Above & Beyond
In our Video Surveillance series, we comb through hours of footage to gather the most eye-catching visuals and unique storylines and bring you the best music videos of the month. Happy watching.
10. Ghastly & Mija ft. Lil Jon “Crank It”
For Ghastly & Mija’s hyperactive team-up “Crank It,” the mundane gets a little extraterrestrial, thanks to director Nick Roney. The OWSLA club-heated “Crank It” gets a special-effects overload with lasers, X-rays, celestial visitors, and a little freaky, interplanetary loving. Ghastly and Mija step up for the role of our favorite alien abductees turned badass space invaders, and the rest plays out like some based-up version of Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
9. Tommy Trash & Wax Motif “HEX” (Deconstructed)
We’ve all been there: that awkward moment when someone disses electronic music as nothing more than robot chants and a lack of true musicianship. Well, Tommy Trash and Wax Motif’s video for “HEX” (Deconstructed) dispels that argument in a mere four minutes. The hyphy club jam is transformed into a classical masterpiece that sees a Beethoven-channeling Trash caressing the piano keys like a seasoned maestro, all while backed up by a full string ensemble. The breathtaking piece is a testament to Trash’s extraordinary musical talents, as well as the universal appeal electronic music is capable of possessing. Whoever said EDM was just about button-pushing DJs must not be familiar with Tommy Trash.
8. Todd Terje “Alfonso Muskedunder”
Iconic producer Todd Terje is about as well-known for his easily identifiable sound as he is for his fluid branding. Continuing his cartoonish motif, Terje enlists his signature artist Bendik Kaltenborn to partner with director Espen Friberg and create a full-length animated video for “Alfonso Muskedunder.” For those familiar with the look of Todd Terje’s album art, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find a full-length feature using this same playful style. The result is a mirage of run-on illustrations that piece together a journey into illustrator Kaltenborn’s marvelously creative mind.
7. Jupiter “Do It”
Disco pop duo Jupiter bring their chic French flavor to the small screen thanks to their upbeat production, “Do It.” With a sound that falls somewhere between Dragonette and Yelle, Jupiter’s bouncy synth-pop provides the perfect score for a short production from film visionary Constance Maillet. Reminding us of an eccentric Wes Anderson film, Maillet uses her vast knowledge of cinematic elements to create a powerful visual aesthetic packed with smoky lighting, synched-up color palettes, and over-the-top props as the couple jokingly role-plays. Though it’s light and fun, Maillet’s attention to detail and style within her work transforms “Do It” from a light pop anthem to a serious work of art.
6. Kaskade “Never Sleep Alone”
Ever wonder what goes through the mind of Kaskade once he hangs up the headphones for the night? Take a journey into dreamland with the legendary producer in his new music video for “Never Sleep Alone.” Watch as an angelic-looking Kaskade sleeps steadfastly as he floats through the corners of his own mind. We see the inner depths of Kaskade’s psyche as he embarks on a journey that takes him from bikini babes to roaming stallions to car make-out sessions to marching bands, and finally to police riots. Seems like dude’s got quite the active imagination.
5. Above & Beyond ft. Zoë Johnston “Peace of Mind”
Playing on one of our favorite tales of love in the modern age, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, director Kenlon Clark gets us all feely thanks to his visual rendition for Above & Beyond’s “Peace of Mind.” Clark channels the 2004 film in every way possible, from the set and wardrobe all the way down to the props and plot. This homage to the work of Michel Gondry represents quite a perfect circle of the French director’s career; before he was spinning movies on the big screen, Gondry was bringing some of electronic music’s most-beloved hits to life—like Daft Punk’s “Around the World” and the Chemical Brothers’ recently released “Go.”
4. SBCR (aka the Bloody Beetroots) “The Grid”
From the opening image that warns “This video may cause seizures,” we knew we were in for a wild ride. “The Grid” launches Sir Bob’s new musical project SBCR in quite an eye-catching way, thanks to director James Chappell. The track’s mind-melting electro is synched up with the visual of a meathead brawl-out that we’d expect the track to trigger on the dancefloor. If anyone was born to rage, it’s Chappell’s lead protagonist, the Viking-looking uber man whose twitching muscles and popping veins are nothing short of nightmarish. As he avenges his slain love, nothing seems to be able to stop him—not even being torched inside a car. The feature’s strobe visuals, breakneck pace and jaw-dropping special effects makeup make this one a feast for both the eyes and ears.
3. Samo Sound Boy “What Can I Do”
Sometimes the most powerful way to affect your audience isn’t a high-budget production over-packed with stimuli. More often, it is a simplistic window into the human psyche that doesn’t give the viewer all the answers—rather, leaving the scenes before them up to their own interpretation. For Samo Sound Boy’s “What Can I Do,” we’re hit with a powerful emotional trigger in a scene that was probably shot no more than once in less than 10 minutes. Courtesy of director Daniel Pappas, we watch a girl across the table at a Chinese restaurant as she cries under her sunglasses in the crowded eatery. The video doesn’t explain why or how, but simply viewing her sorrow is enough to pull at our core and dredge up the emotions of our own heartbreak. Packed with the track’s balmy drum progressions and repetitive vocal, it’s impossible not to be hypnotized by Pappas’ simple scene.
2. MUST DIE! ft. Tkay Maidza “Imprint”
Gang-banging and gun-slinging—just another day in the EDM lifestyle. For MUST DIE!’s “Imprint,” we get pulled into a scene straight out of Boyz n the Hood for a lethal dose of hood action. Brought to us by production company SNOW-BEACH and director Brendan Vaughan, “Imprint” is a raw trip to the streets packed with brutal fight scenes and drive-by shootings—a candid look into the block. This video is just a friendly reminder for those considering the EDM lifestyle: Trust, y’all ain’t about that life.
1. Health “New Coke”
Health’s “New Coke” tampers with industrial energy and a sound so larger-than-life, it could only receive the most epic, cinematic video to tell its tale. Step into the world of “New Coke,” a gritty land stacked with club nights, smoke-filled air, too many drinks, and the inevitable, toilet-missing vomit-fest at the end of the night. Directed by John Famiglietti, the video’s visual illumination should come with a “may cause seizures” warning due to its spellbinding, flickering lights and trippy, slo-mo visuals. Famiglietti channels all the weird uncertainty of an intense club night with a video so visually and mentally stimulating, you’ll feel as if you’re about to be taken down the rabbit hole of a Wachowski film.