The Big Organ and Other Nightmares
December 11, 2011 3:51 PM   Subscribe

The cautionary tale of the shiny new device that's smarter than its users and ends up taking over is pretty much cliché... but it took Australian pop musicker Gotye (prounced like Gaultier, if that helps) to apply it to a Lowrey Organ (the Cotillion D575, a vintage model he acquired for $100 and uses both in his recordings and concerts). Add retro-style animation, and you have something scary yet whimsical and truly "State of the Art".

Wouter "Wally" De Backer, aka Gotye, has other music videos, mostly animated and often improving on his music (IMO), including...

"Bronte", a tale of great, furry kawaii beasts and growing up (or not)...

"Learnalilgivinanlovin", dreaming and flying, as happy and light as 'Bronte' is melancholy and dark...

"Thanks for Your Time" using cut-out animation and telephone samples to humorously depict Customer Service Hell...

"Somebody That I Used to Know", his biggest hit so far, a duet with Aussie songstress Kimbra using some Peter-Gabriel-'Sledgehammer'-inspired animated body painting (semi-NSFW)...

Recurring themes:
Long-legged robotic thingies marching through wastelands in "Hearts a Mess" and "Eyes Wide Open"...
Victims of Alien Experimentation in "Coming Back" and "Easy Way Out"...

and the newest release, "Don't Worry, We'll Be Watching You", featuring, well, Dancing Druids?
posted by oneswellfoop (19 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
What the world needs now is a Cyriak - Gotye double-bill.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 4:14 PM on December 11, 2011 [3 favorites]

And some kind of digital radio killfile, which seamlessly replaces "Somebody That I Used to Know" with other random songs of the exact same length.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:25 PM on December 11, 2011

posted by gallois at 4:25 PM on December 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

Australian pop musicker Gotye

In Belgium, them's fighting words :)
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 4:36 PM on December 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you're suffering from "Somebody That I Used To Know" overkill, try any of the 4 preceding videos for an ear-cleanse. Here in Californium, USofA, he's new to us (just made a first live appearance at LA radio legend KCRW), but I can understand how that song in particular can wear on you... or just try "Easy Way Out" which cuts short at 2 minutes leaving you (a) wanting more or (b) confused.
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:45 PM on December 11, 2011

Here's the KCRW performance, BTW.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 4:51 PM on December 11, 2011 [2 favorites]

Aussie songstress Kimbra

Where "Aussie" means "New Zealand".

(Ah... the classic disgruntled NZer response).
posted by John Shaft at 5:11 PM on December 11, 2011 [3 favorites]

Whoah, that was way cool.
posted by Malor at 5:21 PM on December 11, 2011

I've never heard of this guy or any of his music, and I have to say I haven't been this excited about a new discovery in a while. See America? This is what pop can be!
posted by cmoj at 5:36 PM on December 11, 2011

That State of the Art video is awesome. I've never heard of this guy and I'm glad I have now.
posted by immlass at 6:08 PM on December 11, 2011

Sorry, all I knew about Kimbra is she had a big hit record in Australia before Gotye, and was negotiating a record deal in the US. I went wading into the strange pop-cultural waters Down Under (Australian Music? I'm still digging Colin Hay.) and am rather relieved I didn't make more errors.

Having stumbled onto "State of the Art" BEFORE "Someone", I may have been at an unfair advantage.

But I resolve passing a law requiring every business to make "Thanks for Your Time" its music-on-hold... in the name of Truth in Labeling.
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:13 PM on December 11, 2011

Hooray for Gotye!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:02 PM on December 11, 2011

For some reason that Somebody That I used to know reminds me of that Vegimite Sandwich song. Is that a common motif in Australian pop songs?
posted by delmoi at 7:02 PM on December 11, 2011

what is going on here
posted by delmoi at 7:34 PM on December 11, 2011!?!?
posted by zomg at 8:59 PM on December 11, 2011 [2 favorites]

I was wondering when somebody would mention that, zomg. You can't possibly believe Mr. De Backer didn't notice...

BTW, while researching the Lowrey Cotillion, I learned that the 'synthesizer' parts in The Who's "Baba O'Riley" and "Won't Get Fooled Again" were actually made on a Lowrey not-really-a-sythesizer organ. So they synthesized the synthesizer. (removes sunglasses, Daltrey screams.)

"these amazing simulations end up sounding even better than the real thing"
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:29 PM on December 11, 2011

Some fascinating behind-the-scenes stuff is revealed in this short "making-of" film, including some footage of the Cotillion, and a peek at how he created the vocal effect on "State of the Art."

And here's another one specifically about the song "Eyes Wide Open." Musical fence!
posted by anthom at 3:42 AM on December 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

Kimbra is just so wonderful. They both pour their heart into the music. Da Becker really reminds me of Michael Hutchence, his voice, his appearance. And that makes me sad.
posted by Xoebe at 9:50 AM on December 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

Wait, foop. I thought Townshend used a VCS3 for that album.
To the Internets!!!!

... ok Baba O'Riley used the Lowrey, but Won't Get Fooled Again used the VCS3 *and* the Lowrey. Wow. I didn't know that.
posted by zomg at 11:19 AM on December 12, 2011

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