Found videos from 1996

Loads of found videos from 1996, featuring cameo appearances from three bright young actors, Stella as a grunge band, double Annie Crummer and Strawpeople, and some political pop.

Continue reading Found videos from 1996

Found videos from 1995

Let it rain 1995! There’s Supergroove on bikes, funk at the Civic, Lionel’s disappearing act, mean streets, tropical lolz, music with a message, wide lapels and an Auckland story.
Continue reading Found videos from 1995

Damien Binder “Point & Shoot”

2003-damien-binder-point-and-shootMaybe I’ve been watching too much Masterchef, but I want to call this “pop video, four ways”. The screen is split into four, with each corner filled with footage of that particular part of the scene. So most of the time it just looks like a regular shot of Damien Binder in a room, only there’s a strange wobbly cross going through the middle of the image.

Garageland’s video for “Feel Alright” used a similar technique, only theirs was played up for its surreal humour. In contrast, “Point & Shoot” ends up being a bit sedate. At one point Damien is sitting at a table with a cup of coffee and I found myself wishing for some “Feel Alright”-style split-screen lolz. But no, it’s just Damien sitting at a table.

It’s not until the surprising unpredictability of Damien’s guitar strumming comes along that the split screens really get around to showing a bit of contrast. And as the song progresses, the video mixes up the four screens a bit.

It’s a bit uneventful. The song is like that too – a really chilled out acoustic guitar pop number – so the end result is a a bit dull. I think the song would be really good to see performed live in a small club setting. But on video, it’s just not very engaging. There’s absolutely nothing bad or wrong with this video, but there’s nothing about it that makes me want to watch it again.

Best bit: Damien pours wine into one glass, another glass remains empty *sadface*

Director: Jonathan King

Next… a pornstar.

Damien Binder “Till Now”

2002-damien-binder-till-nowThere’s something strange about Damien Binder videos. They tend to start off seeming quite ordinary, but then unusual things happen. This one reminds me of Betchadupa’s “Life Will be the Same” video, the tale of a man out driving on a dark and stormy night.

In this case, Damien is behind the wheel. He’s in a dazed and confused state, as if perhaps he just woke up and found himself in a strange car. He starts the engine and hits the road, but is readily distracted by all the shiny things in the car.

He goes to light a cigarette with a Zippo from the glovebox, but it won’t light. Tragically it appears to be a vintage a vintage motorcar with no built-in lighter, which is a pity because lighting a cigarette with the hot coil is the second most best thing you can do with a cigarette in a car. (The best thing is smoking as you drive, feeling like a cool dude.)

Distracted by a road map, he appears to hit a cyclist, but he doesn’t stop and goes back to the map. Later he appears to hit a woman standing in the middle of the road, but she appears in the passenger seat, still wet from the rain. Then he hits a stop sign.

It’s a driving disaster. Fortunately some red and blue lights are flashing, ready to take this menace off the road. I’d like to see this story continued a part of an episode of Motorway Patrol, seeing what the officers make of the guy who tries to blame his bad driving on a phantom hitcher.

Best bit: the headlights from oncoming cars that never seem to pass Damien’s car.

Director: Jonathan King

Next… a dog’s tale.

David Parker “Love By Satellite”

David Parker had a lot of videos funded in the early years of NZOA funding, but they’re almost impossible to find online. So it’s very exciting to discover the space adventure of “Love By Satellite” is now available.

Directed by Jonathan King, the video takes its inspiration from 1950s sci-fi serial adventures, with David Parker playing a space hero, looking like a Thunderbird team member with snipped wires. Most of the video is shot in black and white, with period authentic papier mache planets and wobbly rocket ships. The few colours shot are David Parker outside of the space context, rocking with his guitar.

Our hero is marooned on a planet and is trying to broadcast a message to his space sweetie. The signal goes out over a good old-school style satellite (like Sputnik’s disco cousin), bounces of transmission towers and is picked up by the television at his girlfriend’s space house. Only she’s too wrapped up in reading a science fiction magazine and doesn’t notice his celestial greeting.

So what will happen? Will Astro Dave get the message through to his lady? Will she look up from her magazine? Well, as this is a serial, the video ends with the promise that the story will be “continued next week”. But that’s probably space weeks, much longer than earth weeks.

“Love By Satellite” is a sweet, country-tinged song and I like that the video has gone with a slightly unexpected treatment. But it seems to work really well, probably because both the song and the video have themes of Americana, and tales of love always have a place in science fiction.

Best bit: the quality range of model spacecraft.

Director: Jonathan King
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… a frame-up.

Stellar “All It Takes”

2001-stellar-all-it-takestakesStellar return with the first single from their second album “Magic Line”. “All It Takes” is a song about determination and sacrifice, but it feels a bit lazy, like Stellar have settled on a specific sound and all their songs are just variants of that.

