Saturday, April 13, 2013

Neo Fantasy Music

Still from Woodkid's video Run Boy Run

After decades of music videos in which musicians stare directly into the camera, lip synching to their songs, and dancing about in bizarre wardrobes or their own clothing line, we have finally begun to move toward what I would like to refer to as neo-fantastical popular narrative, resulting from a productive integration of visual and auditory vocabulary. I find that the new music and short films envisioned by Woodkid is an exceptionally well done example of this phenomena. 

Still from Woodkid's video Iron
Please don't get me wrong- I adore so many music videos that are a simple, straightforward films of the musicians in the act of making music. In fact, most of my favorite musicians' videos depict them performing their hearts out, allowing the expression of the music itself to be all the visual narrative necessary to convey the poetry of their sound.

But I am fascinated by what Woodkid (alias of Yoann Lemoine--French-born musician, graphic-designer, and video director) is accomplishing with the unison of visual and musical narrative. He makes use of many symbols that have recently become integrated into the pop-vernacular, namely wild animals, feathers and fur, and geometric angles. These symbols have risen to prominence thanks to the hipster aesthetic, which has recently appropriated and re-narrativized americana imagery. The way in which the Woodkid videos compile and set into motion these images seems to create a fantastical world with a defined black-and-grey sensibility.

Still from Woodkid's video Iron
What is appealing about this world is that it is the site of an epic struggle-- not necessarily between Good and Evil, but rather between youth and mortality. The violence of living in the world is enacted often through the perspective of a child and his resistance to the unstoppable arrival of the age of reason. Other times, a man appears to be in a foreign land where, regardless of the fact that he does not speak the same language as its inhabitants, music bridges the gap between the land's urbanity and the abyss of nature.

Still from Woodkid's video I Love You
I would love to know what you think about these videos, and if you know of any other artist creating synchronized visual/musical ex nihilo in this way. Here are the three videos I refer to in the post (I hope you enjoy them as much as I have!): 

Until next time, fair petticoat rustlers!! 


  1. Oh my goodness...these are astonishing films and odd little narratives of their own that allude to so many tropes of traditional epics, rites of passage, fairy tale imagery. Thank you for this post!