Car park smooth moves, sleep’s restless revenge, the island life, letter and numbers, Fountain by the fountain, and gotta get down on Friday.
Down in the mud, he’s got the music in him, wonderful creatures, shipping containers and repetition.
Pro-wrestlers at the beach, the comfort of 101, circular motion, the grooviest show in town, nocturnal projections, an anatomy lesson.
Continue reading December 2007: Motocade, Nesian Mystik, PNC, Scribe, Shihad, SideKickNick, SJD
Red light special, the kids TV aesthetic, a grown-up game of chasey, the drum tech and the return of the giant cassette tape.
Continue reading June 2007: Pluto, Shapeshifter, Simple Day, SJD, So So Modern, Solstate, Spacifix
Torture the band (in style), vast barren mudflats, fighter pilots, cheerful gloom, and Taye entertains.
Continue reading February 2007: Opshop, Paul McLaney, Revolver, SJD, Streetwise Scarlet, Taye Williams
The red dinosaur appears, a tour of empty Aotearoa, central Auckland neighbourhoods, and animation in both relaxed and crazy styles.
Continue reading October 2006: Nesian Mystik, Paul McLaney, PNC, Shapeshifter, SJD
The video begins with a title card presenting a schedule of physics-related events that will take place during the video. For example, it starts with “Big Bang”, at 1.54 the fourth event is “Special Relativity”, there’s “Entropy” at 3:08, and it promises to end with “Infinite Expansion”.
The video is shot in black and white, with a vibe of a 1950s sci-fi film. The protagonist is a fellow in mime make up. He goes to work, which involves some sort of construction work in a space with messed-up gravity, and there’s a strange boss-like man who is playing tricks on him.
Back at home, the man goes to feed his cat, who likes to hide in boxes. He is alarmed to discover there are now two boxes, each with “Schrödinger’s Moving Co” printed on the side. He opens one box and is distressed to discover the cat is dead. You know what this means? Previously the two boxes each contained a cat that was either dead or alive. As we definitely know that one of the boxes contains a dead cat, the other unopened box now definitely contains a living cat. So yay, it gets fed.
I don’t know how accurate the physics are in this vid. I suspect there’s a lot of stuff used just because it looks quite good. And I have this idea that if I can understand the quantum physics references, they’re probably only accurate up to a Star Trek level. It’s a lot of semi-nerdy fun.
Best bit: the bossman rolls dice, surely a reference to Einstein’s quote “God doesn’t play dice”.
Next… crazy? Yeah, kinda.
The music video starts and SJD and his band are performing the song and… Wait? Why is there a lawnmower instead of the song? Is this one of YouTube’s weird audio replacement tracks? Thirty seconds into the video all is revealed. It was a false start, second only to the false start at the beginning of Justin Bieber’s “Boyfriend” video.
The song starts and we find SJD at an old motel, looking on the verge of being demolished. Everything all smashed up, with perfectly suits the offbeat soul of the song. SJD wanders around the wrecked room, while an outside an angry lawnmower man chucks bricks through the window, and the room floods with water.
The song has a lot of energy to it (a change from SJD’s earlier work) yet the video refuses to play along. This is a weird, dangerous environment that highlights the desperation of the lyrics.
Things get even more surreal at the end. The camera slowly pans along the balcony of a motel. Steam billows and people stand waving, like they’re seeing off (or welcoming) a train. On another balcony, SJD offers a confused wave. A perfect ending.
Best bit: SJD and band pause to enjoy some fish and chips.
Videos like this are hard to write about. They exist outside the realm of popular music videos. There’s no hard sell going on here. Instead the video has artful visuals that complement the music but are also visually pleasing in their own way. And – OMG – I’m almost in a coma from how boring that sounds.
So instead of relying on words, I shall instead turn to the medium of the animated gif to review “Rising, Falling, Rising”.
There. It’s black and white. It involves cars and bits of old analogue equipment. SJD is also in it. It’s ok.
Best bit: SJD’s head nod, this video’s one moment of choreography.
Directors: Dominic Taylor, Simon Taylor
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision
Next… what a drag.
SJD’s second video starts with the song title scrawled across the screen in childish handwriting. Only it’s back to front, which automatically makes me think it’s a YouTube copyright takedown avoidance trick. Or maybe it’s just the writing of a kid who hasn’t learned to write left to right. I used to do that.
The handwriting turns into child-like drawings, stick figures with swords, giant rolling heads, morphing cats and other delights. Only the drawings are animated and have a sophisticated flow, suggesting it’s the work of someone who can draw properly.
Primitive stick figures joyfully run around, jumping through hoops. It’s weirdly alarming to see something as simple as a stick figure move so smoothly and naturally. It makes me feel quite inadequate about the quality of my attempts at stick figure.
Sometimes we see an eerie shadow looming over the screen. So who is behind this animation? It’s a boy, of course. We meet the (real, not animated) boy sitting at a desk in a strange CGI room. It seems all there is to do in the room is draw cartoons. And he’s not very happy. Well, with that experience he could always get a job at Weta Digital.
“A Boy” is a groovy number, but the video goes a bit darker (though the lyrics kind of match that tone). It doesn’t take the obvious video promo route, instead making something that is artistic in its own right. But that seems to be an SJD hallmark.
Best bit: the layers of dancing monsters.
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision
Director: Kieran Donnelley, Dominic Taylor
Next… dem bones.