Yesterday I started sifting through a crop of 20 or so music videos for a preview I'm writing on the third annual Seen and Heard Music Video Showcase at Chicago Filmmakers on September 16. The screening features what are being described as "videos that push the boundaries and compliment [sic] the varied styles of cutting edge music." Yeah, that sounds a little hoity-toity to me too, but the first half of the program has ranged from magnetically peculiar to just plain fun, and it's clearly guided by a strong, sharp curatorial touch. The videos have been picked from local labels like Thrill Jockey, Grape Juice, HoZac, and Permanent, with a few repeats from this year's CIMMFest.
My favorites thus far have come from Brain Idea, Outer Minds, Liturgy, and Oval. Check 'em out after the jump:
Quite possibly the best, Brain Idea's video for "Oh I'm Free (Earn Your Card)" is an 80s stock-footage spectacular. While the bald eagle at the beginning easily makes the video, the spliced-together clips of Top Gun-style fighter jets, McDonald's hamburgers, off-road trucking, and bobsledding add just the right amount of kitsch to make it feel like 1986.
Outer Minds' "Bohemian Grove" incorporates sock puppets, fun-house mirrors, and flowers being repurposed as instruments. It's trippy and playful in a Lewis Carroll kind of way, and the song is one of their best. Plus, it's kind of delightful to watch drummer Brian Costello ham it up in what looks like a purple wizard cloak.
Liturgy's "Returner" absolutely fucking slays, and the video is a spazzy barrage of religious imagery (white cloaks included in this one) alongside live footage of the dudes faking their much-talked about brand of transcendental black metal.
The three-minute interpretive dance in the Oval (aka Markus Popp) video for "Ah" is as mesmerizing as it is weirdly disturbing. The glitchy electro soundtrack fits perfectly with the contorting movements, proving that director Darko Dragicevic flat-out got it.