The 1980s: that decade of shoulder pads and deindustrialization, was to be a decade of neon-coloured clothing, big hair and financial big bangs; a decade when Frankie Goes to Hollywood said "Relax", and David Bohm proffered that space and time were no longer the dominant...

Stemming from a road trip director AJ Rojas took that spanned over a dozen states, the music video for Portugal. The Man's "Modern Jesus" is purposely treated to alternate between hi-def and lo-fi, as is paralleling the fascination which can be found in middle America's often gritty underbelly. A cast of memorable characters appear to leave indelible marks upon one's brain in "Modern Jesus": a grandpa dancing in a farm-like setting; bloody youth wrestling one another atop barbed wire; overweight and wheelchair-bound individuals repping the same taser-owning crew; the list goes on. This fascinating sociological portrait seems to serve as a reminder real life is often more interesting than fiction -- and that embarking on a creative journey without a plan can often lead to brilliantly unraveling realities. In the featured interview, Portugal. The Man's bassist and back-up vocalist Zach Carothers speaks to his love for music videos, on working with friends, and on occasionally skirting record label rules to follow your own creative impulses.
"I have wanted to work with AG since our friend, Michael Ragen, introduced me to his work with Earl Sweatshirt a few years ago. He has an eye for the things that happen below surface, in bedrooms, in the streets and in our schools and captures it without prejudice. AG has a vision and it doesn't matter if you think the video could use more of John running because, in the end, he knows what he wants and always makes the right decision. A true artist." - John Gourley, Vocalist of Portugal. The Man

 

Moderat, the collaboration between German musicians Modeselektor and Apparat, have returned with this music video by their long-time collaborators, the design collective Pfadfinderei [ fɑ:d'fɪndɜ:raɪ ]. Constantly marching ahead in warp-speed fashion, the "Bad Kingdom" music video mixes and matches a series of blue-lined illustrations that unfold to tell the tale of mankind's cruelty and helplessness -- all the while intending to challenge existing social and political structures. In the Q&A below, the design collective details their experience working on this music video, and we review some of their other works.

 

Oakland's Lumerians are releasing The High Frontier this month, and its first single is the surprisingly female-narrated "Life Without Skin". The track shows Lumerians at their finest, full of subdued control; they roll through different sonic moves and structural movements with ease, without leaving behind the swirling qualities they are so well-known for. Visuals have always been important for Lumerians -- who have a projector setup in tow at most of their shows -- and this music video, directed by long-time band friend and filmmaking collaborator Waylon Bacon, follows "Life Without Skin" as it moves with quickening pace. Quivering and shuddering, th videoe explores Los Angeles' Skid Row late at night, as buildings mutate and mysterious ghouls roam the dingy streets.

 

In the brightly-colored music video for TOKiMONSTA's "Clean Slate", featuring Gavin Turek, adorable creatures galore get beamed down from outerspace as well as give you control over placing their sticky behinds. This HTML5 and Javascript-driven sticker book features and artwork by Overture and interactive directorial skills by fourclops ::). Here, they share with REDEFINE some of the ins and outs of their collaboration and creative process.

fourclops ::) (Directors)

fourclops ::) are an incredible duo consisting of Jeff Greco and Eli Stonberg, who create interactive music videos for unique web-browsing experiences. Their work for MNDR's "C.L.U.B." takes information from your Facebook feeds and integrates it seamlessly into a music video footage.

Overture (Animators)

A two-person animation, illustration, and live performance unit comprised of Jason and Aya Brown, Overture use intuitive and improvisational collaborative processes to "reach creative places neither could arrive at on their own." This dreamy, jiggling piece entitled "Mr. Sandman" features music by The Kleenrz.
 

According to modern day magickians like Alan Moore, "Art is magick, because art transforms consciousness". By that definition, some of the world's greatest mystics don't ever actually identify themselves as such. In my world, Robert Pollard is probably the most potent of these closet sorcerers, unassumingly churning out tune after tune ad infinitum from his hometown of Dayton, Ohio. It's an unending supernova. No single rock musician has pushed the boundaries of the human imagination in quite the same way as the guy, who will most likely go down as the single greatest songwriter in human history (or by definition of taste, the most prolific at the very least; he's already kind of got that cornered).
The story of how I got into Pollard's (now reunited) Guided By Voices is a strange one, and as with everything regarding my youth, drenched in debauched sonic witchery. When GBV's absolute classic Bee Thousand finally brought national attention to the then almost entirely unknown band in the mid '90s (mainly due to the efforts of Matador Records), I bought a copy. Truthfully, I didn't like it that much after a few listens. I even most bizarrely remember driving around with my dad at one point and him mentioning that he heard a segment about them and their supposed "indie rock" on NPR and was curious. I put it on. Neither one of us got it. And that's sort of the thing you have to point out to GBV detractors. Even though I have nearly 40 Pollard-related releases at this point, I still don't like any of them until run through number four at least. None of it makes sense at all when it first hits me. I have absolutely no idea how he does this, but it's the sort of thing that's going to confuse the shit out of critics, myself included, especially in the information age.
 

