ACL 2013: The Year’s 10 Best Music Videos

LoopMTV started the music video craze, then abandoned it.  In the years that followed, music videos retreated to the web.  At first, they languished in obscurity; then they began to catch on.  These are the ten most effective videos we’ve seen this year, a cross-section of an active industry that continues to flourish and grow.

Four Feathers Few
Director:  Joey Bania
Music:  Orla Wren, “Four Feathers Few”

This evocative suspended motion video doesn’t seem like it’s moving, but look closely and one can catch the subtle shifts.  The backgrounds are beautiful and the patience of the project reflects the nostalgic quality of the music.

Capitulo I
Directors:  Alexandre Cunha, Tiago Faria, Daniel Mota
Music:  indignu, “Capitulo I – onde as nuvens se cruzam”

A touching story of love across the years, beautifully lensed and backed by a sweet post-rock score.  This was a great way to introduce the band to a global audience.

I Could Hear the Water at the Edge of All Things
Director:  Alex Amoling
Music:  Hammock, “I Could Hear the Water at the Edge of All Things”

A new classic from the always-reliable Hammock.  Alex Amoling (Hammock’s “Mute Angels”, has produced what is arguably his best work yet.  In this video, the plot of a full-length film plays out in only six minutes.

We should make strange things
Directors:  Naoki Niwa & Tadahiro Gunji
Music:  MAS, “We should make strange things”

An utterly beguiling video about making improvised music on a raft with a host of strange creatures, including an endearing bird, bottle and can.  The images fit perfectly with the music, making this a complete package.

The Clockmakers
Director:  Renaud Hallée

Presented by The National Film Board of Canada, this fascinating feature investigates the nature of action and counteraction via triangles and trapeze artists.  Each time a figure interacts with a line, a sound occurs.

Directors:  Daniela Villanueva, Mara Soler
Music:  TeenFlirt, “Etereas”

This “sculpture in movement” is a natural pair with the video above; each features the interaction of human movement and angle.  In this case, the dancers’ arcs are traced by the outlines of a hula hoop and a computer.

Bad Kingdom
Director:  Pfadfinderei
Music:  Moderat, “Bad Kingdom”

A series of still images zooms toward the viewer, unraveling a tale of suspense and intrigue.  Though the screen is flat, the effect is three-dimensional.  A great teaser for the album, whose cover art was created by the same team.

Director:  Cyriak
Music:  Bonobo, “Cirrus”

Another victory for the amazing Cyriak, who plunders ordinary vintage films and layers them into a phantasmagorical melange.  Anyone who likes pinions, pinwheels, kaleidoscopes and mechanical devices will be enthralled.

Samba ~ Loop
Director:  Ronda

Music:  DJ Fernandez, “Loop”

It may not be a full-fledged music video, but it’s the video I’ve played and shared the most this year.  Only 33 seconds long, the looping 8-bit track is ridiculously addictive, and that’s the point: it’s not only an ear worm, but an eye worm as well.

Fix My Life
Director:  Morgan Beringer
Music:  Melt Yourself Down, “Fix My Life”

Warning: these images may cause seizures!  The flashing lights and moving images of this video leave afterimages and can cause even the healthiest of viewers to blink their eyes.  A perfect match for the propulsive music; you’ll need a rest after this one!

Richard Allen

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