Music videos have come a long way since MTV’s first broadcast in 1980, “Video Killed the Radio Star.” The medium has had its highs and lows over the decades, many thought that the advent of YouTube would override any previous authorities, like MTV and VH1, and wipe the matter out for good. And while in the late 00s people seemed to care less about the music video than they did about the day’s public service announcement, music videos are making a comeback. In a bold way. From Björk Digital and Beyonce’s Lemonade, to the surreal dancing dead kids in Flying Lotus’s “Never Catch Me” and Vince Staple’s 10-minute album promo ‘Prima Donna,’ artists and filmmakers are bringing the fusion of sound and sight into a new paradigm.
In November we saw a flurry of new video releases thrown into the swirling Airwaves wind. Below are some of the more recent releases. Turns out the Buggles didn’t have it quite right.
Milkywhale embody the title of ‘pop’ music. They are known for must-dance melodies and the perky, bouncing energy that they bring to their performances. Their latest video release for “Rhubarb Girl” starts out with a single long-shot of lead singer Melkorka dancing alone in a warehouse. The empty space highlights her quirky dance moves, but feels out of place knowing their party-party presence. But then we reach the hook, “into the darkness, into the darkness…” and she disappears from view into…well, the darkness. From there on out it’s rhubarb coloured lights, strobes, and the party that we all expect of Milkywhale.
Vil puts out a softer vibe with their latest video for “Vinduet.” It’s a slow-building six minutes roadtrip with an unlikely duo of deaf friends, making their way along the coast of Iceland and signing to each other in a warm attic space. For anyone who can follow Icelandic sign language, the video tells two stories.
While Vil wanders the countryside, Emmsjé Gauti brings it back to the local streets with his video “Reykjavík.” The song will get anyone hyped for a night on the town—and the video takes that notion to literal new heights. Gauti makes his way along the rooftops of Reykjavík’s most recognizable establishments—from the lowball Bæjarin’s Bestu to the peak of Gamla Bíó.
The electro-rap-trip-popsters of Cryptochrome have mesmerised us in the past with their chopped up color-cast “Crazy Little You” and their virtual reality video “Playdough” which won ‘best music video’ at northern wave film festival earlier this year, but their latest release for the track “From This Angle” scales things back in both realms of production. The video is an intimate (their “most intimate” they note on their Facebook) take on home life, a Cryptochrome home life, anyways.
Rap has long obsessed itself with keeping it real, but no group has done it quite like Úlfur Úlfur have in their latest video for “Barn.” The video, with the same director as Gauti’s “Reykjavík,” Freyr Árnason, shows the day to day sacrifices that are required of keeping up a craft. Things like eating steamed broccoli, reading and competing in the most intense chess match on Icelandic soil since Bobby Fisher was around.