Friday, April 21, 2006

Videography: Willy Mason

Like Willy Mason, the artist for whom all four of their music videos have been made, Tim Laursen and Emily Wilder (who together form the Wilder/Laursen production duo) hail from Martha's Vineyard and also like Mason and many of the native islanders, are people of many talents and skill sets. Mason, aside from his self-titled folk project, which has garnered him international acclaim and success (both critical and retail), also lists interior decoration as a hobby on his website. Wilder/Laursen have their collective hands in many proverbial jars as well, not only working in music videos and film (their primary focus, "[their] goal is to make short films"), but also recording music (check out their stuff here) and working in stained glass. Another unique attribute of the Vineyard is the extremely close and tight-knit community it fosters, and this is evident in all walks of Mason's music. Not only do his fellow Islanders Wilder/Laursen produce and direct his videos, but fellow-Vineyarder Geoff Pease designed the beautiful cover art for Mason's debut album, Where The Humans Eat.

But back to the matter at hand. Aside from many other animation projects and short films (which can be viewed here), Wilder/Laursen have also created all four of Willy Mason's music videos, only two of which, "Oxygen" and "So Long", were formally released. Below is Mason's complete videography, all of which were written, shot, edited and directed by Wilder/Laursen.

Videos: [all iPod Compatible]

"So Long" - Willy Mason [highly recommended]
{Directed By: Wilder/Laursen}
Filmed in Barcelona in London last year, Wilder/Laursen's video for "So Long" chronicles Mason's life away from home, and the difficulty of being an outsider in a culture very different from your own. Nice stop-gap animation here, and you can tell Mason and company had a lot of fun during the shoot. Also, the Wilder/Laursen website has this to say about "So Long": "'So Long' was shot and released in March '05 and surpassed the success of "Oxygen" by moving to #3, getting A-list playtime, and being featured in European award shows like "Videos that should have won the MTV awards". It cost half as much as "Oxygen" which cost half as much as a car."

"Oxygen " - Willy Mason [highly recommended]
{Directed By: Wilder/Laursen}
I love this video. Maybe it's because I love Martha's Vineyard and this video follows Mason as he hitch-hikes around the island in the autumn, a side of the Vineyard most people don't get to see. It's very well-done and exudes a definite Garden State vibe, possibly another reason I like it so much. The various scenes in the video are all taken from different parts of the island or in different cars that have picked up Mason, in which he interacts with various people in situations that echo the lyrics of the song. This definitely would have been one of my very favorite videos of last year had I only known about it then.

"Hard Hand To Hold" - Willy Mason
{Directed By: Wilder/Laursen}
The first official video the duo produced for Mason, it's split evenly between footage from Martha's Vineyard and footage from the Glastonbury festival in the UK, juxtaposing the two very different lifestyles, with some nice animated footage as well.

"Gotta Keep Moving" - Willy Mason
{Directed By: Wilder/Laursen}
This is the first video ever produced by Wilder/Laursen, and it was a test shoot for Virgin Records before they allowed Wilder/Laursen to film Mason's other videos. It's very low budget and was shot at All Tomorrow's Parties and in the surrounding desert near Long Beach, California, and pretty much just features Mason, his friends, and some trains. Nice work as far as a test video goes.

Be sure to hit up GWFAS for downloadable MP3s of "Oxygen", "So Long" and "Hard Hand To Hold" here.