K’Lee “Can You Feel Me?”

2002-klee-can-you-feel-meYes, K’Lee. I can feel you. Introduced by sweeping aerial shots, our heroine returns in a Jeep, hooning along a beach. She’s not driving (possible because she couldn’t drive). Instead there’s a random blonde woman at the wheel, with two other women and a man standing at the back of the Jeep. They all look too old to be K’Lee’s friends, and the man even looks like some sort of safety expert who is supervising the ride.

It turns out they’ve come to a cave, all set up with patio lights for a nautical-themed rave. Sometimes K’Lee sits, looking like a Poseidonette; other times K’Lee and a larger group of the slightly older women and a couple of men dancing in the cave. “The beat is pumping and it’s getting krunk,” sez K’Lee. And I can’t help thinking, yeah, it looks pretty fun, but wouldn’t it be just that much more fun with a a whole lot more boys?

Some men arrive in the form of Brotha D and some Dawn Raid dudes, but just before he delivers his rap, K’Lee reminds him where her loyalties lay: “Universal is the label that pays me.” (Which is hilarious as it’s a reference to a line from “Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang”.) Lucky Brotha D – at an beach cave rave with K’Lee, her women and the on-site health and safety guy.

I was a bit worried about the cave. It looks tidal so what if K’Lee and her posse became trapped by the incoming tide? Well, over on Vimeo, DOP Dan Macarthur (the man responsible for the rather good composition of the video’s shots) notes, “The scene in the cave was shot in a few hours before the tide came back in, and we had to bail at the end and drag the lights out because the waves were moving in.” Well, I’m glad.

As the evening progresses, the group safely leave the cave and frolic in the sea, which is slightly odd coming in the same funding sound as the Heavy Jones Trio’s “Staring at the Ocean”. What was it in 2002 that made people want to jump in the ocean?

Best bit: the fairy lights wrapped around the patio light, a battle of the twee lighting.

Director: Matthew Metcalfe
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… extreme close-up.

The Feelers “Communicate”

2001-the-feelers-communicateAw yeah, the Feelers are back with the title track from their second album. Since their previous album, things had changed. The band were a couple of years older, but seem to have ditched the rock star trappings of their previous videos. In fact, this video marks the moment when James Feelers adopted the more casual look that would see him compared to political one-hit wonder Aaron Gilmore a decade later.

The video begins with a bleak hazy orange landscape, struck by sinister bolts of lightning. And I’m thinking, ok, is the video going to be set on Mars? But no. It’s earth and here comes James Feelers walking towards the camera in a t-shirt, baggy jeans and a cap, like someone who’s heading back to the car after making a pee stop on the Desert Road.

The video then alternates between James walking around some sand dunes and the rest of the band putting in a low-energy performance of the song. How low energy? The bass player is sitting down.

Finally James stumbles across a door in the middle of the sand dunes, opens it and discovers his lazy-arse band set up in a makeshift room. Crazy! Surreal! Etc! There is a TV in the room. And – get this – it has a pot plant on top. And just in case things didn’t seem weird enough, it then starts raining.

It’s like because the Feelers have ditched the eyeliner, silver trousers and giant killer punks, the music video has to pick up the slack. But I suspect that the Feelers are actually more comfortable with this casual look. After all, the chorus proudly asserts, “We communicate without any style.”

Best bit: the slow-mo O-face of James Feelers in the rain.

Director: Matthew Metcalfe
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… charge up your batteries.

Che Fu “Fade Away”

2001-che-fu-fade-awayBack in 2001, “Fade Away” was #2 in the charts, kept off the top spot by – get this – Hear’Say’s song “Pure and Simple”. But 12 years later, it’s Che Fu’s song and not the UK reality TV popstars’ one-hit wonder that’s an enduring pop favourite around these parts.

The first single off Che Fu’s second album is about being there for someone. The lyrics most obviously are about staying close to friends who bugger off overseas for their OE, but the video goes for a different sort of overseas experience, focusing on the camaraderie of soldiers during the Second World War.

Che Fu and his band the Krates are dressed as New Zealand soliders (Maori battalion, no less) and a few Allied soldiers. The video is set in the New Zealand Warbirds Association hangar out at Ardmore airport, complete with vintage aircraft casually chilling in the background. The dudes decide to have a jam, finding authentic WWII-era turntables and synths in crates. By throwing in some obvious 21st century technology, the video relieves itself of the burden of having to be historically accurate. The vibe and the energy are right and that’s all that matters.

By the way, there’s a line of te reo that is subtitled as “He thinks your a bit of a ‘Bing Crosby’.” Bloody hell. I used to make subtitles professionally and I would never ever have let a your/you’re slip through. That’s appalling.

The action isn’t confined to the hangar. We see Che out in the battlefield, marching over scenic landscape and hanging out with his battalion mates. He also has a moment where he reflects on his pounamu pendant, a reminder of home.

“Fade Away” is a really nice video. It serves as a good way of introducing Che Fu’s new band (it’s not just about him as a solo artist) and a fine way of referencing part of New Zealand’s history. For decades young New Zealanders have been going overseas, but it’s what brings them back that matters.

Best bit: Che casually writes in his notebook as stuff explodes behind him.

Directors: Matthew Metcalfe, Greg Riwai
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… come at me, bro.