Something to Watch/Listen to: “Many Chances” by BRNS

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Who’s up some music-driven animation? Animator Nicholas Fong has directed a music video for the indie band BRNS. Namely, a video set to “Many Chances”, a single from the band’s first LP, Patine.

It’s a darkly-colored visual journey of an evolving creature. One that fights to survive, consume and grow. A pleasant, minimalist art style and some fluid animation makes this video shine. Take a gander at this!

Like the song? Well that LP I just named (which, again, is called Patine) was released digitally a few months ago. You can find it on iTunes here.

For more from BRNS, you can check out their Tumblr. And for more work from Nicholas Fong, you can visit his Vimeo page.

Something to Watch/Listen To: “Latin Boys”

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I, uh… I don’t know what to make of this.

This new music video comes straight out of Panda Bear’s upcoming album Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper. The video for “Boys Latin” is definitely an awesome one, combining CGI animation with a mild cel-shading technique and a watercolor-like color pallet. It’s also pretty weird, in a good way. Take a look!

Once I sit through the whole thing, it looks to me like a neat visual interpretation of finding a soul-mate and starting a family. I’ve also seen others interpret the infecting plant life as a traumatic event that one must emotionally deal with. Either way, making sense of this one requires a fair amount of interpretive thinking, and that’s pretty cool.

The music is also a joy to listen to. A hypnotic beat plays background to some wonderful synths and haunting vocals. I haven’t yet listened to much of Panda Bear or his group, Animal Collective, but this has definitely made me interested.

You can pre-order Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper on itunes here. 

Something to Watch: “Fear of Flying”

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As I said in my last post, I have been combing through the interwebs for short films based on the holiday season and winter in general. In my quest, I’ve found this fun, award-winning short film about what happens when the birds fly south for winter. It’s two years old and didn’t have enough to do with the holidays to make my “Jingle Things” series. But if you haven’t seen it already, you should definitely watch Fear of Flying.

I love this one! I love the simple-but-clever premise. I love the combination of puppetry and animation. I love the character designs and the coloring. It’s a very pretty looking piece.

If you’re looking for a little more, there’s also this brief behind-the-scenes clip below. You can also check out animator Conor Finnegan’s other work on Vimeo, here. He’s a talented guy and his work is very much worth checking out.

You can find Conor Finnegan on Tumblr, here.

Something to Listen To: “Now There is We”

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I’ve noticed lately that my musical tastes are starting to drift towards jazz sensibilities, so I’ve been looking around for cool indie music in that genre. It’s a pleasure, then, that one of the first things I’ve come across is this wonderful single from the Berlin-based group Jazzanova. “Now There Is We” is an uplifting piece with some wonderful vocals from Paul Randolph and a solid groove stringing it all together.

But instead of just sitting here telling you about it, why don’t I show you? The official music video is embedded below. Take a listen!

You can download “Now There Is We” on iTunes and Bleep. To learn more about Jazzanova, you can visit their official site.

Something to Watch: “Land”

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So here’s a cool little short film I’ve found that you can watch right now! It’s been on Vimeo for a year, and most of it was televised on [adult swim]’s series Off the Air. However, if you haven’t seen it yet, I recommend you check out Land by Masanobu Hiraoka.

I love this kind of stuff. The idea of liquid forms taking shape to become minimalist imagery is both novel in concept and brilliantly executed. It’s a fascinating piece of animation, made even more beutiful being paired up with Aimar Molero’s soothing soundtrack.

If you’re as mesmerized as I am, take a look at Hiraoka’s other works. A lot of it is in the same style, and it all makes for an enjoyable watch.

Something to Play: “Secrets of Raetikon” Review

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So I stumbled upon this one by complete accident. Digging through it’s history, I found out that it got most of it’s funding through an indiegogo campaign, and didn’t seem to receive very much attention from the video game press upon it’s release, back in January. So let’s dive in and check out Secrets of Raetikon.

Story’s pretty simple on this one. You’re a bird flying through a forest that houses what appear to be ruins of an ancient civilization. You come across a huge mechanism of some sort, and then set out to find and collect the artifacts necessary to power it.

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Gameplay-wise, it’s a side-scrolling open exploration game. Kinda like Metroid… but with more nature! Apart from collecting the main artifacts, you’ll face off against hostile predatorial animals, solve environmental puzzles, collect glowing blue things called rhinestones (I’m still not sure what they do) and collect letters of an ancient language that allow you to decipher mysterious messages hidden all over the place.

The game has a really cool look, using minimalistic artwork to assemble an endless amount of triangles into an beautiful forest. The controls are simple, but fun to play around with. And there’s an air of mystery that’s constantly tempting you to see all the world has to offer.

On the down side, It’s short, and I mean really short. You’ll beat it in two, maybe three hours. And without giving anything away plot-wise, the ending, in what I assume is an attempt to be funny, is brief, makes no sense, and is far from satisfying.

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I still like it, though. At the end of the day, it’s ten dollars for a small but unique world and a fun bird mechanic. If that sounds like a good deal to you, then look it up on Steam and hop on-board. However, if you’re just looking for a really good exploration game, you’re better off looking elsewhere.