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.

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.

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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zoltán lányi: i’ll have the waldorf salad.

Not only did Zoltán Lányi create this futuristic, fragmented, jolting experimental work to a track by Amon Tobin featuring Bonobo, but he did it while still in school at the Eszterházy Károly College in Eger, Hungary.

To me, the twitching, glitchy POV reminds me of a sort of post-apocalyptic, burned world being studied and leading to the discovery of a whole new level of mechanical life underneath the ruin.

Plus, it’s just really fucking cool.

Via Ventilate

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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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david o’reilly + jon klassen: black lake.

There are times when you fall in love faster than you thought you were capable of. All your old signals fade and your plans re-arrange without a word. Your stars align in brand new ways and all the nights you had designed become a dream for your days. Your heart expands and for a time your reality is married to the possibility of everything you can envision. Like a message in a bottle, gently nudged from your shore, this vision travels and, if you’re lucky, the person you love picks it up and carries it with you.

Sweetly, without warning, you construct your potential and in this moment your future and your present melt together. Into an instant eventual, an immediate inevitable. A second where  the possibility of love stretches before you like an ocean and you travel through your imagination; vast and epic and filled with hope, the way each wave yearns to curl up and crash back into the same waters it was first pulled away from.

This is that feeling.

Following their work together on the video for U2’s “I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight”, the heart-achingly exquisite “Black Lake” is a collaboration between one of my favourite directors, David O’Reilly, and Jon Klassen and it’s beautiful.

Via Motionographer

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mirrorshade + holy fuck: royal gregory.

I hate to think of my music video tastes as a foregone conclusion, but this vid has the hallmarks of everything I love: retro, colour, pixellation, Cubism, profanity, electro, a hint of Bauhaus, and video game references. I can’t stop myself and nor would I want to.

Directed late in ’09 by London-based shop Mirrorshade for Toronto’s own (Polaris Prize nominees) Holy Fuck’s ’08 track “Royal Gregory.”

Via Motionographer

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hydra: homunculus.

“Homunculus” is a bizarrely absurd twist on two concepts; one ancient and one psychological. The first of an annual series of experimental shorts from HumbleTV’s in-house team Hydra, “Homunculus” begins as a study of things too small to be seen and too slow to be known. Air and gas and bacteria that slowly rot, pulling at the molecules and fibres of the natural world until they decay. Time, slowly pulling away at the insides of everything alive.

After that, things get really nasty.

Described by Hydra as “…taking its title from the Latin word for “Little Human”, the piece is an associative mashup between the two concepts behind the word: The first being middle-age alchemical beliefs that “little men” could be spontaneous generated from dead or decaying matter.  The second being Carl Jung’s usage as a personification of pure id.  These ideas, combined with our love of Dutch still life’s “beautiful decay,” sowed the seeds for this unique little monster of a film.”

They began be sealing off an entire still life inside a plexiglass box and used multiple DSLRs shot a frame every 5 minutes for 11 days to document the slow (and noble!) rot. After that the entire Hydra team spent 4 months, from character conception to scoring, to complete the final HD short.

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