August 2008: J Williams, Jonny Love, Kingston, Ladi6, Luke Thompson, Nesian Mystik, P-Money

Some dancing, general chaos, four times the fun, a glamorous silhouette, shooting in the woods, sweetness and strength, and piggybacking.

Continue reading August 2008: J Williams, Jonny Love, Kingston, Ladi6, Luke Thompson, Nesian Mystik, P-Money

August 2006: Cassette, Che Fu, City Newton Bombers, dDub, Deceptikonz, Don McGlashan

A home invasion, the housing bubble, ECT on GI Joes, video games, a wander along K Road, and some South Auckland.
Continue reading August 2006: Cassette, Che Fu, City Newton Bombers, dDub, Deceptikonz, Don McGlashan

Found videos from the 2000s

Tropical crime fighting, police brutality, high street thugs, an interrogation and love (not war).
Continue reading Found videos from the 2000s

Found videos from 1998

A high street strip, a gothic seductress, a cultural lesson, a bomb threat, a photo booth, a photo shoot, a cruise down the main street, a broadcast from outer space, a floaty necklace, a Harajuku girl and a mysterious staircase.
Continue reading Found videos from 1998

Che Fu “Lightwork”

This video is so frustrating to watch. It takes the form of a comic-book story. It’s illustrated with a fairly dark palette so it takes a bit of effort to figure out everything that’s going on. That on its own shouldn’t be too hard for the viewer to overcome, but the video just goes and complicates things even further: it adds subtitles.

It seems to be an attempt to explain the plot of the video. 47 subtitles, to be precise. In both Japanese and English. And a lot of the subtitles don’t stay on screen long enough to be read in their entirety.

The crazy thing is that the plot of the video is clear enough on its own, so the subtitles are pretty much unnecessary. All they do is constantly snatch the viewer’s attention away from the main story. The video might as well have random graphics pop up saying “LOOK OVER HERE!!!!”

But the absolute worst thing about subtitles is that reading them takes mental priority over listening to the lyrics of the song (it’s worth noting that one of the greatest music videos of all time is based around a comic book adventure with no captions or subtitles). So essentially “Lightwork” video has made the song such a low priority that it’s relegated to being a soundtrack to Che Fu’s comic adventure.

Best bit: the 23 second bit at the end without any subtitles.

Director: Shane Mason
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… when to let go.

Che Fu “2D”

2004-che-fu-2dChe Fu returned with his third album, Beneath the Radar, and “2D” was the lead single from that. But something had changed. While most of Che’s previous singles were top 10 hits, “2D” didn’t even chart. It doesn’t especially sound like a single, more like an undeveloped demo, devoid of any essential hooks.

The video is a bit more interesting than the song. It sets Che and his band in mysterious dark room surrounded by visualisations of sound waves and radar. There’s also something that looks like a flight deck of a Star Wars spacecraft, where a two-dimensional Che jumps around on a chair. The sci-fi references continue with Che also appearing as a grainy hologram, straight outta Star Wars.

This all sorts of fun special effects, but nothing much happens. The video concludes by breaking free from the green screen environment and moving to the outdoors. Che and the band perform atop a seaside cliff at sunset, while he sings “Am I lazy?” Well yeah, the song and the video both actually feel lazy.

Best bit: the hologram, wherein Mr Fu channels in inner Princess Leia.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… attack of the ’90s tattoos.

King Kapisi featuring Che Fu “U Can’t Resist Us”

2003-king-kapisi-u-cant-resist-usA giant crown-shaped cloud overs above the setting of this hip hop video: it’s a farm. It’s not the first time a New Zealand hip hop video has used this unconventional location. In 2000 Dark Tower’s “You Beauty” threw out the symbolic hip hop rulebook and filmed on a farm.

But while King Kapisi, Che Fu and friends have just as much fun down on the farm, their rural adventure is more focused and more… sheepy. Directed by Chris Graham, the video makes bold use of the landscape and the photogenic farm life.

The video starts with King Kapisi burst out of the middle of a flock of sheep (who have a much happier life than the sheep in the Skeptics’ notorious “AFFCO” video), leading to a livestock auction taken by former All Black Michael Jones. The video is full of cameos, with Inga Tuigamala, Imon Starr (of Rhombus), Oscar Kightley (recently seen in the Ill Semantics “Watching You” video), Nathan Rarere, director Chris Graham, and the late great Peter Fatialofa.

The auction over, King Kapisi hurls around some nunchakus made from jandals, before joining Che and Imon in the woolshed for some shearing. There’s a surreal break in the middle of the song where the three talk in shrill-voiced Kiwispeak on a smoko. “Oh, fair suck of sav, man,” says Che.

And there’s more fun to be had. Che and Kapisi go for a hoon on a tractor with a booming sound system, then as night comes, the younger dudes go on an eel hunt.

Artists go to so much effort trying to make Auckland seem so much more gritty and urban than it actually is. It’s really refreshing to see a video that happily abandons that world and goes in the opposite direction – a day in the countryside.

Best bit: Che Fu flouting the “No lying in wool bins” sign.

Director: Chris Graham
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… it’s a bloody big truck.

DJ Raw feat. Che Fu, Flowz and KOS 163 “Downtown”

2002-dj-raw-downtownDJ Raw has been previously known with for his turntable work as part of King Kapisi’s Overstayers crew. But for “Downtown” he has his own go, with guest vocals from Che Fu, and KOS 163 and Flowz of the Footsouljahs.

It’s a sunny Wellington day and the dudes have met up for a game of basketball. They’re playing on the urban wasteland next to Te Papa that was eventually redeveloped into Waitangi Park (with a proper ball court). But back in 2002, it was an old car park surrounded by graffiti-covered hoardings – much more photogenic for music videos.

When the evening comes the lads head off to a nightclub where there are plenty of young women to catch their eye. Much of the song is about the men’s reaction to the women, and depending on who’s rapping (or singing), the tone varies from romantic to sexual.

The evening ends with the lads sitting around at the nightclub joined by a large number of women. There’s only a slight hint of awkwardness, which actually makes the scene feel more authentic than if all the ladies were totally into it.

The concept of the video is nothing new, and it actually feels a bit dated. Like, if this had been produced in 1998, it might have seemed fresh. But in 2002, 2003 it’s just not as interesting. Weirdly enough, I’m most excited by scenes of pre-development Waitangi Park.

Best bit: the bitch face given by a club girl after the “girl, we can be together but nothing is forever” bit.

Next… live action brothers.