Vintage catalogues, phenakistoscopes, purple hands, dueling dogs, strobed vinyl and 8mm film all get their due on this year’s chart, a testimony to the continued power of the short-term music video and a bountiful feast for the eyes and the ears!
2014 was an especially good year for animation, as eight of this year’s selections benefit from various treatments, ranging from hand-drawn cels to multi-layered photographic images. The others make our list thanks to excellent lensing and storyboarding. These are the cream of the crop, the hope of the industry.
And now, in alphabetical order, A Closer Listen presents the Ten Best Music Videos of 2014!
BRAAINZZ ~ oops
Director: Johnny Chew
Collaged catalogues meet vintage video in this bizarre visual mash-up, which meshes perfectly with the mangled music. “oops” is a perfect title, but there’s nothing accidental about these images.
Carly Paradis ~ The Hope of a Favourable Outcome
Directors: The Brothers Lynch
Music: Carly Paradis
A collection of Victorian phenakistoscopes is brought to life in this “infinite zoom video”, which is so fascinating it may cause a resurgence in the popularity of the once ubiquitous item. The video draws one in both physically and psychologically, as one catches glimpses of a bygone era.
Dog Blood ~ Chella Ride
Director: Golden Wolf
Music: Dog Blood
It’s dog vs. dog in outer space, while the fate of the entire earth hangs in the balance! Skrillex (half of Dog Blood, along with Boys Noize) is easily the most popular name on our list, but as much as we’d like to ignore what’s popular, we can’t ~ in this case, it’s too good.
Jonas Reinhardt ~ Ganymede (full-length film on Constellation Tatsu)
Music: Jonas Reinhardt
Ganymede is the year’s best long-form video, 35 minutes of incredible animation backed by the retro trance sounds of Jonas Reinhardt. Every viewer will have his or her own favorites. The joy is having them all in the same place. Watch on a big screen for the greatest impact.
Katie Gately ~ Pivot
Director: Louis J. Morton
Music: Katie Gately
2000 drawings were used in this enigmatic video, illustrating a portion of Katie Gately’s stellar track “Pivot”. The purple tones pop from the screen and the interaction between hands perfectly illustrates the song. This video, only a week old, was so good that we had to include it on our list!
Last Ex ~ Girl Seizure
Director: Gabe Mangold
Music: Last Ex
The trippiest video of the year was made from 2000 pen-and-ink drawings, and unfolds in a bizarre and exciting manner. The sense of flow is amazing, and the transitions are reminiscent of the great Plympton.
Robert Curgenven ~ They tore the earth and, like a scar, it swallowed them (trailer)
Direction and music: Robert Curgenven
A story is told through the written word in this trailer for Robert Curgenven’s album of the same name, an indictment of genocidal imperialism. While the message is strong, the images are so stunning that one can’t look away. Watch, listen, think, act.
Sculpture ~ Plastic Infinite
Direction and Music: Sculpture
Sculpture produced many exemplary videos this year, so many that we could have filled half the chart with their work. But “Plastic Infinite” is the top pick, as it is accompanied by a 7″ picture disc and the challenge to recreate the video at home. Some may choose to put in the effort (you’ll need a strobe and a camera), but others can simply enjoy the professional version online. If you enjoy this video, be sure to check out “Polymorphic Operator,” “Hackle Scam Populator” and the long-form “Video Plot.”
Throwing Snow feat. Addah Kaleh ~ The Tempest
Director: Rick Robin
Music: Throwing Snow feat. Addah Kaleh
How many angels can dance on the edge of a video? Good luck counting. The opening scene of this video alone is worth the price of admission. The depth of the animation is astounding, and the visual overload is a gift to the senses.
Director: Vania Haymann
Music: Daniel Koren
This is my favorite short-form video of the year. I think of it whenever I’m in Manhattan, where the speed of pedestrians rivals that of cars. The video includes a keen societal observation, but it’s also scored by memorable music and a spectacular voiceover.