Away from the completely unremarkable promos that usually dominate the MTV Video Music Awards, there were a plethora of inventive, visually stunning and clever music videos from the dance/electronica world that deserved recognition in 2012. Here’s a look at five of the best.
Grimes – “Oblivion”
Canadian pixie Grimes’ debut album, Visions, was a touch too shapeless to be anything other than a cult hit, but Emily Kai Bock’s hazy cinematic accompaniment to its most obvious single, “Oblivion,” managed to encapsulate Claire Boucher’s charms in just 4.17 minutes. Her kittenish dream-pop sound might not be the most obvious fit for such macho settings as a football stadium and a motocross race, but as she performs the track amongst the crowds, it’s clear that the army of shirtless jocks don’t care.
Kindness – “Gee Up”
Electro-funk producer Kindness, aka Adam Bainbridge, bewildered everyone with this send-up of the whole video shoot process that was twice as long as the actual track. Beginning with some grainy footage of a band that looks like it was recorded on cheap cable TV in the early 90s, the promo then pans out to reveal that the musicians are in fact performing on a big-budget set in front of an irate French director and several hipster label executives.
Tanlines – “All Of Me”
In another video partly mocked up to look like it’s been dug up from a bygone era, Brooklyn duo Tanlines are seen performing on an 80s-set TV show whilst a group of aging Cold War spies forget about their top-secret work and instead begin to dance in a zombie-like fashion in a dingy working man’s club. As surreal as anything featured in director Julian Barrett’s The Mighty Boosh.
Purity Ring – “Lofticries”
A late contender for video of the year, the gorgeous witchy house of Purity Ring’s “Lofticries” is complemented by A.G. Rojas’ series of vivid and often chilling images stitched together through the eyes of various protagonists. Touching upon themes of death, abuse and loss, it’s a tough watch but one that requires repeated viewings to gain its full effects.
Flying Lotus – “Until The Quiet Comes”
Featuring snippets of three tracks (“See Thru To U,” “Hunger,” “Getting There”) from avant-garde producer Flying Lotus’ fourth album, Until The Quiet Comes, this Kahlil Joseph-directed promo is a beautifully shot short film which is as emotive as it is abstract. An interpretive dance scene in the middle of a downtown city is captivating, but it’s the footage of a young boy getting shot and a man slowly drowning that will stay long in the memory.