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posted on 12.31.09

Aaah…the holidays. First you’re panicking over presents (I’m pretty sure I’ve missed a few names!), then panicking about how many leftovers you’re going to have to eat over the next few months…by that time it’s too late to return the gifts you really really really didn’t like. Then, of course, a few weeks have gone by and I haven’t written a word…


Thought I’d start out by introducing a few new music videos; unfortunately, the vast majority of the work out there is so banal it’s relatively easy to pick out the truly excellent work out there.  The popular music industry is not well known for supporting imaginative, innovative and genuinely creative work. 

I discovered the videos for N.A.S.A project’s  "Spacious Thoughts," and "Ready, Able," from Grizzly Bear's 'Veckatimest' via The Guardian’s (a UK newspaper) Viral Video Chart.


N.A.S.A. project’s video was created by Fluorescent Hill, a Montreal-based graphic design duo  (Mark Lomond and Johanne Ste-Marie) whose work has appeared in film, video, commercials as well as the print medium.

N.A.S.A. (North America/South America) is a dance album featuring a wide variety of musicians (including Tom Waits, Kanye West, Lykke Li, John Frusciante of Red Hot Chili Peppers, RZA, MIA, David Byrne, George Clinton, Ghostface Killah, and others), and is a conscious effort by N.A.S.A. to show how people can be brought together by music and art. There is a muscular edginess to the video, with enough visual ambiguity to soften the unsettled nature of the images.


On the opposite side of the spectrum, Allison Schulnik’s clay images in Grizzly Bear’s video consistently display softness, pliability and vulnerability in their ‘broken up/broken down’ style of motion. 

Grizzly Bear is an American indie rock band formed in the early 2000s, whose sound has been described as psychedelic, folksy and experimental. Vekitimest, their latest album (2008), features “Ready, Able” and includes choral and string quartet arrangements by the composer Nico Muhly. 

Allison Schulnik graduated with a BFA in experimental animation from CalArts in Valencia, California, and has exhibited worldwide.  For "Ready, Able", she created malleable claymation forms (‘Things’) that are at once both poignant and sad as well as being otherworldly and rather scary.


Although both these videos employ radically different vocal styles/genres and visual imagery, the intuitive and perceptive tailorinig of visuals and audio work together to create genuine works of beauty.




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