Tropic Of Cancer, Forest Swords & OPN save the music video (for the time being)
The unfortunate fate of music video genre may repeat the same sad story of discarded media carriers such as CD or something as useless as Blu-Ray. But if you can still insert discs in some older version of your Mac laptops, music videos stopped making sense since TV channels turned their back on the format. Online video platforms are trying hard to fill the void, but the fact is that marketing campaigns for music are shrinking each passing day and only wealthier artists and labels can afford to release something as decadently disposable as fancy promo-video. Even then it will probably be one per album and before the release.
Anyhow.... Once in a blue moon we still get to see some genuinely startling examples of the craft primarily supplied from the fringes of popular music. Last year we had reliably quirky escapades from The Knife, some bizarre promos for Grimes and a couple of other inspired pieces of someone else's imagination married to decent music creations.
Last week brought us as many as three proud specimens of the genre produced for uniformly brilliant musicians promoting their equally brilliant new albums.
We start with absolutely stunning gothic grandeur of Camella Lobo's doom and gloom project Tropic Of Cancer. Widely publicized is the fact that Sandwell District ex-member Juan Mendez (also known as Silent Servant) has left the project to concentrate on his own music, label and design work (btw the cover of the record is designed by him and it's a marvel).
Luckily the replacement on production duties is Karl O'Connor (Regis). His known love for electronic-leaning post-punk and considerable sound-design prowess shines through quite perceptibly. Parajanov-friendly colour-saturated symbolism of the video below is for "Restless Idylls" first single "Plant Lilies At My Head". The album is released on flawless Blackest Ever Black. Video directed by Pedro Maia.
The next one is no-less dreamy, but considerably more darkened and chill-inducing choreographed convolutions captured by Dave Ma for the most upbeat cut "Thor's Stone" from Forest Swords acclaimed debut "Engravings". Musically you kind of know what to expect if you have ever heard any piece of music by designer-come-musician Matthew Barnes. It's all chopped up choirs, guitars a-la Morricone, sparsely deployed drums and gorgeous melodies. "Engravings" is released via NY-based Tri Angle.
Last is the new promo for "Still Life" from Daniel Lopatin's latest under his Oneohtrix Point Never guise "R Plus Seven" released yesterday on Warp. The album is getting people polarized: glowing review in british Wire is offset by many infuriated comments under most online articles writing about the album. Nothing new with Lopatin, you either love his haughty concepts or completely disregard him as another artsy pretender. "Still Life" is directed by artist Jon Rafman and is predictably disturbing.