Salmonella Dub “Nu Steppa”

2003-salmonella-dub-nu-steppaGood animated music videos are hard, but Salmonella Dub always manage to get it right. “Nu Steppa” was co-directed by Ash Bolland and Steve Scott, with Scott previously having co-directed by the group’s videos “Problems” and “Platetechtonics (Fartyboom)”.

This time the action takes place away from the wilderness of the previous videos. It’s set in the big city, drawn in black and white and red all over.

At first things seem pretty ordinary. There are lots of scenes of traffic flow, to the point where it’s starting to look like traffic management simulation software. But then – uh oh – suddenly alien robot monsters beam down and cause havoc. Alright!

To the intense bassy rhythm of the music, the robot monsters stomp down the streets, crushing cars underfoot. The aliens don’t seem especially malicious. It’s more like they’re running along some streets that just happen to have all these random little things in the way – just like a human wouldn’t give much thought to (or even notice) stepping on an ant as they walked along.

Oh, but then things get mean. The aliens stop stomping and start using their destructor beams, smashing up remaining cars, as well as the surrounding skyscrapers. It’s a very neat destruction, with each building neatly shattered in turn. Then it’s the turn for a giant white dome of destruction to embrace the city and destroy everything left.

It’s really nicely animated video, with incredible detail. The song lyrics are all about how mighty Salmonella Dub’s music is, so the video is using the robot aliens as a metaphor. Yeah, at their peak, Salmonella Dub were as kick-arse as crazy robot aliens.

Best bit: the very detailed engine of an upturned car.

Directors: Ash Bolland, Steve Scott
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… it’s the remix.

Salmonella Dub “Platetectonics (Fartyboom)”

2002-salmonella-dub-platetechnonicseIn the early 2000s, anti-genetic-engineering sentiments were very popular. There was even an all-star charity single called “Public Service Announcement”, as well as the pressure group Mothers Against Genetic Engineering (MAdGE). The “Platetechtonics” video is Salmonella Dub’s foray into the anti-GE world, with an animated cautionary tale.

The video is a sequel of sorts to the group’s “Problems” video, directed by “Problems” co-director Steve Scott. And indeed this video stars the same animated characters from “Problems”, though in a more cartoony form. This time he’s a scientist and has cross-bred a “natural seed” with a “mutant seed”. And you just know this isn’t going to end well.

He plants the seed, has a nightmare about it, returns the next morning and discovered a giant purple bush. He eats a berry and goes a bit mental and had some choice hallucinations involving the music, just like in the “Problems” video. That’s a hard life.

The GE plant gets all Little Shop of Horrors, chasing the hero up a volcano. But suddenly he starts to bloat up, and floats high above the earth. The moral of the story? Er, GE food gives you gas?

The track itself is a fairly laid-back, almost instrumental number. The video is far more engaging and interesting. It avoids the temptation to takes the lazy stoner path, and instead turns the sound into the soundtrack for a surreal adventure with a moral lesson.

Best bit: the classic animation chase up the volcano.

Director: Steve Scott
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… the phone box of rage.

Salmonella Dub “Problems”

2002-salmonella-dub-problemsI like a good animated video and this one works really well. It’s a good looking video and it tells a story.

We meet the hero of the story waking up in the desert. He’s just survived a plane crash and discovers a briefcase full of money. Not that it will do him much good when he’s alone in a hot, barren landscape.

He thinks he spies a lush, wet oasis, but, yes, it turns out to be a mirage, complete with an ominous skeleton hanging from a dead tree. This sparks off a hallucination where he plays skulls like a glockenspiel, but he comes back to reality and trudges on. It reminds me a bit of the Sola Rosa video for “Don’t Leave Home”, another slightly surreal desert adventure, only it’s from the skeleton’s perspective.

Eventually the traveller comes across a detention camp, so he carefully removes his fake moustache and replaces it with a “summer moustache” which looks exactly the same as the previous one (a winter moustache?).

A tank rumbles past, but there doesn’t seem to be any sign of the detention camp. Instead he ends up in a place with giant Easter Island-like statues, where upon it rains. The waters rise fast and high, sweeping him away and scattering his money to the tides. Is this the end of our antihero? No, he wakes up on a pleasant beach, being pecked by a pukeko.

The video was directed by James Littlemore and Steve Scott and it looks so good. Many of Salmonella Dub’s videos had a low-budget look to them, like the sort of thing that was quickly filmed in the middle of a tour. But this one feels like a lot of time and effort has gone into it. And as a result, it’s simple, clear and very stylish video.

Best bit: the hallucinated skull solo, where the higher floating skulls make higher notes.

Directors: James Littlemore, Steve Scott
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… f’n oats.