Today’s Video Exclusive is a Fantastical Stop-Motion Vision of Love and Loss
A gilded heroine rises from her slumber and into the arms of a black bear in artist Kymia Nawabi’s new video for Future Islands’ careering track, “Walking Through That Door.” Nawabi completed the line-up of a now-defunct art school band with members of the Baltimore-based, synth-powered trio, Sam Herring, William Cashion and Gerritt Welmers a little over a decade ago, and has since devised the group’s album art. “Kymia creates her own mythology in her work,” says guitar and bass player Cashion. “We try to create our own world with our songs, so we like the idea of our music and her work being connected in some cosmic way.” Nawabi won the second season of US TV show Work of Art: The Next Great Artist and was exhibited solo at The Brooklyn Museum in 2012. Here, she channels old-school luminaries such as Vladislav Starevich, a Russian-born Polish animator who made his name creating stop-motion works during the early 20th century, as well as contemporary favorites Tim Burton, The Brothers Quay and Allison Schulnik. Made entirely using donations from the crowd-sourcing platform Kickstarter, today's premiere took eight months to make. The intensity of emotion that characterizes the film betrays the fact that, above all, this is a rumination on love. “When someone else loves you endlessly and honestly, it allows you to open up in ways that are very real and raw,” says Nawabi. “I feel that Sam is singing of a deep love that he has experienced and I wanted the characters to really show this.”
Vincent Haycock Casts Three Brothers From Compton for the London Producer’s Stirring New Release
“Everything in the video is their real life,” says director Vincent Haycock of the Mays boys, who he cast for this magic realist visual accompaniment to London composer and producer Raffertie’s new track “Build Me Up,” after meeting the youngest brother Demantre while location scouting in South Central, Los Angeles. “Every cast member is their friend, son, or cousin, and all the locations are their houses and neighborhood,” explains the filmmaker, whose previous work includes videos for Florence and the Machine, Spiritualized and Calvin Harris. “Most of the scenes were based on what they wanted to do as opposed to me giving them too much direction. The only thing I made up was the idea of death—all the brothers are alive and well.” The occasional special effect adds a surreal, poetic element to Haycock’s fictionalized rendition of the Mays’ intense lives in the video produced by Somesuch & Co, rendering a portrait of the cyclical nature of life while forming a narrative mirror of the looping, primal track, taken from Raffertie’s album due out on Ninja Tune later this year. “One of the aspects I liked most was the idea of turning the breaks in the song’s structure into natural pauses for the voice-overs,” he says. “A musical element was still required here though so I composed some extra music derived from the choral backing vocals.” Next up for Haycock is a video for Rihanna—“It will be a complete 180 degree turn from this project,” he reveals—while Raffertie will release the Build Me Up EP on May 20.
You have a background in musical composition—when you are composing, do you ever have visuals in mind?
Raffertie: Music is very visual for me. Often there are many images that go around my mind when listening to or making music. It happens the other way around as well, when I look at things, and witness events, ideas spring to mind that tend to be musical in nature.
What music videos or visual/musical collaborations have most inspired you in the past and why?
R: Zatorski and Zatorski and Philip Glass in The Last 3600 Seconds of a Wasp. The film documents the last hour of the life of a wasp, which fell onto its back and was unable to right itself. Set to Glass’ Metamorphosis, the combination of what I was seeing augmented by this music caused such a visceral reaction in me.
Have any screen soundtracks left their mark on you of late?
R: I feel that film music has become quite homogeneous, but two soundtracks have stood out recently. The first was the original music composed for Tyrannosaur by Chris Baldwin and Dan Baker. The film is one of the most depressing, harrowing and horrific films I have seen for a while and the music illustrates that exceptionally with its unusual pallet of sounds. The second is the soundtrack of recent British TV series Utopia, which was written by Cristobal Tapia de Veer. Like the imagery of the show, it feels almost hyperreal. Moving from quirky to dark and from abstract to serene, the soundtrack is a timbral adventure.
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