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Wien | 8.10.2008 | 17:23 
Please don't put your life in the hands
of a rock 'n' roll band

Farkas, Christianlehner, Ondrusova

White Magic
  Strobe lights, dia de los muertos stylings and symbolism galore from Beck, The Walkmen, !!! and more in this week's Small Screen Stories.
The Walkmen
  I've been a fan of The Walkmen since their first record came out. Eventhough critics argue that they haven't changed their sound since then, it's just that which keeps me coming back for more. There's something about that wail and the mumbled lyrics that keeps me intrigued. Unfortunately, The Walkmen have always been a bit camera shy. But luckily, they made it their resolution to make a video for 'In the New Year' - and since Walkmen's songs to me are always slightly ominous, discomforting and textually historically relevant, their choices seem quite fitting. Here, at least three layers of film are shown at the same time - do you think the old footage really is old or is it reenacted? Industrial glamour meets el dia de los muertes, Dorian Gray meets Nosferatu, it's all got a hint of mystery to it.
Desolation Wilderness
  The beginning of this video reminds me of The Blair Witch Project or one of those grainy films of a Big Foot sighting. Then we switch to one of the simplest yet most effective tricks in the book - strobe lights. Combined with the beautiful slow shuffle of the music and the nature images, it really creates compelling atmosphere. Not much happens, but this whole druggy nature vibe gives me the feeling of having been cast under a spell. I want to watch the tall grass sway in the wind, see if I can find a face in the clouds and listen to this over, and over again.
  This amazing piece of art reminds me a little bit of LSD movies from the 60s. The kind where they show you "this is your brain on drugs" and it's people freaking out because everything is patterns and swirls. Heavily inspired by the 60s, Beck cites Man Ray as much as he does Dadaism. The cameo of Mercedes Helnwein (yup, our native daughter) as a Dolly Parton-esque akwardly posed model is just fantastic. If anyone would like to help me keep an eye out for her wig on ebay, I'd be much obliged. I love this because you can watch it tons of times and still find new stuff. Was that a straitjacket or just a white shirt? Hmm ...
White Lies
  Things are slightly of kilter here was well. A very sad and forlorn looking lady gets left out in the cold in an outfit meant for either a wedding or a funeral. She ends up crying black tears (nice touch visually but really kind of gross) and the styling reminds me very much of the work of Yelena Yemchuck, Billy Corgan's one time muse. Especially when the sad girl starts wandering around her desolate surroundings, I think of the 'Adore' cover come to life. I don't understand the ending but it is either: a) White Lies's beautiful music saves her or b) it was all an illusion and she disappears into a cracked mirror.

  My favourite video relating to the broad, broad field of white magic and mysticism is the one by !!! for 'Must be the moon'. It depicts what would happen if a seance turned into a wild, debaucherous party or vice versa. This summer, I stayed with the set designer for this video and got to sleep surrounded by a lot of the artifacts that can be seen here. That was a cool and sobering experience, but at least I didn't find the wolf head next to my pillow. She also told me that they shot this in a historic house in upstate New York and that they had to import and export all their debaucherous necessities for one night only. I think one viewing and you can tell this truly was a bacchanal with a few tarot card thrown in.
  Meanwhile, in a galaxy far, far away, this creative crime was committed. You may be in the midst of a black hole, ladies, but you will still find time to put on your make-up. That truly is magic!
fm4 links
  Small Screen Stories
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