Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Music Video Review: The Sound of Violence

How does a music video review differ from a song review? A song review is where I review a song (obviously) and vaguely touch base on its video. With a music video review, I review the visual aspect - dancers, choice of actors, costumes, visual effects, locations, etc. - and only mention the song in how it relates to the video.

For the first video review, we're going to check out an old favorite of mine - "The Sound of Violence" by Cassius. This single was released in 2002, and it's the only single by Cassius to reach the top spot on the American dance charts.

The video takes us on a fast paced journey, running through a landscape similar to that of Earth, but with obvious differences that become more apparent the further you get into the video - first the colored patterns in the grass, a sun that sits in the earth like a luminescent half-sphere, two dimensional jagged trees, floating lands, and eventually a total twist on our perception of the world.

The visuals are quite stunning when seen in HD and it really gets your blood pumping. The vibrant colors and the complete and utter distortion of reality (2:15 and forward) is simply breathtaking. Directors "Alex & Martin" play with shapes (both geometric and organic), color schemes, and motion that counters the ever-forward movement to create an environment both thrilling and aesthetically pleasing.  The entire video was created using a brilliant combination of rotoscoping, stop animation, and CGI. When paired with the fusion of funky 70s vibes and modern house music of the actual song, this video really rounds out quite well and takes you out of the safety of the world you know and thrusts you into an exciting adventure.

The most unsatisfying element (at least for someone like me) would be the complete 90 degree turn at 1:43. That sweeping motion and the turn from traveling straight forward to sideways really gets me and is the hardest part for me to watch. Luckily, the momentum is quickly rebuilt and the journey continues smoothly.

My biggest problem with the visuals would be the diagonal white lines of what appears to be beams of light that manifest at 1:14. Are they simply lines, used to contrast and break up the dark scenery? Or are they supposed to be moonbeams? They look like moonbeams more than anything, and this is what most people assume them to be; however, they are coming at a downward angle from the left. This is impossible for a moon that is completely in front of you at a different angle in the sky.

The favorite part? Watching the sky take three dimensional shape in the form of layered cubes (which can be seen in the video thumbnail below), then soaring through a vividly colored concourse of squares and rectangles. There's just something so satisfying about all those sharp angles, neatly flowing together, yet completely separate and pell-mell.

Over all, the pros far outweigh the cons; it's pleasing to watch, drawing on the subconscious pleasures of the mind. It's fast paced, it's fun, and pretty impressive for the methods used in its creation.

Still not convinced? Check it out for yourself:

Ninja Fish thinks this is great music to... contemplate reality with.
Rating: ★ 

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