Friday, February 1, 2013

Gotye's Amazing Animated Music Videos

On August 29th 2012 my good friend Mr. Johnson and I saw Gotye live in Calgary. It was a good and unique show I really learned to appreciate the direction of Gotye’s music. The man uses a variety of percussion instruments and uses such sounds as the primary building blocks of his music; it really showed that he was a drummer in another band. Also on an unimportant side note, it was the first time I had ever been anywhere in Calgary where women outnumbered men. 

One of the first songs Gotye played was “Easy Way Out.” The performance was accompanied by an animated video of a man running and quick shots of flash backs involving some kind of alien bug performing tests on this said running man. The colors were all red and black and it was a charming visual aid to a short and sweet song.

Easy Way Out

Truth be told, I was not a big fan of the song “State of the Art” going into the concert, however Gotye’s live performance was enough to change my mind on the matter. Like so many other Gotye songs “State of the Art” is built around the rhythm, but live, wow, the bass in “State of the Art” live shakes you, literally. In addition I had never seen the animated music video belonging to “State of the Art.” A family is overcome, consumed and transformed by their new high tech musical devise the “Cotillion,” which is not a real thing... I think.

State of the Art

Things took a turn for the strange with the song “Seven Hour Backseat Driver.” Having never seen this video or even heard the song before I was in for a bit of a surprise. The song is an instrumental but judging from the video it is a song about sexual frustration and acceptance. An elephant is functioning as a car hire for a black bird when they enter a shady part of town where she sees too much. There is a barrage of implied sexual imagery and needless to say I was not expecting this. However I was entertained.

Seven Hour Backseat Driver

“Dig Your Own Hole” is the bonus track from “Making Mirrors.” As a consequence I had never heard the song before. This is the video that made me want to compile all of Gotye’s animated videos and say something about it. I really like this video of black and green. A film noir, drug induced space train adventure. The individual motions of animation and the still images in this video are in theory simple production, but the creative process is heavy. It is charming the simple and realistic way the cigarette moves in the shadowy figures mouth, and the way it burns green and stands out draws our attention to it. The conflict as strange and confusing as it is, is strongly felt; this man is trying very hard to avoid that... head thing? The running animation with the perspective spinning creates a feeling of chaos, and also inescapability. It is a really good video, my favorite... well second favourite.

Dig Your Own Hole
There were a few songs I was hoping to hear when I went to see Gotye. It was safe to assume he would play “Somebody I used to Know” so I held little suspense surrounding that song. The song I had my figures crossed for was “Bronte.” I love the song “Bronte” and part of the reason is the fantastic animated video it has. A song that is essentially about the loss of a pet, the mystic wilder beast in the video add that level of child like magic that the song is trying to provoke. There is a touch of “Princess Mononoke” here.


So here we have five delightful animated music videos from one musical artist. How many musician produce this many music videos that are fully animated? Other than Daft Punk or Gorillaz? I like the art direction in all five of these videos. I know they are using flash a lot here, I do not know if that matters to anyone, but flash is the tool of amateur animators, take a trip to newgrounds - if you do not believe me. There are so many videos there that are very well crafted and are the hard work of amateurs. What does this about Gotye? I believe he is given some struggling animators a chance to shine by letting them create his music videos. And to that I say, good work.

Inviting additional artistic talent and direction from additional mediums of art is the perfect way to enrich everyone’s creativity, for imagination feeds off of itself. I think Gotye is probably a hell of a great guy; he has found work for his colleagues in a different field of creativity and has simultaneously benefited from it by gaining such unique music videos.

If you thought Gotye was a one hit wonder with “Somebody I Used to Know” I have to strongly disagree. There is a lot of good stuff going on here, and in every possible direction.


I will always be partial to the “Dig Your Own Hole” video. I first saw it in concert with my good friend Mr. Johnson and we have a running joke about a space train who sells drugs and works as a DJ (long story), and this video had a train, seemingly in space, and seemingly with drug inspired imagery. What are the odds of all of that coming together on the night of August 29, 2012? Good times.

1 comment:

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