. Much like Mrs. Peacock (and you’d be surprised how often I find myself genuinely thinking that), I’m very intrigued.

I’ve been a fan of designer toys and monster for as long as I can remember, and here they are: animated, in a digital world, living their lives. The ultra-digitized animation style is one of my favourites, and when it’s done as well as this I get giddy. These monsters are on point.

Alright, The Longe, I’m not sure what’s happening yet, but your teaser is triumphant. Consider me teased! I anxiously await the end of November 2011, when all will be revealed.

Also, I’m not sure who the loner’s little pink animal friend is, but it reminds me of that episode of Futurama where Fry finds out the dog he thought forgot about him spent the rest of his life waiting for him to come get him. It’s called “Jurassic Bark,” and if you want to weep until all your innocence is lost, I suggest you go watch it.

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