The video, however, is less than lazy. Going with the themes of the lyrics, the video puts the band on a picturesque fitness assault course. Boh (who has ditched the shocking red hair of “Mix” era videos) and the band aren’t even given boots and cammo to wear, struggling through the mud in their regular rock threads and carrying their instruments.

The group struggle with the challenges, hurling themselves over planks, along wires, under barbed wire, and over a big-arse wall. There are also a lot of shots of Boh away from the assault course, doing her duties as face of the band. She also bravely sings while standing on a wire, looking only slightly nervous while she sings “I’m looking out for someone who’s not afraid of anyone.”

It’s a similar kind of humour that Joe Lonie has in his videos (especially of the “make the band suffer” variety), but Jonathan King’s cinematography gives the action a much more stylish look.

Stellar seem to do ok with the physical challenges, leaving me feeling confident that they could be called on to as a pop-star territorial army, should Six60 ever take their “Rise Up” song too seriously. But then right at the end we disappointingly find the group exhausted, huddling with blankets and a hot cuppa (and one of them is laid out flat getting oxygen).

Best bit: Boh cleverly using her mike stand to hook a rope swing.

Director: Jonathan King
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… double devilwoman devastation.

Damien Binder “Turn Me Round”

2001-damien-binder-turn-me-roundThere are plenty of music videos that are set in classrooms, but the learning facility of “Turn Me Around” is delightfully surreal. Damien enters a classrom where all the students are men his age, all neatly dressed in the same suit.

Teaching the class is a young woman, who has drawn some diagrams on the blackboard that look like a cross between American football play diagrams and dance step diagrams, only weirder. She’s a suitably prim-looking teacher, so part of me expects the video to get all Van Halen and have the teacher let down her hair and start dancing in her undies. But no. It’s very well behaved.

Damien joins the class and soon assimilates in this strange school. The teacher rubs a stick all over Damien’s suit (?) and the men do a tapping and listening thing with dinner forks, the same thing you’d normally do with a tuning fork. Damien struggles with this task. He just can’t get that tap-and-listen technique right.

There’s also a bit of biffo, with Damien and one of this classmates engaging in some civilised fisticuffs. Finally he’s ready to graduate. The classmates and teacher disappear and Damien is left sitting alone, repeatedly singing “I’m ready now,” like someone who’s having trouble ordering a taxi with a voice-reconigition phone system.

Filmed in such murky colours that it almost looks black and white, the video has a stylish, slightly surreal feeling, this strange school of cutlery, suits and fists.

Best bit: the artful fanning of spoons.

Director: Jonathan King

Next… a heartbreaking work of staggering genius.

Second Child “Crumble”

Second Child was the early band of Damien Binder, also featuring future Stellar guitarist Chris van de Geer. But the video strongly focuses on frontman Damien, to the point where it could easily pass for a solo video.

“Crumble” has a dark grungy sound, a song of bitter defiance. The video, directed by Jonathan King, is shot in sepiatone, filmed in an old rusty building. The lighting is dramatic, giving Damien plenty of opportunities to pout and sneer his way through the lyrics.

When we see the band, it’s only briefly and they’re left lurking in the shadows, a distant blur. But given that the song is about someone who’s succeeded against expectation, perhaps it’s better that the emphasis is on Damien, the man alone.

It’s a really good-looking video – something that I’ve come to recognise as a hallmark of director Jonathan King. He has an eye for sophisticated, artistic mise-en-scene. (OMG, I just used “mise-en-scene”. Well, I have to put my tertiary education to use.)

Best bit: the awesome setting for the guitar solo – a grungy concrete platform.

Director: Jonathan King
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… a weather report.

Fur Patrol “Andrew”

2001-fur-patrol-andrewLyrically, “Andrew” is like the flipside of “Lydia”. Where the earlier song was a tortured cry to an ex-lover, “Andrew” is a cynical brush-off. And like the “Lydia” video, “Andrew” is also set in a nightclub (filmed at Calibre Bar in Karangahape Road), only this time the band has hit the dance floor.

The song starts off in a quiet mode, with the band slowly moving around a nightclub. All the other patrons are frozen in mid-groove, but everyone comes to life once the song gets bold and loud with the first chorus.

Julia saunters around the dancefloor, and it looks like there’s going to be a hoedown showdown between Fur Patrol and Andrew and the rest of the club. So far it’s all very cool, but things go up several levels when Fur Patrol break into some formation dancing, that pop staple.

I think the only other NZOA music video (so far) that’s dared to do formation dancing was Deep Obsession’s “You Got the Feeling”. Points to them for having a good, sincere go at it, but it felt more like a workout than dancing. But somehow Fur Patrol’s sarcastic, gothy dancing comes across much more slicker and accomplished. It might help that we don’t see much of them from the waist down.

The dancing woos the cool nightclub crowd, eventually turning the dancefloor from sneers into smiles. Such is the power of good choreography. More New Zealand music video should have dancing.

Best bit: Julia’s fake ponytail – long, sleek and plenty of power-swish.

Director: Jonathan King
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision