“Where do all these melodies come from?
Where do all these melodies run from
to then find solace in sun, son?
Honestly? I’m stumped.
All I know is somehow when I’m stuck,
Maybe it’s dumb luck, I give up;
I’m just as dumbstruck.”
Steve first sent us this video in the spring but, truth be told, I didn’t take the time to really dive in and pay attention to what was going on until a few days ago. Don’t make the same mistake.
I never really caught on to what the song was about because I was too fixated on the visuals. For whatever dumb reason I tend to not like when shot footage and animation are combined unless they’re seamlessly mixed together. That’s certainly not a rule, just a general prejudice rooted in the sticky cellar of my psyche. When I was a child I used to separate my food into neat little piles; the stuff I liked least was eaten first and, when it was finished, the next mound in the hierarchy of flavor was tackled until my favorite was last on the plate. It sounds dumb now that I’m typing it out but, at the time, this behavior seemed perfectly logical. I was a little obsessed by the process to the point that I’d have a mini freak-out if different foods touched each other.
To enjoy something on it’s own terms is, to me at least, fundamentally satisfying. I find that both sobriety and intoxication are agreeable in their own way but to be either one or the other for too long a span of time spurs a vague discomfort as each plays an integral role in calibrating the poles of my consciousness.
Yin and yang, bruh.
So, separate and tackle in turn. If shot footage and hand-drawn animation are fused into one film, why wouldn’t you want to make the finished product look as homogeneous as possible? You know, invest the necessary time and attention to do a proper blend; apply some craft ‘n shit. This is probably why I glossed over the attached when I first saw it. But I didn’t dismiss it...how could I? Mr. Steven Smith himself made it for goddamn Stones Throw and, seeing as I’m a big fan of both, decided to tuck it away and return later. On a recent trip to the Midwest I did just that and, away from the pressures of work, had time to properly marinate in what was going on.
Anyways, the song is about the creative process and – even though Homeboy Sandman is specifically referring to his methodology for writing rhymes – the themes he covers are pretty universal to anyone who makes things. At it’s core, creating something is a frustrating mix of volition and luck. You’ve got to do what you can to get the ball rolling but ultimately, what’s going on isn’t completely within your control. It’s haphazard and messy and inexact and – for beings whose evolutionary success depended primarily on an ability to exert dominance over the surrounding environment – supremely frustrating.
“I think ‘What is this melody meaning to me?’
The answer might come in a week.
The answer might come immediately.
What is the recipe?”
Lyrically, it’s a tightly-packed, mad, stream-of-consciousness tumble and the accompanying grab-bag of colorful, whacked-out visuals heighten the sense of anticipation for what he’ll say next. It took me until the ninth or tenth viewing to finally notice that the only shot footage is of Sandman’s head, the physical case for an internal universe of grey matter that simultaneously contains both the hindering, fickle spontaneity of his creative muse and the honed mastery of language that eventually liberates and externalizes it.
At that moment everything shifted; the heterogeneous, sharp-edged contrast of the visuals morphed from the thing I didn’t like to my absolute favorite part. Maybe you’ll like it, too?
it’s multi-versal; pages and journals.
My journey here is ended soon –
we blow eternal.
My mind expands
with widening strands
of indigo and purple.
This music’s not commericial,
We’ve been watching Ori Toor make shit since first discovering the ‘unofficial’ music video he created for Animal Collective’s Lion in a Coma. Since then he’s made a few more and each exhibit his distinct ‘stream of consciousness’ style of staggered-and-repeating organic, undulating shapes. Ori’s approach has subtely shifted in each of them but they’ve all, for the most part, remained abstract studies in colorful form. The attached, his latest, veers into new territory and I’m absolutely loving how he’s mixed in some representational imagery to compliment the usual assortment of evolving, fluid structures.
It’s my favorite Ori-joint yet and easily an ‘instant classic’ of the site…it’d be a crime to watch this in anything but full-screen HD. Oh and a nice pair of bass-friendly headphones is a must, too; Kingdom Crumbs knows how to properly fatten-up the bottom end of their kicks and basslines and you’ll want to rattle-and-bathe in each one.
Speaking of which, I picked up their eponymous album this morning and have been listening to it while I cobble together this post. It’s thoughtful, positive, mellow, rambling-in-a-good-way hip-hop undergirded by some spacey, out-there synthesizers and easily worth the ten bucks in iTunes. If you’re strapped for cash, head over to Bandcamp and name-your-price; even the most frugal of budgets can accommdate a few cents, right?
“Take a sweet, gut-it-stuff-it then we puff it…”
Joey Garfield, one of the many talented directors at Ghost Robot, tapped Elliot Lim, Jason Esser, Aaron Kemnitzer and Nate Costa to create these über-dope visuals for some super-chill tunes by The Cool Kids.
”Sam and Ze‘s idea was to bring people from different worlds together through their shared inspiration and love of music. Thus N.A.S.A. was born, with unlikely collaborations like Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Karen O, and Fatlip on one track, George Clinton and Chali 2na on another, as well as Tom Waits and Kool Keith on yet another.”
One of our regular readers, Tate, wrote in and suggested we check out N.A.S.A., a Gorillaz-esque collaborative music project founded by Squeak E. Clean and DJ Zegon that spans coasts and continents – hence N.A.S.A (North America South America – involving loads of talented folks. The attached video taps the talent of legendary MC Kool Keith (whose releases as Dr. Octagon are personal favorites of mine) and Tom Waits whose gravelly tones compliment the rhymes and beats rather well. Oh, and video is dope too!
The team at Fluorescent Hill did a fantastic job with the creative direction/visuals, especially Mark Lomond, Johanne Ste-Marie and Jacques Khouri whose animation talents shine. Full screen and headphones are a must for this one. Strap in, mellow out and enjoy! Thanks for the heads-up, Tate! Cheers!
Cheers to Chloe Hayward for the top-notch direction on this abstract, futuristic and monochromatic video for DELS, an Ipswich-based graphic designer/producer/MC. He was plenty busy churning out videos/tunes before signing a three-album deal with Big Dada this past May so our expectation is that DELS has lots more fantastic collaborations in the works. Enjoy!
“The rules are simple. Pick any song from Stones Throw’s catalog. Edit your own video using any footage you want, upload it to Vimeo.com, and add it to our Vimeo group: http://vimeo.com/groups/stonesthrow15 You can do anything you like as long as it’s CREATIVE - shoot new footage, animation, found footage, or combination. Our deadline is July 1, 2011…more”
We’re huge fans of Stones Throw and were beyond excited to find out that they’re throwing an open-to-all video contest to celebrate their 15th anniversary. The video above was submitted by Steven Smith for the J Dilla (RIP) joint, ‘Geekdown’ and we absolutely love it. Hopefully there’s lots more like it from other creative fans on the way.
A huge, massive thanks goes to one of our readers, Victoria, for the heads-up on this one – CHEERS!
Five students from French school of animation (and awesome), Gobelins – Remi Bastie, Nicolas Dehghani, Jonathan Djob Nkondo, NIcolas Pegon and Jérémy Pires – created this stop-motion/2D animated trip-fest of a music video during their internship at WIZZ (you know, that super-rad production house that makes stuff like this). It’s deliciously strange and surprisingly bizarre which, coincidentally, is just how I likes ‘em. Oh, and the backing tune is ‘Judgement Day’ by UK grime hip-hop outfit, The Thunderclaps. Enjoy!
“Still I am,
Tighter than the pants on Will.I.Am
Back-throw, back still, I have a pound in my backpack
Next to where the swishas at;
Got some bubba, I give me that:
Need it for my cataracts.” -Snoop Dogg
From Dre’s upcoming album Detox, set to be released in 2011. Can’t wait.
So while the federal buildings blow, below, fish glow
How lovely that must be
You should-a listened to Jacques Costeau, don’t say, you know
Stop sending your trash to sea…