John Lemke - People Do Album ReviewJohn Lemke People Do Denovali Records, 2013The world of Germany-born, Glasgow-based composer and sound designer John Lemke is a rich and varied one. Working in a variety of media, so as to enable him explore his fascination with music and "all things sonic", he has dipped his fingers into a variety of collaborative pies, ranging from live performance and film sound design, to work as a documentary composer for British television broadcasters such as the BBC. An accomplished manipulator of the recorded aural environment, Lemke seeks, in People Do, his debut solo album, to fuse the emotive elements from his film work with a sense of rhythm and space. With a stated aim of marshaling his abstract sonic palette to create a "danceable, electro-acoustic whole", the effect achieved is one of a highly visual journey that inhabits the realm of memory channelled and interpreted through objects and their collected histories. Lemke explains that his first inspiration was found in the "idiosyncratic sound world of his grandmother's piano. With a shimmering past in the silent film era of 1920's Berlin, its very fabric was full of anecdotes."
 

In the music video for Strangefruit's "Sea of Fog", husband-wife duo Laura Clarke and Matthew Oaten weave together visual cues from David Lynch, Lars Von Trier, and Mikhail Bahktin, as well as incorporating themes of sexuality and visceral natures. The result is a morbid, eye-catching and initially misleading feast of fools. We spoke with both the video artists and the band below, on the process of shooting the music video, as well as its deeper philosophical context.

Strangefruit (Musician)

"Ghosts" and "Tell Me" come from Strangefruit's debut EP, Between The Earth and Sea, which is out now. "Tell Me" was recorded and produced at Abbey Road with Greg Wells (Adele/Rufus Wainwright/Pharrell Williams/Katy Perry), and "Ghosts" was produced by (The Killers, Goldfrapp, White Lies). Stream both tracks below.   "Ghosts" [audio:/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Strangefruit-Ghosts.mp3|titles=Strangefruit -- Ghosts] "Tell Me" [audio:/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Strangefruit-Tell-Me-Abby-Road.mp3|titles=Strangefruit -- Tell Me (Abbey Road Version)]

Laura Clarke (Director) & Matthew Oaten (DoP)

Laura Clarke: "Matthew and I have collaborated on several films over the years, but the film I am most proud of to date is a film I made in 2010 called Punctum. Punctum has been screened all over the world, most recently the Brighton Fringe Festival, but also the Young persons Moscow Biennale, the London Short Film Festival and a show called Screen in Barcelona. It follows a young girl's journey from innocence to experience, exploring the liminal space of puberty."

Strangefruit -- "Sea of Fog" Music Video

Please scroll to the bottom of the post for the music video.
"The original concept was that the music video would become almost like an art film. Something powerful, dramatic and theatrical, drawing on my research into psychoanalytical theories revolving around the origins of desire, sexuality and power. Exploring gender roles, the uncanny, the macabre, and Freudian theories of death and sex. I loved the idea of a banqueting table that looked opulent and decadent at first glance, and then upon closer inspection, was a decaying, rotting mess. The vulnerable, naked woman in the center of the feast, being devoured not only by the men, but by women too. The idea being that a feast is always a precursor to either death, violence or sex." - Laura Clarke
 

At certain times in the lives of those who listen, dreams, both in wake and at rest, can serve as a rich breeding ground of inspiration. Tapping into our subconscious can bring about flurries of sonic or visual cues from which to further develop ideas, and for artist-musicians like Christelle Gualdi of the solo electronic project Stellar OM Source, such a practice might even be the initial spark of a music video to a song you'd written. In describing the vision in her mind's eye, Gualdi explains:
"While waking up one morning, an image of a Japanese girl dressed in a kimono and walking along the edge of a swimming pool surrounded by fog appeared to me. This image became the inspiration point for "Polarity". I developed the abstract narrative arc from this conscious dreaming: the women, the kimonos, the water choreography and the reflective play of light. "As we shot, the pieces fell right into place. The set felt like an animated fashion shoot, exaggerated details in the exchange between the beautiful women of the water. A feel of mystery and expectation initiates the sequences. I needed a central character to direct the energy flow, and the girl in blue face became this. When she submerges underwater, we understand her role. The flashbacks explain more before the ballet begins. The object of their dance is revealed in the end: polarity as an exchange of beauty."
Gualdi's physical interpretation of this vision utilizes underwater cameras and minimal but rich abstractions, as if to capture the qualities of the subconscious in symbolic form. In the Q&A below, she further expands on this music video, both with regards to its concept, inspiration, and execution.