No! No Aha! Or A-ha. Or ABBA for that matter! As we pointed out at our Minicine Free For All last month, this season is about dispelling myths and creating legends. The music of Scandinavia and the wider Nordic region is more than Eurovision pop and inaudible black metal, so with this season’s video playlist we’re bringing you some of the most diverse and creative music acts to come out of that area of the world. So sit back, relax and feast your eyes on these gems:
WhoMadeWho ‘Every Second Alone’ dir. William Stahl – Speaking of dispelling myths, our first video in this season’s playlist subverts the notion that Danes are the happiest people on Earth by depicting the band and others crying uncontrollably over the smallest mishap or challenging task. The support group member crying ver spilt milk is a particular highlight.
Sigur Rós ‘Gobbledigook’ dir. Arni and Kinski – We’ll be rounding out our Nordic Season with a screening of Sigur Rós’ collection of experimental short films, Valtari. Their video back catalogue is equally as impressive and defined by a rich human element. Videos for ‘Untitled #1’, ‘Hoppipolla’ and ‘Svefn-g-englar’ are worth seeking out. For this playlist though we bring you ‘Gobbledigook’ and it’s celebration of the human form.Viewer discretion is advised.
Kings of Convenience ‘Toxic Girl’ dir. François Nemeta – Nowadays computer trickery would most likely be employed to animate the photographs that make up this promo, but the video’s hands-on almost home-made quality make it as intimate as the song.
Björk ‘Triumph of a Heart’ dir. Spike Jonze – Björk getting drunk in Iceland and frisky with a house cat. Hey, it’s Björk, what did you expect?
Jenny Hval ‘Blood Fight’ dir. Håvard Volden and Jenny Hval – Sometimes less is more and that’s certainly the case with this next promo. The stark black & white visuals coupled with the repetitive motion of the character cut-outs matches the haunting vocals and rhythmic beat of the song perfectly, resulting in a simple yet engaging, almost hypnotic, video.
The Knife ‘Without You My Life Would Be Boring’ dir. Bitte Anderson – Brother/sister duo The Knife previous music videos have presented a stimulating mix of charming eccentricity and the macabre. ‘Without You…’ is no exception and continues the bands interest in reinterpreting the music video dance routine. Viewer discretion is advised.
Refused ‘New Noise’ dir. Jocke Ahlund – While not the most innovative music video, Refused’s The Shape of Punk to Come: A Chimerical Bombination in 12 Bursts is still heralded as a seminal punk album of the late 90s. The band split shortly after its release, as documented in the film Refused Are Fucking Dead (2006), and have only recently reformed to play a number of festivals, with ‘New Noise’ sounding as fresh and visceral as it did upon its release.
Casiokids ‘Det Haster!’ dir. Kristoffer Borgli – Depictions of adults getting kicks from abusing stuffed toys is creepy enough, but makes this video all the more unnerving is that this is a real thing. Plushophilia is a paraphilia involving stuff animals, ruining playtime for the rest of us. We’ve not been able to look at our Cabbage Patch Dolls in the same way since 😦 Viewer discretion is advised.
José González ‘Heartbeats’ dir. Nicolai Fuglsig – The original promo for this cover of a The Knife favourite is little more than a standard performance video. The song became a hit however when it was featured in this commercial for Sony’s Bravia TV. In contrast to the typical focus on technology, the ad presented a more artistic promotion of the product’s advances in colour quality. Regardless, as a standalone piece, Balls as it is dubbed, is a calming and joyous short.
Lykke Li ‘Tonight’ dir. Christian Haag – Again, sometimes less is more. Music videos have long been known for their fast-cut editing style, but at a time when this is commonplace and taken for granted, it is videos like this that begin to stand out. A static shot capturing the artist, in monochrome no less, engaging the viewer and commanding their attention by maintaining the single take.
Nordic Season begins tomorrow at The Palace Picturehouse in Armley Mills Industrial Museum with a feature presentation of Jannicke Systad Jacobsen’s small town teen sex obsession comedy Turn Me On, Dammit! Tickets are available here.
Listen to our ‘Nordic Me, Nordic You, Aha!’ playlist, as well as all our previous video playlists, over at 8tracks.com now.