January 22, 2002
6:58 AM   Subscribe

The new Chemical Brothers video by Michel Gondry is absolutely brilliant. At first sight, it appears to be a 4 minute clip of a train ride. On closer inspection though, you might notice the objects flying past are far from random.....
Sorry dial up MeFites, you'll almost certainly need a fast connection to see why this video is so amazing.
posted by davehat (36 comments total)
FYI: Video options are Real or Windows Media (bleh)
posted by joemaller at 7:18 AM on January 22, 2002

I have a fairly fast connection, cable, but it still needs to buffer along every once in a while, so I just switched to the low quality. Interesting video, though nothing really brilliant and the music is pretty borring and predictible. The sort of stuff you thought you've heard in 1995 or something.
posted by tiaka at 7:24 AM on January 22, 2002

I'd have to agree with davehat, the timing of the images to the music, while not unique, is pretty cool.
posted by cowboy at 7:35 AM on January 22, 2002

Wow.. Hate the song, but the video is amazing. If somebody told me that very little of that was CG I would be even more amazed. I will be passing this one around.

Makes me want to slow it down and see how deep the representation of the music goes. Maybe compare it side by side with a graph or something. Videos as math homework.
posted by Hildago at 7:35 AM on January 22, 2002

As long as we're pointing out interesting videos, you might also want to take a look at the new Liz Phair video. It was made entirely from still images that are manipulated to give an almost ghostly sense of movement. It's very interesting, and this story from TechTV describes the making of it.
posted by willnot at 8:00 AM on January 22, 2002

I haven't got the new Chemical Brothers album yet, but from the few songs I've heard of it so far, it seems they're really just treading water. 'Starguitar' is okay, but not as innovative as 'Block Rocking Beats' was in its time.

I might be wrong, but I'm starting to think that Basement Jaxx has picked up the baton that the Chemical Bros have dropped.. I mean, ''Where's Your Head At'' is pretty innovative, and could easily have been a Chem Bros song.
posted by wackybrit at 8:15 AM on January 22, 2002

I dunno, I've been playing Star Guitar over and over for weeks. It's so happy.

I don't think they're treading water, I think it's just a change in direction. A lot of the electronic artists with 2 or 3 albums under their belt (under the same pseudonymn, at least) do the same thing.

Oh yeah, neat video.
posted by SiW at 8:20 AM on January 22, 2002

mmm, got distracted before I finished my thought and posted to soon.

I wanted to say that the video reminded me very much of Vib Ribbon, a wonderful game that they never released in the US. There's hope for Vib Ribbon 2 though..
posted by SiW at 8:24 AM on January 22, 2002

Fun video. It vaguely reminds me of Prince's clip to "Sign o' the Times," which used to be my all-time fave. It's just words crawling by and different colored frames blinking to the beat. Then again, you could always download more winamp plugins and do it yourself.
posted by muckster at 8:49 AM on January 22, 2002

I think the Aphex Twin Windowlicker video is pretty awesome.
posted by wfrgms at 9:03 AM on January 22, 2002

Michel Gondry also directed what I have long considered to be the greatest music video ever made, Cibo Matto's "Sugar Water". (Skip the commentary and just click the MOV link on the right.) You might need to watch it a couple of times to figure out what's going on.
posted by jjg at 9:24 AM on January 22, 2002

grr, that TechTV article doesn't really say *anything* about how they made it at all, willnot. I want to know how they got parallax effects out of a still image! My guess would be that they just "faked" (yeah rubber stamp tool!) any parts of the background layers hidden in the original, but that's not very elegant and I was hoping for some cool tricks.

But that article just basically says "They used these two normal techniques for making a music video: [1], [2]. Then they used Photoshop, After Effects, and Final Cut Pro to do the cool stuff that we're not going to explain at all."
posted by whatnotever at 9:32 AM on January 22, 2002

michel gondry, spike jonze, mike 'lovely bloke' mills have been featured on the television programme made by mirrorball (edinburgh) talking about their work. there is usually a forum, where you can meet them at the edinburgh festival.

couldn't see this stream, so cannot comment, but if his past work is anything to go by this chem bros thing is probably cool as.
posted by asok at 9:35 AM on January 22, 2002

I hardly ever watch music videos, Christopher Walken's dancing being an exception, but thank you to davehat, willnot and jjg. Neat neat stuff. Especially Sugar Water. Mind bendingly neat.
posted by Tacodog at 9:36 AM on January 22, 2002

Re: parallax effects out of a still image -- about 3 or 4 years ago a guy gave a talk for the NYU comp sci dept about getting 3-d animations/models from still images. The first thing he showed was two pictures of a bus - one taken from the side and one taken from the front. Then he basically morphed one of the pics to the other, and it looked like the camera was being rotated around the bus.

I'm not sure how one would use Photoshop et. al. to achieve this effect. I only note that Ascher has good taste in using Badtz-Maru paper for his synch script.
posted by meep at 9:54 AM on January 22, 2002

This video reminded me of a scene in 32 Short Films about Glenn Gould where Glenn is sitting in a diner, listening to everything go on around him, and the sound starts to build up a melody.
posted by bshort at 10:17 AM on January 22, 2002

Michel Gondry has become so genial in the last years, that now artists are not 'using' him for their videoclips - he is 'using' the artists.

jjg, I've seen Cibo Matto's video on Arte the other day. Any chance we watched the same program ? ;) (you'd have to be in .fr or .de for that, though)
posted by michel v at 10:49 AM on January 22, 2002

Here's the Quicktime Link for those of you not lucky enough to use the other players.

