Trip to the Moon “Pretty Cool”

2000-trip-to-the-moon-pretty-cool“Pretty Cool” is pretty cool. It’s a chilled out jazzy number with dub echoes and the video goes with this vibe.

The biggest strength of the vid is that it focuses on the musicians. I rather dislike videos for instrumental songs that ignore the people behind the music. “Pretty Cool” layers shots of the group over various scenes, including downtown Auckland. There’s the drummer, the keyboard player, the guitarist and, of course, the trumpet player.

Brass instruments are very photogenic. They’re shiny and cut a fine silhouette. While the ubiquitous ’80s sax may be long gone, there’s still a lot of power in a good brass silhouette.

The video also takes in sweeping cityscapes of Auckland at night. There’s the Sky Tower, now firmly established as an icon of the city. The combination of the editing and the glorious night time footage turns a small city like Auckland into a bustling metropolis. It lets us briefly pretend that the Auckland Town Hall has a Manhattan ZIP code.

Director: Jed Town

Next… the life and times of teen idols.

Trip to the Moon “I Can Change”

1998-a-trip-to-the-moon-i-can-changeThe first track from the Tom Ludvigson and Trevor Reekie collaboration, with Bobbylon of the Hallelujah Picassos on vocals. The video starts with Bobbylon meandering along K Road at night. It’s a different K Road, where the Pascoes building had a Pascoes jewellery store in it, not a tattoo parlour.

Bobbylon comes across as a man who’s lead a troublesome life, just as the lyrics reckon. He turns off the street and heads into a building. We next see him performing the song with the rest of the group (including Peter Scott, father of Home Brew’s Tom Scott, on bass) in a dark studio.

The video spends a whole in this black space, as if Bobbylon is having to go through a period of decompression, adjusting to his new plans. By the time the second chorus comes along, we get flashes of Bobbylon singing in a different location. This time he’s outside, shirt off, basking in the morning sun, before he finally returns to K Road, this time in the morning. Things feel different.

Sometimes when Karangahape Road is used in a music video, it’s a lazily chosen cool, urban location. But in this video, it’s used sparingly and thoughtfully. The contrast of the gritty K Road at night with the daytime version is a perfect match for the theme of the song.

Best bit: the old ’90s-era phone box, back when a) people used phone boxes and b) people used phone cards.

Director: Peter McLennan

Next… space 1999.

Missing videos from 1999

February 1999

Bailter Space “So Am I”

“So Am I” was Bailter Space’s final NZOA-funded video from the ’90s. They took a break and showed up again in 2012.

Cabbage Bomber “You’re a Sun”

Cabbage Bomber included Mark Petersen who had previously replaced Andrew Brough in Straitjacket Fits. Their first single was “You’re A Sun”, extravagantly described by Kiwihits as “an unashamedly melodic slice of guitar pop, laden with hooks and harmonies.”

Director: Marc Swadel
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

D-Faction “Take a Little Piece”

After having all their videos online, it’s sad that D-Faction’s final video, “Take a Little Piece” isn’t around. YouTube uploader slydogmania notes the group “disbanded in late 1997 before this final single was ever released”

Head Like a Hole “Hot Sexy Lusty”

Head Like A Hole have “Hot Sexy Lusty”, another single from their sex album, Are You Gonna Kiss It Or Shoot It? Guys, in googling for this video, I saw things I wish I hadn’t seen.

Mika “Angel”

Mika, last seen in Jan Hellriegel’s “Geraldine” video, has his own single “Taniwha Angel”. Here’s a live performance.

Director: Kerry Brown
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

April 1999

Brett Sawyer “When It Happens”

Brett Sawyer has the song “When It Happens”. I’m most interested to discover that he and Pearl Runga sang New Zealand’s official millennium anthem, “I’ll Meet You There”, written by sister Bic and James Hall.

Director: Jonathan King
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Delta “Slather”

Delta! “Slather”! I saw them play a few times and I happily bought the “Slather” single. It was a fun burst of pop that should at least have enjoyed one-hit wonder success. But anyway, here’s Delta performing the song at a 2010 reunion show. Nice one.

Director: Garth Maxwell
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Ma-V-Elle “Angel”

Girl group Ma-V-Elle had lost a member (but weren’t renamed V-Elle). “Angel” was the first single from their new album as a duo. Here’s a Tangata Pasifika profile of the group enjoying their early days of success.

Strong Islanders “Shining On”

Kiwihits notes that Jonah Lomu’s cousin is in “Strong Islanders”. Their song “Shining On” is ok, but their main MC has a somewhat lacklustre delivery.

Director: Joe Lonie
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

June 1999

Ardijah “Do To You”

There’s no shortage of Ardijah videos from the ’80s, but the ’90s are AWOL, including “Do To You”.

Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Ma-V-Elle “Never Say Goodbye”

Ominous foreshadowing! “Never Say Goodbye” was Ma-V-Elle’s penultimate funded video.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Trip To The Moon “Sexual Healing”

The final NZOA-funded video for Trip to the Moon is their cover of “Sexual Healing”, a duet by Bobbylon and the ethereally voiced Rachel Weatherly. NZ Herald reviewer Russell Baillie dramatically described it as having “all the charm of a lavish STD-treatment jingle”.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

August 1999

3 The Hard Way “Front Back Side”

Well, I dunno. This song is on the list of videos that were completed, but I can’t find any sign of a 3 The Hard Way single called “Front Back Side”, or indeed any releases from this time. But there might have been some shuffling – there’s a 3 The Hard Way video for their 2004 single “Girls”. It’s set in the same sexy club world as “It’s On (Move to This”), only it’s so much cheesier.

