Gramsci “Complicated”

2001-gramsci-complicatedHere’s an impressive piece of videomanship. “Complicated” was nominated for Best Video at the 2002 New Zealand Music Awards and it’s still a remarkable work. A collaboration between the man behind Gramsci Paul McLaney and director Ed Davis, the video has a deceptively simple premise: Paul stands and walks as the camera rotates around him.

The trick is what’s happening in the background. It’s an ever-changing tour of New Zealand. One moment he’s in the middle of the Queen Street-Victoria Street intersection, the next he’s on a deserted beach. A steamy Rotorua thermal wonderland leads to a spacies parlour.

What’s most impressive is the editing. A decade after Michael Jackson amazed audiences with the fancy new morphing technique at the end of his “Black or White” video, it was something that could be accomplished in a much lower budget video for a New Zealand indie artist. While the transitions between locations aren’t seamless, there were still plenty of moments that left me trying to figure out how it was done.

The video acts as a more honest New Zealand travelogue than you’d normally get. By selecting locations that have music video appeal, as well as sweeping coastal and vistas we also see less picturesque spots like an electricity substation and an industrial yard. It would be far more interesting to go a “Complicated” location tour of New Zealand than anything inspired by “Lord of the Rings”. Hey, that’s an idea…

Unexpected side effect: after watching this video a few times, I now feel quite seasick.

Directors: Ed Davis, Paul McLaney
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… boot scootin’ indie.

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