Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Bloc Party (Nearly) Complete Videography

IMPORTANT: We decided to switch from Rapidshare to Ezarchive! Now everyone wins! Rejoice!

Now that Ben's posted the nearly complete videography of his favorite band, The Streets, I figured I'd follow suit and do the same for my favorite band, Bloc Party. I'd have titled this post "Bloc Party Complete Videography", but I'm missing the orginal low-budget video for "Helicopter", which is an absolutely awesome black and white clip from 2004, as well as the video for The Streets' remix of "Banquet", which as Ben mentioned is more of a mini-documentary than a music video anyway. I like the original "Helicopter" video so much I'm posting a link to where you can stream it, even though streaming video usually isn't my thing. However, I do have the rest of Bloc Party's video history, and they've consistently put out great videos since that point. Download below, in descending chronological order (most recent video at the top).

Videos: [all ipod Compatible]"Two More Years" - Bloc Party
{Director: Dominic Leung}
Of all the Bloc videos, I find this one, the most recent, to be my least favorite and the most uninspired of the bunch. It does touch on the song's central theme, the neutrality and lethargy of the youth of today, and has great lighting and all, but the lights on the floor idea could have been executed to a much better effect and the video is largely just plodding and uninspired."Helicopter" (Version 2: Animated) - Bloc Party [highly recommended]

"Pioneers" - Bloc Party [highly recommended]
{Directed By: Minivegas}
In an interesting/lazy turn of events, Bloc Party released only slightly different versions of the same video for two different songs. In the UK they released this as the "Pioneers" video, while in the US a slightly different version of the clip served as the promo video for "Helicopter", which has been getting heavy rotation on mtvU here. In the clip, Bloc Party are taken by a giant beetle (I know, weird) to an alternate universe where flowers ascend to the skies held to the earth by chains, and pig/lizard hybrids terrorize unwanted visitors. Though I don't love the character animation here, the animation of the environments is top notch and makes for a great video. I especially love the part at the end in which they enter the barrel of the gun and are shot into outerspace where they reacquire their instruments once again. The "Helicopter" version, while pretty much the same, works also, but is less appropriate, considering the song's anti-Bush/anti-American subject matter."Banquet" (Version 3: Colored Circles) - Bloc Party [highly recommended]
{Director: Scott Lyon}
This is actually the third video for GWFAS' song of the year, "Banquet", and though it can't match the raw excitement of the original, it almost seems to be a higher-budget, re-worked version of the original version, with added shots of the misled generation that Kele's singing about spliced into the mix. This video is very simplistic - basic black and white performance footage highlighted by subtle use of color and camera movement - but I enjoy it immensely. This could just be because I love Bloc Party and everything about them, so this may not be for everyone. Towards the end of the clip they focus on the emotionless audience, the "left behind" generation Kele is singing about, and the subtle use of color is again employed to lovely effect. This should be boring but I find myself watching (and enjoying) it again and again."Banquet" (Version 2: Giant Hands) - Bloc Party [highly recommended]
{Directed By: Alex & Liane}
The video opens with an awesome lighting/shadow effect, in which the shadows of the band move around them in a sundial effect in time with the song, and the shadow effect remains cool throughout. Even though the giant hands have a bit of a cheesy b-movie horror film feel about them, I still thoroughly enjoy it, and the reflections in the knives at the end are a classy touch, as is the destruction of the set in sync with the closing seconds of the song."So Here We Are" - Bloc Party [highly highly recommended]
{Directed By: Alex & Liane}
Wonderful video that carries the track perfectly, Alex & Liane direct one of the 2005's best clips for this song with beautiful cinematography and especially wonderful camera work at the beginning. My favorite thing about this video is the way it perfectly keeps up and reflects the pace of the song, exploding into fast forward at the same time the song does (at the 2:53 mark). I may or may not have already explained my fixation with London on this site - I was born there, my ex-girlfriend lives there, and I enjoy nothing more than walking through London listening to music (and "So Here We Are" provides the perfect soundtrack for such an activity) - but that is perhaps the reason I love this video so much."Helicopter" (Version 1: Black & White) - Bloc Party [highly recommended]
{Directed By: type2error} STREAM HERE
I'm pretty upset I don't have this video for myself on my hard drive and iPod, because I love it, and I definitely recommend that you follow the link to the stream to watch it. That said, this video is awesome. It has a haunting, spooky feel that perfectly reflects the song, and the editing further reinforces this vibe. Directors type2error borrow elements from Hitchcock and German Expressionism, using rapidfire editing and a claustrophobic, seemingly impossibly-structured set to create tension within the frame and a generally ominous unsettling feeling in the viewer. Tie that in with the cuts to the glowing spastic creature thats buckled down to that lab table and you've got yourself a pretty creepy video; great job by type2error.
"Little Thoughts" - Bloc Party [highly highly recommended]
{Directed By: Ben Dawkins}
I absolutely love this video, though I can't exactly pinpoint why; something about the brightly-colored, rapidly-moving shapes seems to adequately satisfy my ADD. Director Ben Dawkins places Bloc Party on a floating set, flying through what appears to be a colorful digital world, and the flying digital shapes exit the frame in perfect conjunction with the drum beats of Matt Tong's urgent percussion. Normally when I see guys in pink or "salmon" polos (which is only every time I open my eyes at UVA) I shudder, but Kele manages to pull it off and still remains unfailingly cool. Definitely one of my all-time favorite performance-based videos."Tulips" - Bloc Party
{Directed By: Charles Spano & Nick Sutton}
I'm not sure if this is an official video or a very well-made unofficial clip, but I'm including it here nonetheless. Pretty simple concept here: dual-screen low-budget clip composed of performance and tour footage. Nicely executed, but nothing too exciting here."Banquet" (Version 1: Black & White) - Bloc Party
{Directed By: Nautilus}
The video that started it all. Very low budget, very simple performance-based video concept, but wonderfully executed with absolutely perfect editing; the perfect debut video for Bloc Party. Imagine never having heard "Banquet" and having this video come on your TV screen on MTV2UK for the first time, as you hear this awkward noise (did someone kill a dolphin?) break the initial silence as the band takes the stage, wondering exactly who this rag-tag group of youngsters are, and who that dashing fellow on the microphone is. All of a sudden the steady percussion gradually fades in, and those anthemic call-and-return guitars come in, as the camera cuts frantically to each member and his respective instrument on the claustrophobic stage, generating tension and excitement as you try to figure out who this "Bloc Party" band is and why you've never heard them before. And then before you know it, the chaos and excitement are over, fading out just as it came, and you're left wondering what exactly you just witnessed and how long it'll be before you can experience the excitement again.