Monday, January 28, 2008

Sax Rohmer #1 and other "oners"

I stopped listening to the Mountain Goats a bit ago. Maybe a year or so. It was a tough call to stop listening to a band that was, for all intents and purposes, my favorite band, but it was something I decided I had to do. John Darnielle has a way of taking the helm of the beautiful, glorious ship I call my inner psyche, and I always trust him with that position, despite the fact that occasionally the Sirens run us aground. It was those moorings on bare rocks that forced me to cut the Mountain Goats out of my music diet.

I've heard bits and pieces of the new album, but largely in a passive way that leaves me virtually impressionless, so I have nothing to say about that. However, the first Mountain Goats music video (that I'm aware of) has been produced, and that is a thing of excitement.

There is always the fear that a music video will ruin a good song, a good band even. Interpol is a sad example of a band that has made too many bad music videos despite being such a good band, and on one or two occasions a video has temporarily RUINED a song of theirs for me. But fear not, friends, because we can relish in what is an ingenious, masterful, entertaining, and ultimately true-to-the-music video.

To quote Marc Hogan of Pitchfork:

"Director Ace Norton's... impressive video for Heretic Pride opener "Sax Rohmer #1" manages to reaffirm the prominent role Darnielle's detail-packed storytelling plays in his records, while at the same time creating a visually arresting, technically deft take on the old "here's a band miming their song" format."

Well said. And while I'm fairly sure I can count at least two cuts (thereby negating what Hogan goes on to call a "one-take" video), I can't say I mind. For the first time in a while, I'm excited about the Mountain Goats. And once again, John Darnielle's shrill, semi-sweet voice trills in my head words that manage to stand strong underneath the huge emotional fervor that they bear. Mark another tick on the board; In My Opinion, this video is sensational.

Other recent "one-take" videos of note by Feist, which also seem to capture the magic and passion of the songs and the voice of the woman singing them. Note the diegetic sound in the beginnings of each, as well as the diegetic clapping sounds in the first two:

I feel it all
1, 2, 3, 4
My Moon My Man

Other "oners" that have been 'coptered before and deserve another look:

RJD2 - Work it Out
Bat for Lashes - What's a Girl to Do

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