Tuesday, May 25, 2004

"my milkshake brings all the boys to the yard"

I was randomly browsing some of the other blogs and came acros Kathryn Stolarchuk's. She is looking at the history of the sexualisation of women in video clips. This is a quote from her blog...

"Basically my hypothesis is that the introduction of MTV into the music industry created huge changes for female popstars in the way they were perceived as visual concerns became key, rather than an accompanying feature. Started to be perceived as sexual pin-up objects. Basically then going to go back and talk about how prior the explosion of MTV, the music industry placed little emphasis on the visual, or not little - but it was not the be all and end all."

Here is a great example of the oversexualisation of women in video clips. It's Kelis', "Milkshake".

If you watch video hits you've probably seen the clip, or you can view it at the website here, otherwise just imagine freshly baked buns being removed from an oven, milkshakes over frothing, girls sipping on straws and/or writhing, you get the picture. Subtle.

Unfortunately it seems like most video clips that get played on 'Video Hits' are of this type. A few have something other than flesh to offer, but I generally find I have to stay up late to watch 'Rage' to see a variety of good clips.

I recently saw part of the 'Rage' show hosted by Daniel Johns and Paul Mac, aka "the Dissociatives"
the highlight for me was when they played Kate Bush's 'Wuthering Heights', the hosts described it as pure "whimsy", very apt. Anyway, I enjoyed it greatly, once again you can't beat liturgical dancing, especially in a red dress in a cow paddock. It may not have had special effects, but it works to capture the emotion of the song.

This is not from the video clip in question but you get the idea from this. Self conscious quaintness indeed. Any closet Kate Bush fans out there?

Monday, May 24, 2004

some michel gondry video clips

Have been looking at this site about Michel Gondry quite a bit. He's done a lot of great video clips, for bands and artists including; RadioHead, Bjork, The Chemical Brothers, The Rolling Stones and Lenny Kravitz. He has been innovative in his use of special effects. I'm also a big fan of his use of liturgical dancing (see the photo of the video for Daft Punk's, 'Around the World').

This is what this site had to say about it;

"For "Around the World," the second single from Daft Punk's debut album Homework, Gondry gave the song lifeblood. Literally each part of the song is represented by a dancing quartet: the bass by super-tall humans, the spry glissandos by synchronized swimmers, the vocoderized "around the world" by robots, etc. The song choreographs each quartet's movements. As the melodies progress, the players performances evolve."

Very clever, but I just like the dancing.

Gondry continues to expand on this technique in later videos. In the video for The Chemical Brothers', 'Star Guitar'

"The video describes a journey as seen from a train window, only the disposition of each passing element in the landscape is positioned exactly in sync with the music.
"Every sound from the track will be illustrated by an element of the landscape that appears each time that sound is heard."

These are more than your average video clips, where the band stands around a studio and mimes along to their own imagined music. These clips aim to capture the essence of what the songwriter has created. I'm interested in the collaborative process between musicians and film makers. Has anybody out there had experience with this?

Also, I'd love to hear anyone's comments on how they relate to video clips.

Do you like a song more or less after you see the clip?

Does a song need a good clip before you'll go out and buy it?

Can you enjoy the clip and not the song?

First Post

Hooray!!! My first post. I want to make this blog about how music is presented visually, and how this visual presentation interacts with and influences music, hence the name 'audio-visual'. So, initially I think the obvious places to start are video clips, film scores and visualisers. This may not appear to relate to any kind of subculture, but I expect there will be lots of different subcultures popping up around different technologies, mediums and generally different ways of interacting with the music visually.