Maybe I need to see it larger? While I was impressed with the technical merits I'm in no rush to watch it again.
posted by jeremias at 10:52 AM on January 22, 2002

Sort of along the same lines of the Liz Phair video is the video "Elpe" (scroll to the bottom of the page and look for it) by Royksopp. Comprised almost entirely of images cut out of magazines and old family photos, it's a quite amazing video (to go with a great song as well). The "Poor Leno" video (also at the bottom of that page) is excellent too (ah hell, the site linked has tons of awesome videos, I wasted a good half-hour there).
posted by almostcool at 11:18 AM on January 22, 2002

Gondry also did Bjork's amazing "Bachelorette" video (though the postage-stamp-sized quicktime movie doesn't really do it justice), telling a story that gradually burrows further and further within itself.
posted by sad_otter at 11:26 AM on January 22, 2002

I've downloaded the whole Chem Bros cd off of audiogalaxy and these are the songs I would recommend - The Test, Hoops, Come with Us.

They are still ahead of the game.
posted by catatonic at 12:02 PM on January 22, 2002

Although it is relatively old (1998), Coldcut & Hextatic's 'Timber' video (Real) (Quicktime) is still one of the coolest I've seen. Made using Coldcut's own VJamm software.
posted by cashmein at 12:31 PM on January 22, 2002

Sorry, QuickTime link doesn't work. Get it here.
posted by cashmein at 12:41 PM on January 22, 2002

I've downloaded the whole Chem Bros cd off of audiogalaxy and these are the songs I would recommend...

Am I the only person who remembers the days when piracy was illegal?
posted by milnak at 12:48 PM on January 22, 2002

Am I the only person who remembers the days when piracy was illegal?

Oh please, Musicians arn't supposed to make money! They do it because they love us.
posted by fuq at 1:15 PM on January 22, 2002

That looks quite a bit like the Kentucky Cardinal route into Chicago.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 1:42 PM on January 22, 2002

you may have seen it already, but...

posted by atom128 at 3:19 PM on January 22, 2002

I've been watching Muchmusic and MTV2 day in and out to see this video. The Quicktime rendition does it no justice. You need to see it TV sized with 29.97 FPS. The timing and the fluidity of the images is the most important part of the thing.

Gondry is really, really great. The Sundance Channel used have a show called "Sonic Cinema" which was about cutting edge videos. They had a feature on him featuring Sugar Water and the Bjork vid. IMHO I think that the vid for the ChemBros's "Let Forever Be" is even more wonderful.

The sad thing is that there is no good way to see these videos and so they go to waste. They are promotions for the albums after all -- give them away! at high qualities! or at least be sure to sell them to us on DVDs. For a while usenet had tons of great vids at 320x240 30fps, which is great for this kind of thing, you can play it to good effect full screen on a good computer.

I wish that I could snag this vid at a high Q along with all his other stuff, and all the Brothers Quay videos while we're at it.
posted by n9 at 7:08 PM on January 22, 2002

Massive Attack's Protection clip is my favourite. Took me until about half way through before it clicked what was going on.
posted by Neale at 7:46 PM on January 22, 2002

Two Things;

* Sugar Water rocks. Some pathetic car company ripped off the idea for an ad that was on TV for such a short time I assume they got their arses sued.

* Someone should make a music video game for the Playstation 2 (or better, Dreamcast) based on the techniques in the Chemical Brothers video -- either using realtime 3D models or composite video footage. You'd be able to turn out some cool stuff.
posted by krisjohn at 8:49 PM on January 22, 2002

Thanks for all the great links. I dig Squarepushers Come on Selector.
posted by Niahmas at 11:42 PM on January 22, 2002

I have not played it but Rez sounds like a game that is almost a music video editor. Interview with designer.
posted by atom71 at 12:04 AM on January 23, 2002

Nearly all of Bjork's videos qualify as tiny works of genius, but her latest Pagan Poetry is one of her most gripping and provocative. (Warning: nudity and piercing, perhaps not for the faint of heart.)

She has said that this video is simply about the love of a woman for a man.
posted by brittney at 9:44 AM on January 23, 2002

I love the video, but I'd really like to check it in full technicolor glory on my new TV...does anyone know if this one is in regular rotation on MTV2 or MuchMusic?
posted by senorbunch at 10:13 AM on January 23, 2002

senorbunch: I don't think its an "A" list video anywhere at the moment, I caught it late night on MTV europe over the weekend along with a short interview with the Chemical Brothers about it.

I'm not sure how many times people here watched the video, but the thing that absolutely blew me away was when the train passes through the station and each word of the chorus is represented by exactly the same person in exactly the same position.

There are loads more touches that seem to crop up on repeat viewing, note sequences represented by chimney heights, filter effects represented by lighting changes...

...all I can say is, turning on MTV whilst totally trolleyed at around 3am over the weekend was actually rewarding for once! There was another good video shown before the Chemicals' that had some rather good motion capture on it. I think it was by Trevor Jackson (Playgroup), but I can't for the life of me find the darn thing on this interweb thingumee.
posted by davehat at 2:06 PM on January 23, 2002

Gondry's an amazing, imaginative director. Love his stuff. He's got a film (to be released here soon, I think) called Human Nature which was written by Charlie Kaufman, he of Being John Malkovich fame (which was, incidentally, directed by Spike Jonze, another super-talented video director).

As an aside, I wish more sites would use Quicktime Streaming video as opposed to Real or MS's offerings; I've never had issues with buffering or "smoothness" of the playback with QT Streaming, whereas with the other two, invariably anything higher than low-quality causes problems.
posted by Big Fat Tycoon at 10:22 AM on January 26, 2002

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