Are we in the past, the present, or the future? It’s an interesting question and one that’s more relevant than you might think. I may be writing this in my present but you’ll be reading it in the future, which of course means that I’m currently speaking to you from the past.
What does that have to do with today’s music video of the day? Perhaps nothing, though I do like the way that this video seems to be a perfect illustration of how people in the past once spent their present visualizing the future. There are oppressive government agents, all wearing suits. There are people fleeing after committing some sort of vague, possibly criminal act. There’s the appropriately decadent club where people dance while the world outside descends into stormy chaos. Today, this video and this song would be considered to be rather retro but, back in 1997, it was all undoubtedly viewed as being quite futuristic.
Needles to say, I like this video. With all the rain and its neon noir atmosphere, it’s a video that seems almost as if it’s been excerpted out of a larger movie. One could easily imagine a 90-minute version of this video, one that would undoubtedly feature a lot more time spent in the storm. It’s a video that does a very good job at suggesting life under a dystopia and while dystopian societies are terrible when it comes to day-to-day living, they have inspired some memorable music videos.
This video is one of the many Chemical Brothers videos to have been directed by Nick Goffey and Dominic Hawley (better known as Dom & Nic). According to the imdb, the cinematographer was Simon Chaudoir, who is credited with not only several other music videos but also with working on two episodes of the British spy series, Spooks. Here in the States, Spooks was known as MI-5. I watched a few episodes when it aired over here. It was a stylish show but I quickly learned not to get too attached to any of the characters.
How do I know that 2019 is going to be a good year?
Because The Chemical Brothers have got a new album coming out! No Geography, their 9th studio album, is set to be released this spring. Today, they released a video for a new song called MAH. What does MAH stand for? Mad as Hell, of course! As for the video, it was shot at a recent show at London’s Alexandra Palace.
Today’s music video of the day is the video for the 2nd track off of The Chemical Brothers’s Further. Things pick up exactly where Snow ended, with the woman swimming under water. (The woman is played by Jenny Godding when she’s swimming and by Romola Garai when she’s not.) When the woman emerges from the water, she is treated to a light show that should be familiar to anyone who has been lucky enough to see The Chemical Brothers perform live.
I know, I know. This is the type of music that drives some people crazy. I happen to love it. It’s all about the way it makes you feel and it makes me feel like dancing.
As I sit here writing up today’s music video of the day, the temperature outside is plunging. When I woke up this morning, it was 40 degrees outside. Tonight, it’s 33 degrees and getting colder. This weather may not be good for my asthma but at least it finally feels like Christmas around here! Best of all, it might snow tonight. My plan is not to sleep tonight. Instead, I’m going to sit in front of a window, write, and look for snow.
Living in Texas, I’m lucky if I get to see snow twice in one year. It snowed back in January. Didn’t last for long. It looked something like this:
Photograph taken on January 8th, 2017 by Erin Nicole. This is what we consider to be a lot of snow in Texas. Stop laughing at us, Canada.
Anyway, Snow is not only what’s on my mind but it’s also the title of today’s music video of the day! Snow was the first track off of The Chemical Brothers’ seventh studio album, Further. All 8 of the tracks featured a video directed by Adam Smith and Marcus Lyall. Snow‘s dreamlike video features Jenny Godding swimming. Intentionally or not, it reminds me a good deal of Irene Miracle’s surrealistic swim in Dario Argento’s Inferno.
Jenny Godding is also featured on the cover of Further.
Today’s music video of the day is a personal favorite of mine. Then again, just about anything that involves The Chemical Brothers is a favorite of mine.
What is the video for The Test about? That’s a question that I’ve heard asked by several and I’ve read many different interpretations. Some people are convinced that the video is meant to be a recreation of an acid trip, which is certainly a valid if rather simplistic interpretation. Myself, I like to think that this video means whatever you, as an individual viewer, choose to believe it means. Any didactic interpretation, I think, misses the point.
Myself, I will say that the start of the video remind me of Irene Miracle’s iconic dive into the flooded basement in Dario Argento’s Inferno. (To a lesser extent, it also reminds me of the scene in which Asia Argento falls into a painting in The Stendhal Syndrome.) Once the action moves to the beach, the video puts me in the mind of one of Jean Rollin’s cinematic dreams.
The Golden Path is one of my favorite songs of all time.
I’ve been listening to it a lot this weekend, while thinking about friends and loved ones who left this world far too early. On a normal day, the combination of Wayne Coyne’s sincere delivery of “How and why did I die?” and the song’s closing chorus of “Please forgive me, I never meant to hurt you!” makes me emotional. This weekend, it’s literally brought tears to my eyes.
(Interestingly enough, in an interview with the Guardian, Coyne said the following about recording the vocals for The Golden Path: “We recorded our part very quickly, almost flippantly, like we’d get a second chance. Then Tom and Ed left a message within 20 minutes of receiving the tape. You could hear them jumping up and down in the background, shouting ‘We’re ecstatic.'”)
As for the video, it’s actually pretty simple. An office drone fantasizes of a colorful world beyond his gray existence. The dreamer is played by Fran Kranz, who you might recognize as the stoner from The Cabin In The Woods. This video was the first to be directed by Chris Milk.
This music video features digitally enhanced footage from a 1980 film called 2 Champions of Shaolin. According to Wikipedia, here’s what the video’s director, Joseph Kahn, had to say about it:
“I edited this on a laptop on a plane to Chicago. I rearranged the time sequencing of the actual movie. The bad guy with the big boombox is actually a minor henchman who dies in the first 30 minutes, but in my visual remix he’s the ultimate antagonist. The lip syncing was motion captured, then applied to 3D models of jaws. I didn’t know 100% if the technology was achievable with the time and money, nor did I know if we could actually get rights to a Chinese kung fu flick. It was a risky venture, but Carole gave me a check and then left me alone. She had some major balls.”
(And if it’s on Wikipedia, it has to be true!)
Anyway, I really love this video and the song. The only unfortunate thing is that the Get Yourself High clown doesn’t make an appearance. Who is the Get Yourself High Clown? If you’ve seen The Chemical Brothers live, there’s a good chance you’ve seen him. Check him out in this footage from their 2007 performance at Glastonbury: