Music Video Synesthesia
May 8, 2010 6:37 AM   Subscribe

What are some music videos that push the relationship between the music and the video?

I find so many music videos, both old and recent, play some imagery or narrative that seems to completely ignore the fact that there's a song playing in the background. Music videos are such fertile ground for pushing the synesthesia between sound and image, but so few seem to really explore it in depth.

Some that I think do it particularly well:
-Most of Chris Cunningham's videos, especially his Aphex Twin videosWindowlicker (NSFW - long intro sequence) and Come to Daddy
-The Avalanches Frontier Psychiatry
-Michel Gondry's video for The Chemical Brothers Star Guitar

Now, synesthesia need not be purely beat based. For example, I feel like Boards of Canada's Dayvan Cowboy cuts pretty deeply to the heart of the music - the tonal shifts of the images match the music perfectly, although it isn't as rhythmically matched as the ones mentioned above. I almost never find that performance videos use film in an interesting way, but I think Fionn Regan's Be Good or Be Gone is a brilliant exception.

Lastly, perhaps my favorite video of the moment, Jarvis Cocker's video for Aphex Twin's On.

On reflection, I'm surprised how few of the above videos are animated and/or purely abstract. But, that aside, what are some of your favorite videos that push the sound/image interplay?
posted by TheRoach to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
I think Autechre's "Gantz Graf" might interest you.
posted by davebush at 8:22 AM on May 8, 2010

Many of Cornelius' videos are built around the music (though with a few, the music is based around the video).

Cornelius - Fit
Cornelius - Smoke
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 8:50 AM on May 8, 2010

I am no fan of the music, but the video for Bastards of Young by The Replacements is noteworthy, and derives from the music in a very literal way.
posted by idiopath at 10:13 AM on May 8, 2010

Ah, I'd totally forgotten about the Cornelius videos. I've always loved Point of View Point, even if it is more than a little derivative of Koyanisqaatsi.
posted by TheRoach at 11:17 AM on May 8, 2010

Another Michel Gondry video, The Hardest Button to Button by the White Stripes, might fit your description.
posted by bibliowench at 11:22 AM on May 8, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you haven't seen Lemon Jelly's videos they're absolutely worth checking out. They all follow the music very tightly. One of their albums and a couple singles have had DVDs associated with them. Stay With You, Slow Train, The Shouty Track, Nice Weather For Ducks, etc..

I've seen some video done for live performances that was very effictive in this way.
For Rechenzentrum and Mike Relm, it's totally part of their acts. Timber (coldcut and hexstatic) is one of the earlier video sampler things I'd seen.

This sort of thing is so common for electronic music (which often focuses on texture, patterns, and motion to begin with) that it's hard to even know where to start. Arctic Hospital, Adam Johnsom. And this is the "demoscene" is/was largely about rendering this kind of thing in real time (e.g.) Really most 'good' psycadellic music videos will have a strong element of connection between the music and the visuals.
posted by aubilenon at 11:29 AM on May 8, 2010

Oh, and there's something about the Autechre video that reminds me of some of Future Sound of London's videos. There's a sort of early 90s OMG-COMPUTER-GRAPHICS quality to some of them that just makes me giggle (see, for example, Lifeforms). The Autechre video is far stronger than that, obviously, but it did bring up the FSOL association.
posted by TheRoach at 11:31 AM on May 8, 2010

I like watching Pomplamoose's Video Songs
posted by UsernameGenerator at 1:00 PM on May 8, 2010

The video for Röyksopp's Remind Me gets a mention in just about every MeFi music video thread. And for good reason—it's visually innovative and fascinating, and yet somehow perfect for the song despite having no direct connection thereto.
posted by dephlogisticated at 12:54 AM on May 9, 2010

Lodger's I Love Death--it's what I think of when the Remind Me video is mentioned...

But curious as to whether you think this fits your synesthesia search.

I do happen to love the Windowlicker video and think the part when Richard James dances with the cadre of the bikini-clad babes and the umbrella is spectacularly compelling.
posted by trampoliningisfun at 6:46 PM on May 12, 2010

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