Thursday, April 20, 2006

Videoteque Videomix #1: 4/20 Mix

The second half of my 4/20 celebration continues here with the music video portion of my 4/20 extravaganza (the music mix is available over on Good Weather For Airstrikes here). As some of you may know, pretty much the only thing better than listening to music high is watching music videos high (trust me, I've tested this hypothesis countless times). So, too celebrate this theorem, below is the inaugural Videoteque Videomix, and these are ten of my favorite videos of all time (sober or otherwise), so even those who aren't down with illegal drug use (props) are sure to enjoy. Obviously, every video below comes [highly recommended] and as always, every one is [iPod Compatible].

1. "Dayvan Cowboy" - Boards of Canada
{Director: Melissa Olson}
What better way to embark on your consciousness-expanding journey than to start with Boards of Canada's "Dayvan Cowboy" video, in which man journeys from outerspace, through the stratosphere and towards the earth at mach speeds, before plunging into the ocean and being reborn as a surfer. Yeah, it doesn't exactly make total sense or deliver any over-arching artistic message, but it's 4/20, it doesn't have to.

2. "Staring At The Sun" - TV On The Radio
{Director: Elliot Jokelson}
Here's an instance where, thanks to the music video gods (or Elliot Jokelson), a song that's amazing to listen to high in the first place gets an equally-amazing video to accompany it. Just try to watch those bright dreamy colors or Tinde Adebimpe's dematerialized body getting pulled around the screen on green threads and tell me your mind doesn't melt a little bit.

3. "Smile" - Mad Action
{Director: Jonas Odell}
Trippy-ass shit.

4. "Human" - Carpark North
{Director: Martin De Thurah}
One of the best videos of the new millenium, Martin De Thurah's clip for Carpark North's "Human" boggles the mind and defines the word awesome. Every shot in this video is so flawlessly timed with the music, it's just incredible. Two crucial scenes make this video (from a high perspective that is); the first coming at the beginning, when the girl pounds the desk and the room explodes around her at the same time the driving synthesized guitar line comes charging into the song. The second scene comes just after the middle, when the two girls run towards each other during a momentary lull in the instrumentation, jump, are momentarily suspended in air, and fall to the ground in conjunction with the return of the song's crushing rhythm section. Both scenes, and the video as a whole, are absolutely breathtaking.

5. "Seven Nation Army" - The White Stripes [link fixed]
{Directed By: Alex & Martin}
I'm just gonna come out and declare this video the best video for high viewing ever. Nothing else comes to matter as the video just keeps charging forward in one continuous motion, literally sucking you in, as you're assaulted with a full-fledged rhythm section assault and a literal infantry of skeleton soldiers. I can't even begin to explain what this video will do to you when watching it in an altered state.

6. "Fortress" - Pinback
{Director: Elliot Jokelson}
This video is the only music video in my Top 25 Most Played playlist on my iTunes, and only for the reason that my friends and I hook the 'pod up to the TV and watch it every single time (without fail) when we're high. The bright colors, that old man and the aquatic monster pulling his boat, the soldiers' flawlessly choreographed dance routine and that big flower that breaks through the darkness and ascends to the heavens at the end; this video's just fun.

7. "My Girlfriend's Boyfriend" - Her Space Holiday
{Director: Marc Bianchi}
I absolutely love the animation in this video, which was directed by Marc Bianchi (Her Space Holiday) himself and the way one environment fades into another as animated flourishes frolic in the background. However, the highlight comes during the chorus, when the environment fades to black and some iPod commercial-inspired figures rock out in perfect time with the barrage of crushing guitars.

8. "Only This Moment" - Royksopp
{Directed By: Brendan McNamee & Robert Chandler}
I think the only reason this video got such a mixed reception was because not enough people took the time to watch it high. Seriously, the after-effects in this video are astonishing. Everything in this video is captivating and overwhelming in its grandeur, but one particular scene stands out that boggles one's mind more than nearly any other on this mix. The scene in which crowds gather below a flying airplane spelling words in the cloud flawlessly gives way to the mob scene with one of my favorite transitional shots in any music video, in which the camera pans up to the sky and a flock of birds flies in seemingly every direction, before the camera itself turns upside down and takes you into the town square (it's hard to explain, but trust me, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about when it happens).

9. "Star Guitar" - Chemical Brothers
{Director: Michel Gondry}
In my opinion, this is perhaps the single best video of all time. Michel Gondry is an absolute mastermind of cinema, and his brilliance absolutely shines on this video. It takes a few times to realize exactly how brilliant this video is, as it's not until after a few listens that you realize that everything (everything) in the song is perfectly timed with the fast-moving environment that passes by the train window. Literally every single part of the song is, every little synthesized drum beat and synth line, is reflected in the changing environment outside the window, resulting in one of the most brilliant videos in music video history. I love how the only presence of humans in the video coincides with the only human presence in the song (the unintelligible vocals during the train station shot)

10. "Glosoli" - Sigur Ros
{Director: Arni & Kinski}
Sigur Ros never disappoints with their music videos, as they’re always cinematic masterpieces, usually centered around children and youthful innocence and bliss. “Glosoli”, directed by Arni & Kinski, is no exception, depicting a young drummer boy gathering up the other denizens of what appears to be an adult-free utopian land, and leading a revolution to freedom. When I bought Takk…when it first came out as a promotion I also received a DVD with this video on it, which I value as much as the CD itself. I immediately rushed back to my dorm room and put it in the DVD player, turned off the lights and sat on the floor Indian-style too close to the TV like an 8 year old watching cartoons after school. After it’s conclusion I nearly passed out, then later I watched it when I was high and thought that maybe I had just been reborn. The shot when the children (most beautiful children ever by the way… not in a creepy Devendra Banhart way I promise) are running up the cliff as the birds fly over the ocean is perhaps my favorite scene in any piece of cinema this year. When I originally posted the video on the Good Weather For Airstrikes I likened watching it to a life-changing experience “on par with losing your virginity or seeing Garden State for the first time” and I still feel the same way. This video, which was my clear-cut favorite of 2005, doesn't wow with special effects or perfectly-timed shots, but it's just an absolutely stunning piece of cinema, worthy one thousand times over of a spot on your hardrive or iPod.

Finally, one of the most amazing videos for high viewing ever is sadly not available in any kind of downloadable format. Ratatat's "Cherry" video, directed by E*Rock, is available for streaming only on the XL Recordings (Ratatat's label) website, but I can't highly recommend enough that you overcome any streaming video bias you might have and view it here.