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.

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 #1: ian berenger, surfap, pets + ducroz.

I see many more videos that I love than I could do full blog posts on. Though I’m constantly adding vids to my Vimeo channel that aren’t on the blog, I decided to start posting some of them here even though they won’t each have a full written post. In the time-honoured programming tradition of the quick and dirty, that’s the name I’ve decided to give to this new post series of awesome vids that I think you’ll want to see…

ian berenger: our time is brief.

surfap: super mario bros.

pets + rémy m. larochelle: a good day for telling lies.

ducroz: phosphene.

gorillaz + jamie hewlett: on melacholy hill.

Gorillaz are one of a select group of artists who continuously and relentlessly push the edge of what music videos can accomplish. Working with some of the absolute best directors and animators in the business doesn’t hurt either. They’ve never stopped evolving the visual lives of the animated personas, and in so have created a video universe where the music and the motion complement and augment each other. I still think the vid for “19-2000” (also directed by Jamie Hewlett and Pete Candeland) is one of the best animated music vids ever.

If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Gorillaz have teamed up again with Passion Pictures‘ Hewlett and Candeland for their latest, “Melancholy Hill.” The video is, basically, fucking incredible. There were over 40 people on the crew of animators and compositors, and it shows. The attention to detail is crazy and it pays off big time. Not watching this in HD would be the equivalent of going to a top restaurant and asking for ketchup. HD it baby.

Personally, I think it looks better on Vimeo but if that one gets pulled here’s the link to the vid on Gorillaz’s YouTube channel.

Via Feed.

great lake swimmers + nir ben jacob: river’s edge.

Worthy Polaris Prize-nominees Great Lake Swimmers are one of my favourite bands of all time.  Their music is like acoustic air. It’s billowy and expansive and makes you feel like flying. I don’t have enough organic expletives to express my love for it. If I ever get married, it will be to a track from their brilliant 2007 album “Ongiara.” I won’t say which one, because it’s mine, but if I ever have a boyfriend who figures it out I’ll go down on one knee there and then.

Their latest, 2009′s “Lost Channels” makes me feel everything good and slow in the world. It’s sunshine and fresh-mown grass and cold beer and long eyelashes and that feeling that when you’re done what you’re doing you’ve got somewhere better to go – all rolled into songs.

Matching the subtlety and earthy eloquence of “River’s Edge”, director and animator Nir Ben Jacob has created a video inspired, literally, by wood. Carved and thatched, the visuals unfold and evolve like building blocks and move in time with the track like musical carvings. The result is a gorgeous vid that reaches out, like branches, and wraps itself around you.

I found this quote from Jacob on Video Static. It made me love the video even more:

“About a year ago I stumbled on these old wood-chip plate compositions my late grandfather made. They’re a beautiful example of early Israeli-Yemenite art. As soon as I saw them I knew I had to animate them. They had been in storage for decades so it meant a great deal to bring them out and breathe life into them. This was an opportunity to not only contribute to his work, but also expose it to the audience it never had. It is the official video.”

If you’re into Jacob’s style, then check out his equally killer vid for The Walkmen’s “On The Water”:

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david shrigley for pringle of scotland.

David Shrigley is an animation and illustration icon. One of the few animators whose work is so individual that you can usually immediately recognize it’s Shrigley from a single still, his sparsely drawn, seemingly haphazard illustration work is  legendary.

I was a little surprised and worried when I came across a video by Shrigley for luxury knitwear brand Pringle of Scotland. In January I’d seen on one of my favourite blogs, Kitsune Noir, that Pringle had commissioned one of my favourite photographers, Ryan McGinley, to make a film showcasing the Spring/Summer 2010 line that featured the terrifyingly austere Tilda Swinton wandering the misty Scottish highlands in various knits. To me, it was dull and, while beautiful, a waste of McGinley’s phenomenal talents. I was nervous that Shrigley’s work wouldn’t shine either.

I didn’t need to worry. Not only is the video quintessential Shrigley, but it’s totally entertaining; I laughed out loud more than once. Turns out Pringle of Scotland has a refreshing sense of humour, not only about itself but about the entire fashion industry, and they’re not afraid to show it.

Via Motionographer

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