Dan Deacon Has a New Video… and It’s Awesome!

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Last month, electronic composer Dan Deacon released his new album, Gliss Riffer. If you’re not already listening to this guy, you should be. His genre-blending music is as eccentric as it is passionate. His sound is experimental, glitchy and totally unique.

Oh hey, Adult Swim has a show that fits that last description! Airing at the graveyard slot of 4am is Dave Hughes’ hidden gem, Off the Air. Each episode sees Hughes editing music videos, animations, stock footage and other internet oddities into and 11-minute something-or-other revolved around the episode’s theme. Think of it like Liquid Television, but with even less context.

My excuse for cramming these two disjointed paragraphs into a single article is the latest collaboration between the two artists: a music video for Deacon’s new single “When I Was Done Dying”. It’s a 5-minute spectacle featuring the work of 9 immensely talented animators (most of whom have been featured on past Off the Air episodes), pieced together by Hughes into a single, cohesive, symbolic journey molded to Deacon’s euphonious tones and metaphysical lyrics. From the trippy CGI of Taras Hrabowsky to the fluid motion of one of my personal favorites, Masanobu Hiraoka, this thing is absolutely packed with inspired visuals. Check it out if you’re a fan of abstract animations, or if you just want to see collaboration at it’s finest.

As a little something extra, I’ll let you know that this isn’t the first time Deacon and Hughes have teamed up. Back in 2013, coinciding with Deacon’s appearance on the Adult Swim Singles Program, a special episode of Off the Air was set to Deacon’s 20-minute (!) feature, “U.S.A.”. I’d definitely say to check it out, just be aware that there’s a little bit of simulated, NSFW nudity towards the middle.

If you enjoyed these videos and want to see more, Adult Swim has an ongoing online live-stream running all of the Off the Air episodes in a loop. You can also find the music of Dan Deacon on iTunes.

Something to Watch: “HENRi” & “Atropa”

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The very nature of the independent, low-budget films that I like to talk about means that the concepts are usually pretty grounded. A lot of the more fantastical settings and stories that catch my geeky eye, such as science-fiction, fantasy, or superheroes, tend to go unexplored. It’s a wonder, then, that I’m only now finding out about the works of filmmaker Eli Sasich. It’s not often I get to talk about space-based films, so here we go!

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Let’s start off with Sasich’s latest project, a proof-of-concept short film released just a few days ago. Inspired by such sci-fi films as Alien and Blade Runner, Atropa takes a look at a detective investigating the disappearance of a research vessel. With some nice performances and a lot of really impressive effects, this is a fascinating watch.

HENRi

Consider the last video a pre-show to the feature presentation. This twenty-minute short film received it’s funding through a Kickstarter campaign back in 2010. After two years of production and a year of touring the festivals, it’s finally been released online.

HENRi uses a combination of small-scale sets, puppetry and live-action to tell the tragic but heartwarming story of a lonely robot left to ponder the meaning of human nature. Some beautiful cinematography, heartbreaking performances and a passionate score allow this film to really shine. Whether you’re a sci-fi nut like me or a philosophical enthusiast, this is a must-watch.

Click the link below to watch on Vimeo.

For those of you who still want something you can play in this post, I’ve got something extra for you. Before the release of HENRi, the short video I Dream Electric was released. Seeming to be the sort of prototype to HENRiElectric contains some of the opening fottage from the last short, and acts as a great music video for “Everything Speaks” by Diamond Rings.

When all is said and done, this is one filmmaker to keep an eye on.

For more on Eli Sasich’s work, you can visit his Vimeo page.

Something to Watch/Listen to: “All I’m Saying” Music Video

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If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you may have noticed that I’m a sucker for cool and interesting animated clips. So it’s no surprise, then, that I took a liking to this music video, which just made it onto Vimeo’s Staff Picks. The video is for the song “All I’m Saying” by alternative rock band James, and it’s skillfully animated by Péter Vácz. Take a look!

The tale of a masked man searching for the spirit of his lost love is brought to life in a wonderful way. It’s honestly been a while since I’ve seen stop-motion animation quite like this. The two characters have a cool marionette puppet look, and the video uses ordinary objects in cool ways. Tin foil representing water, light cotton strands used for fog, etc.

Oh, and the song’s really cool, too.

You can find more about the director of this video at petervacz.com, and you can check out the band behind this song at wearejames.com.

Something To Play: “Jazzpunk”

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So I’ve been looking over some of the indie stuff I’ve gotten my hands on in the months before I started this blog. I may be plunging into that archive a few times before this year is over. One particular thing that stuck out to me is a strange little game, developed independently by Necrophone Games and published to Steam by none other than the video game division of experimental comedy network [adult swim]. Welcome to the world of Jazzpunk.

Where do I even begin with this one? Well, the story (nonsensical as it is,) places you in the role of Polyblank, a secret agent running espionage missions in an alternate-reality Cold War era. But don’t be fooled. This is a absurdist comedy, first and foremost. You’ll be asked to perform completely insane tasks to achieve slightly less insane results.

Need to get into a room? Go collect a bunch of spiders in a jar and let them loose on the guard. Need to fool a security camera? Go the copy-machine, take a picture of your butt and show it to the camera. Get the idea?

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As you do these strange things, everything happening around you becomes even stranger. Suddenly, your boss’s office is becoming flooded with water and octopuses. Now you’re standing in a creepy land made of pizza. It’s best to just go with the flow.

Actually, the best thing to do (in my opinion,) is to follow the story straight through on your first go. Then, after the end credits have finished, play again and go as far off the beaten-path as possible to see what else you can do. There’s pigeons to smuggle, frogs-with-Mohawks to escort and references to other video games to find.

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Both playthroughs will only take you a couple of hours, but I think it’s worth the price of admission, anyway. It’s really funny and I don’t think you’re going to find a game with this sort of look and feel anywhere else. What else can I say? Jazzpunk is a game where you’re thrown into a weird little world and asked to go see what you can make happen. If that sounds like fun to you, then hop on board!

You can find Jazzpunk on Steam here.