Music illustrators and visual artists too often make for unsung-heroes. This is why we keep a watchful eye on emerging art forms and vanguard imagery, defending both the visual and audio hemispheres.
This year we felt that a lot of up-and-coming artists who we didn’t know last year made their mark with plenty of potential to be explored in depth. Here’s our pick of the best music videos of 2015. Watch all of the music videos on Playmoss or YouTube.
10. Annanan – Willis [LL.M.]
Framing Annanan’s ruffian techno-breaker ‘Willis‘ into an altered black-and-white scenario, Fabian Maahs’ video goes well past the basic illustration. Somewhere between Buñuel’s ‘Un Chien Andalou‘ and Cunningham’s ‘Rubber Johnny‘, Maahs delivers a compelling vision of the human body as subjected to musical forces through fragmentary perspectives: a dislocated torso furling and unwinding along bruising kicks, faces dissolving between multiple light-masks and tree-leaves projections pulsing like radio waves while fleshly shapes keep distorting under magnifying glass views.
Video by Fabian Maahs.
9. Simo Cell – Cellar Door [dnuoS ytiviL]
Fading into minimalistic psychedelia as the first drop hits the floor, this shape-shifting assemblage of flat surfaces and 3D matter subdued to perpetual FX alteration makes for a perfect extension to Simo Cell’s pared-down, bassy moves and subtle sound equilibrium.
Video by Ndayé Kouagou
8. Oneohtrix Point Never – Sticky Drama [Warp Records]
If you are expecting a vapourware revisit and such pleasantries as ‘Zebra‘ or ‘Ouroborus‘ you may need to recalibrate as elements of Garden of Delete are closer to horror movie Skrillex than any of his previous releases. It’s also ridiculously surprising and fun – something summed up perfectly by the look of sheer delight on this kids face in the final seconds of the grotesquely comic video for ‘Sticky Drama‘
Video by Jon Rafman and Daniel Lopatin.
7. Snow Ghosts – The Hunted [Houndstooth]
Taking place in a fantasy-friendly pre-medieval epoch, Snow Ghost’s ‘The Hunted’ portrays a hunt, showing a blue-faced barbarian hot on the heels of the woman who just succeeded in fleeing his gruesome designs. Craig Murray’s video frames the intense crescendo of the track, from the languid vocals of Hannah Cartwright to a goosebumps-inducing climax of droning layers and warlike percussions in a mystique-charged atmosphere. Brilliant.
Video by Craig Murray.
6. Clark – To Live And Die In Grantham [Warp Records]
‘To Live And Die In Grantham’ was visualised by Christopher Hewitt, his second music video instalment for Clark, in a “rave ritual” short film shot at the Bel Air Chalet Estate, Seawick, Essex.
“The track reminds me of my old rave days,” Hewitt says in a press release. “It is also the perfect piece of music to convey different energy states through imagery and action,” he continues. “It got me thinking about the archaic, almost tribal nature of a nightclub and how best to tie this into the track. Even though I believe we’re about to see a resurgence in archaic revival, I think as people we’ve kind of lost a lot of the traditions in what make us human. The rights of passage is a big one for me. The film for Clark is a modern take on that ritual, maybe a twisted take on it.”
Video by Christopher Hewitt.
5. Ajukaja & Andrevski – Mesilind [Levels]
London based director Thierry Phung, who made visuals for NTS’s birthday, created this music video for ‘Mesilind’, presenting a tripped out montage of subterranean environments to compliment the track.
Video by Thierry Phung.
4. Palmbomen II – Cindy Savalas [Beats In Space]
One of the videos we found a highlight of 2015 is “Cindy Savalas” – a magical short accompanying the outstanding self-named album by Palmbomen II. The character is one in a series of videos hinting at protagonists of the X-Files, the classic series which inspired Kai Hugo during the works on his LP for Beats In Space.
Cindy Savalas, an out-there girl in the video, feels like a medium talking to ghosts as when she states: “I have to cry for the world.” The video was filmed by Kai and his crew in a hut in the Californian desert. You could say that Blue, the girl who plays Cindy Savalas, has a haunted spirit in her genes as her mother played in the original Twin Peaks series. Make sure to check out “Cindy Savalas” as well as the three other videos filmed for and by Palmbomen II.
Video by Kai Hugo.
3. Lorn – Acid Rain [Wednesday Sound]
Set in a post-apocalyptic scenery – somewhere between Michael Jackson’s Thriller and an episode of the Walking Dead, Lorn’s video for ‘Acid Rain’ comes quite logically third in our ranking. What’s so fascinating with a ballet of cheerleaders dancing in and out of a barren dinner till they come out of breath, you’ll say? Check by yourself and try not succumb Lorn’s warped and bass-loaded sinister melodies laced with such tastefully composed slow-mo choreography.
Video by Pavel Brenner, Julian Flores, Sherif Alabede.
2. Dyad – Zou [Dyad]
Exploring the audio-visual field with a graphic lexicon of their very own, French artists Irwin Barbé and Louise Ernandez keep cementing a riveting body of work astride analogue photography and video.
After collaborating on videos such as San Proper’s ‘Deja Vu‘ and Mura Oka’s ‘A1 Untitled‘, the pair return with a superb seven minute-long, documentary-like visual composition for Dyad’s moody techno crusher ‘Zou‘. Read our Behind The Scenes feature to discover more about ‘Zou’.
Directed by Irwin Barbé + Louise Ernandez.
1. FKA twigs – M3LL155X [Young Turks]
M3LL155X (pronounced “Melissa”) is FKA twigs third extended player and is accompanied with a short film released simultaneously to the EP’s release. The self-directed 16-minute video features four of the tracks: “Figure 8“, “I’m Your Doll“, “In Time” and the previously released video for “Glass & Patron“.
The film comes together to form a continuous piece, described as “an aggressive statement conceptualising the process of feeling pregnant with pain, birthing creativity and liberation.” Ultimately M3LL155X is a bold visual odyssey that stimulates the music and viewer.
Video by FKA twigs.
Ajukaja & AndrevskiAnnananClarkDyadFKA twigsLornOneohtrix Point NeverPalmbomen IISimo CellSnow GhostsBeats In SpacednuoS ytiviLDyadHoundstoothLevelsLL.M.Warp RecordsWednesday SoundYoung TurksBassBeatsElectronicExperimentalHouseTechno