Written by Jenna Dreisenstock
The medium of animation has always been, and is still misconstrued as an art form that is solely directed toward children – a tame, inoffensive and juvenile medium which was built as a learning foundation – or even seen as a distraction for youth since the birth of the art form. Perhaps with the societal misconception that animation will cradle the youth from the abject horror in our everyday realities, this skewered mindset continues to remain as many adults continue to brush off the incredible innovation and beauty animation brings to the world; not just for children, but for everyone of all ages and walks of life. Delving into the experimental, exquisite and vivid world of animation we are able to find ourselves immersed in narratives that bend, shape and mold reality as a foundation to create entirely new experiences and emotional reflections: to commentary on the world as we know it, and even to the extent of political propaganda and manipulation (shoutout to Warner Bros and Disney – you know what you did.) I could go on forever regarding the extent to which animation has been used to shape our world and just how important it is in our everyday lives whether we are conscious of it or not – but that would take a lifetime. Animation is to create the unimaginable, to portray the unpotrayable and to express a raw and experimental outlook on the ways we view life, and in this context the ways in which we engage with music.
So, we’ve put together a short list (in no particular order) of some animated music videos that we hope will change the ways in which animation is viewed, understood and experienced within the realm of infinite possibility; the ways in which we can engage with music in otherworldly, dreamlike and sometimes even horrifying narratives through visual storytelling and the ways in which these two endlessly creative art forms are inherently connected:
Dan Deacon – ‘When I Was Done Dying’ (2015)
Taken from Deacon’s 2015 album Gliss Riffer. Off The Air / Adult Swim brought together nine animators to work on each segment of this kaleidoscopic delight. (Animators: Jake Fried, Chad VanGaalen, Dimitri Stankowicz, Colin White, Taras Hrabowsky, Anthony Schepperd, Masanobu Hiraoka, Caleb Wood and KOKOFREAKBEAN)
Efterklang – ‘Mirador’ (2007)
Taken from Efterklang’s 2007 LP Parades, this stunning video was directed by Hvass&Hannibal and UFEX. Animated by Jens Christian, Høgni Larsen and Nan Na Hvass.
Caravan Palace – Lone Digger (2015)
Taken from Caravan Palace’s 2015 album <|º_º|> this aesthetically beautiful, yet slightly disturbing video was directed by Double Ninja, with animation by Jérémie Balais and Jeff le Bars. More video credits in link description.
Panda Bear – Boys Latin (2014)
Taken from Panda Bear’s 2014 album Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper, this psychedelic yet introspective video was directed by Isaiah Saxon and Sean Hellfritsch – animated by Jason Rayner, Daniel Moos, Viv Nikolich, Eran Hilleli, Avi Yeyni. More video credits in the description.
Rone – Bye Bye Macadam (2012)
Taken from Rone’s 2012 album Tohu Bohu, this bewitching, ghostly video was directed by Dimitri Stankowicz – more information in the video description.
Ólafur Arnalds – Near Light (2012)
Taken from Ólafur Arnalds’ 2012 album Living Room Songs, this tenderly lonely, lovingly isolated video was brought to us by Lam Ho Tak – more information in the description.
DyE – Fantasy (2011)
Taken from DyE’s 2011 album TAKI 183, this video is quite possibly the most disturbing and grotesque on our list, yet somehow still hauntingly immersive. Directed by Jérémie Périn.
Björk – Wanderlust (2007)
Taken from Björk’s 2007 album Volta, this hallucinatory multimedia video was directed by Encyclopedia Pictura.
Radiohead – Burn The Witch (2016)
Taken from Radiohead’s 2016 album Moon Shaped Pool, this perplexing stop-motion animation was directed by Chris Hopewell. Animators: Virpi Kettu, Louie Mc Namara, Oli Putland, Aaron Hopewell, Andrew Stewart, Rosie Lea Brind and Chris Hopewell. More information in the description.
Jon Hopkins – Emerald Rush (2018)
Taken from Jon Hopkins’ 2018 album Singularity, this brilliantly ethereal video was directed by Robert Hunter & Elliot Dear – Animation by Quentin Vien, Andrew Clarke, Campbell Hartley, Freya Hotson, Blanca Martinez, Lisa George-Gilroy, Laura Quinn. More credits and information in the description.
Animation is an outstanding, unique artform that has the potential to create endless, rich worlds and unimaginable possibilities: to bring to life concepts, images and ideas that would otherwise be impossible – to create from scratch anything the mind desires. To immerse ourselves and share each wonderful animated creation be it in film, television, gaming or animations interwoven role within the music world – perhaps we can further progress society’s outlook, saddeningly so obscured for years – to remind one and all that this incredible artform is not and never will be ‘just for kids’.