Verlaines “Hanging By Strands”

1996-the-verlaines-hanging-by-strandsSo, it turns out this video is all about Graeme Downe’s long raven tresses, which indeed are hanging by strands.

We meet Graeme Downes wandering around a bleak coastal landscape and he has a ponytail, a long raven ponytail down to his waist. I believe that everyone should experience long hair at least once in their life (I did it when I was 12-13), so I fully support Graeme in his hairstyle choice. I also note that he has opted for a floppy fringe, which will avoid him looking like Neil from the Young Ones when he wears it down.

And he does wear it down, with the long hair dramatically blowing in the sea breeze. It makes me wonder, did he grow his hair especially so it would look cool in a music video?

There’s some live footage, where the hair is all up in Graeme’s face as he leans over to the microphone. But let’s not dwell on that.

Let’s admire the romantic Graeme wandering by the sea, low ponytail flicked to the side, over the shoulder of his white shirt. He absentmindedly plays with a piece of grass, making it all seem like he’s biding time until his heroine comes along on a white horse.

The video finishes with more of the live footage. Graeme’s hair is sweaty and sticks to his face and the audience are enjoying the show. Perhaps after the show he’ll break out the Pantene and return to the coast for a natural blow-dry.

Best bit: the zoom-out showing Graeme alone on the barren coast.

Note: Check out the header graphic before the video starts – it shows the video came from the New Zealand Music Video Awards. They were an annual competition in the ’90s, honouring the best of New Zealand music videos.

Director: Jason Kerr
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… a wander down K Road.

High Dependency Unit “Lull Dark Restart”

1998-hdu-lull-dark-restartVideos like this are difficult to write about. This is not an especially commercial music video. It’s not playing by the same sort of rules that most other music videos use. If every music video sits somewhere on the continuum of art and advertising, this video is far down the art end.

“Lull Dark Restart” is mainly an instrumental track, with an ambient feeling. Most of the video is made up of micrograph footage of the workings of a watch. There’s a combination of traditional watch elements like cogs, as well as modern electronic bits.

Amid all this is occasional appearances from a guy wearing no shirt. He walks back and forth, looking meaningful, occasionally lip-synching the indistinct vocal samples.

This reminds me of the video for Cicada’s song “Winter”. Like Cicada’s video, “Lull Dark Restart” feels like it’s only meant to be a visual accompaniment to the song and isn’t fussed with selling records. And so I feel that the video isn’t really intended for me, but rather just for those who already enjoy HDU’s music.

Best bit: the gleefully implausible lip-sync.

Directors: Jason Kerr, Constantine Karlis
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… getting high on artificial grass.