June 2010: Julia Deans, K.One, King Kapisi, Knives At Noon, Midnight Youth, Nightchoir, North Shore Pony Club

Ordinary scenes, urban and suburban, monkeys, elephants camels, and tigers, lost in space, travelling light, split screen special, and the best party.

Julia Deans “Modern Fables”

There’s a hilarious comment on YouTube from a bewildered viewer: “What is happening? What’s it about? Can’t believe NZ On Air paid money for this, for an established musician.” As if NZ On Air should only fund videos that promise to be straightforward. While Julia Deans delivers her catchy tune, the video explores unusual scenes of ordinary life – high-fiving businessmen, a grease-covered mechanic, a home exerciser and a lady whose car rolls down a hill. In many ways it reminds me of the sort of videos the Mutton Birds made in the ’90s, that combination of the ordinary and the unusual. What is happening? What’s it about? It’s a music video, is what.

Director: Mark Burrows

K.One featuring Junipah “Never”

K.One shows up with labelmates Junipah for “Never”. He seems to be following the path that happens with some rappers, where they get a bit older and wiser and start delivering some philosophy. The video is nicely shot in black and white, setting both K.One and Junipah in edgy urban and suburban environments. But the song itself feels a bit dated, and the video does nothing to make it feel more current than 2005.

Director: Tatsuya, Patriarch, Hard Work

King Kapisi featuring Richard Nunns “Safari”

Continuing on from his “Superhuman” video, King Kapisi returns to the humidity of Thailand. The “Superhuman” video was set at a kickboxing gym, but for “Safari”, Kapisi is out and about in Thailand, travelling by tuktuk, boat, truck and elephant. The video is full of animals too. As well as elephants, he also comes across monkeys, camels and tigers. But then, for a song about being on safari, the video does a really good job of capturing that experience.

Director: King Kapisi
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Knives At Noon “Violins and Violence”

“Violins and Violence” isn’t the first music video to use New Zealand’s volcanic landscape to create an alien planet for an astronaut to explore – but it is the first one to use White Island. The live volcano island provides the perfect landscape, with the clouds of sulphur delivering the right amounts of beauty and menace. The one thing that bothers me, though – when onboard storage is limited (a ‘cappuccino’ is shown being sipped from a plastic pouch), why would the astronaut be collecting samples in big glass jars? Surely plastic bags could be more useful. Oh, but then the final shot of the video wouldn’t be as effective. Ok.

Director: Matt Wilson

Midnight Youth “World Comes Calling”

“World Comes Calling” is Midnight Youth turning it on with their big stadium sound. It is more modest in some ways, more ambitious in others. The band are absent save for lead singer Jeremy, and the video is largely given over to a young women wearing a floral dress and Doc Martens (so ’90s) as she explores the world. Her one outfit suggests that she didn’t pack a change of clothes, which is one way to save on baggage fees. Sometimes the video feels like an edgy Air New Zealand ad, relentlessly showing off the sights of the world, not to mention the feet-in-the-sand homecoming. The band made their $5000 go far, with the video’s director revealing that “Due to some wheeling and dealing from the band we were able to fly around with world at no cost.” Btw, one of the locations visited is the Colorado attraction Salvation Mountain, which later was the setting for Coldplay’s “Birds” video.

Director: Michael Humphrey
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Nightchoir “Don’t Want To Look”

Nightchoir were three-fifths of Pluto, and were the reason Pluto ended up breaking up after 12 years – either you’re fully committed to Pluto or you’re out. The “Don’t Want To Look” uses a similar format to Garageland’s “Feel Alright” video, with split screens showing different versions of the same action. “Don’t Want To Look” is set at Cornwall Park and One Tree Hill Domain, using the pleasant park surroundings. It works best when it avoids visual gags and lets the split screens create a strange world.

North Shore Pony Club “Sex, Drugs and a Drum Machine”

“Sex, Drugs and a Drum Machine” is a cross between the shadowy suburban party of Lady Gaga’s “Just Dance” and the singing nipples of Death From Above 1979’s “Sexy Results”. The song is an obnoxious but highly fun dance track, full of youthful swagger. And while the video isn’t as great as its influences, it still brings its own dorky style.

Director: Tim van Dammen

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