Bike “Gaze”

Bike’s final NZOA-funded single is “Gaze”, which also appeared on the “Scarfies” soundtrack.

Brett Sawyer “Where We Wanna Be”

“Where We Wanna Be” is Brett Sawyer’s ode to his partner for sticking out a decade in Britain with him.

Delta “The Baddest”

Delta’s second single was “The Baddest”. It’s ok, but it’s not “Slather”. Here’s a live performance from their 2010 reunion gig.

Fiona McDonald “Wish I Was a Man”

Fiona McDonald gets dirty and grungy with “Wish I Was A Man”.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Moizna “Summer Goodbye”

Moizna’s final NZ On Air-funded video is aptly titled “Summer Goodbye”, a sweet tale of a break-up.

Satellite Spies “Please Never Leave”

Satellite Spies apparently had a song called “Please Never Leave”, but it’s ungooglable.

TrueBliss “Freedom”

TrueBliss’s third single was a cover of the Wham song “Freedom”. I’ve found an 2001 Australian documentary about the “Popstars” phenomena that shows a short clip from “Freedom” at 8:01. It features the group dressed in red, white and blue costumes, performing on stage in front of thousands of screaming fans.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

October 1999

DNE “Be There”

DNE was a “cyber collaboration” between Aly Cook and David Horizon – their name for the now commonplace practice of online collaboration. Their old bio at Amplifier promised a fabulous web experience with “CLUBDNE interactive”, and directed viewers to NZmusic.com to watch their video for “Be There”. Sadly all is but a cyber memory now.

Greg Johnson “Beautiful Storm”

Greg Johnson gets drench in meteorological metaphors with the upbeat “Beautiful Storm”. Nga Taonga describes the video as, “Greg Johnson tours an Asian city and sings “Beautiful Storm” to camera as the surroundings move rapidly around him.”

Director: Bernadine Lim
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Ma-V-Elle “Don’t Be So Shy”

Ma-V-Elle have “Don’t Be So Shy”, described by the Kiwi Hit Disk as a “cool slice of original, soulful pop”. It’s the final Ma-V-Elle track funded by NZOA. The duo was to eventually disband, with Lavina ending up in the Australian Idol final 12 in 2006, among other achievements.

December 1999

Ardijah “Way Around You”

I’m pretty used to Ardijah videos not being online, and indeed “Way Around You” isn’t available.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Breathe “Sick & Tired”

“Sick & Tired” is another track from Breathe’s second album, the one that seemed really big at the time, but has now faded into history.

Fiona McDonald “Bury Me”

Described in a review I found on a vintage website as a “edgy, emotionally charged” song, “Bury Me” is another single from Fiona McDonald.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Garageland “Good Luck”

Garageland have the blusey “Good Luck”, another track off their second album “Do What You Want”.

The D4 “Come On!”

Another early track from The D4. “Come On!” is an typical piece of energetic rock. Here’s a fan video, setting the song to clips of rally cars sliding around corners.

Director: Alex Johnson
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

The Exponents “Big World Out Your Window”

“Big World Out Your Window” was the final Exponents track funded by NZOA. It was a single off their 1999 album “Hello, Love You, Goodbye”, a half-studio, half-live collection. There’s no sign of the “Window” vid, but I do know it was filmed on Mt Eden.

Director: Andrew Moore

Instead…

Here’s a video from the world of non-NZOA funding. Director Marc Swadel made the “Crystal Chain” video for Flying Nun group The Subliminals for “300 bucks and one re-used 100 foot reel of 16mm film”. As a NZ On Screen commenter notes, 100ft of film is only two minutes, 45 seconds. The solution? “A lot of repeats, keying over footage with footage, and other lo fi tricks”. It’s a moody delight.

Director: Marc Swadel
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Trip to the Moon “Catch My Fall”

1998-trip-to-the-moon-catch-my-fallTrip to the Moon was a jazz project by Trevor Reekie and Tom Ludvigson. Bobbylon of the Hallelujah Picassos featured on their earlier song “I Can Change” and he returns for this track.

“Catch My Fall” is about relaxing and the video directed by Peter McLennan shows it well. In the middle of a shady dell, Bobbylon plonks down his favourite chair and sits himself down. A lone trumpeter wanders about in the background. Yep, it’s pretty chill.

But wait. This video can’t just be Bobbylon sitting in a chair, can it? Well, it can when the chair moves. Suddenly Bobbylon is out of the dell but still sitting on his chair as it hoons through the Auckland Domain (on the back of a truck, I assume).

We also see Bobbylon sitting in front of models of city buildings, and they’re all recognisable Auckland structures, including the brand new Sky Tower. The buildings are stacked in place by the other members of Trip to the Moon, and the act seems to be a way of reclaiming the city so it’s not the big, bad stressful city any more. With the city rebooted, Bobbylon then hoons around the streets on his chair of relaxation.

Things hot a little during the turntable break in the middle, with some sparks adding extra thrills. But the pace soon chills back down and Bobbylon enjoys a night-time chair ride around the streets of Auckland.

Usually when inner-city Auckland at night is shown in a music video, it represents bad things on mean streets, but this video shows Auckland at night as a sophisticated city, conducive to the art of relaxation.

Best bit: Bobbylon’s friendly wave to the couple strolling through the Domain.

Director: Peter McLennan
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… an appropriate use of uke.