David Reviews

 Biting the hand that feeds us since 2002.

Jenny Hval
"The Great Undressing"
3 mins 45s
5 January 2017
Norway Promos

Norwegian artist Jenny Hval makes uncompromising music. Having won critical acclaim for 2016's 'Blood Bitch' which looks at the taboo subject of menstruation through the prism of popular vampire tropes, her latest track from the same album comes with a video which explores the perception of self in a fast-moving and unheeding world.

A woman is shown going about her daily routine. There's nothing remarkable about this except for one thing: she is completely naked. No-one comments, no-one even notices. Not even she appears to notice.

It's a clip which delivers more the longer you think about it. On face value it leaves us nonplussed: what is the purpose of the video? Nothing appears to be being said. Why is she naked if there is no reaction or consequence? Is this just gratuitous nudity, designed with a cynical eye to bring attention to the director?

Even asking these questions compels us to examine the clip more closely. And as we watch it again, other thoughts occur to us while Hval's voice sings and whispers in our ears, comparing unrequited love to capitalism in its relentless, insatiable search for more, now, always.

It's not news that the female form is objectified, or that naturists are routinely mocked for the oddly provocative act of being nude without being sexual. So the combination of the two - an attractive woman, a mundane situation - isn't in itself groundbreaking stuff.

But it does hold up to the light to our notions of what constitutes our public and private personae. Whether or not we are conventionally attractive, socially adept, and intellectually competent, we are all just a layer of fabric away from exposure. We are naked apes after all; our garments both hiding and revealing facts about ourselves.

To see a woman - whose looks one assumes would help her glide smoothly through life - depicted in this manner prompts us to imagine ourselves in the same scenario. She is inviolate and vulnerable simultaneously... how would we fare in her position? Specifically, how would any woman fare? Automatically comparisons will be made. Does her lack of physical flaws leave her more open to criticism and ridicule or less so? Or, on the other hand, is her shape simply irrelevant here? What exactly does it mean to be female flesh and blood living in the maw of the rapacious machine that is contemporary Western culture?

Marie Kristiansen's video doesn't titillate and, to her credit, isn't artful. It just addresses some of the key issues about the roles assigned to our gender which we register from time to time but rarely challenge significantly. It urges us to pause, to give them voice. Deceptively clever work - and very welcome it is too.

Center Parcs
"The Forest is your Playground"

Matt said:

Sorry. Didn't you hear? Copy is dead.



Recent Promos

"Hallelujah Money (ft. Benjamin Clementine)"
4 mins 31s
20 Jan 2017
Gorillaz explored environmentalism in 2010’s ‘Plastic Beach’. Now they’ve got President Trump in their sights. Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett’s animated posse are joined by London artist Benjamin Clementine as they pay ‘tribute’ to cold, hard cash. The lyrics are laden with references to wealth and protecting one’s interests - whatever the cost.

Djamchid Sisters
"For Her"
4 mins 04s
20 Jan 2017
This wistful promo for Israeli duo Djamchid Sisters looks like a storybook unfolding before your eyes. A woman follows a leafy breadcrumb trail to discover she’s not alone in this luminous forest. The art style is lovingly rendered by Nadav Nachmany and Inbal Ochyon, while the track glides along like leaves in the wind.

Short Films
"We Rise"
2 mins 38s
19 Jan 2017
This short film follows a band as they travel to and prepare for a gig. But this is a band we - the population in general - would not expect to exist. Because of our prejudices, we tend to assume folk with learning disabilities and differences such as autism aren't capable of coming together in this way. 'We Rise' challenges this assumption with energy, skill, and consummate grace.

"No Reason (ft Nick Murphy)"
4 mins 03s
19 Jan 2017
This surreal film by Oscar Hudson is 'about staying indoors'. It explores the Japanese phenomenon of hikikomori - young people so overwhelmed by life that they retreat to their bedrooms for years at a time. All the effects were done practically in camera, with the production team building eighteen almost identical rooms and props in multiple sizes.

Tor Miller
3 mins 41s
15 Jan 2017
Brooklyn-born singer Tor Miller walks through an endless underpass in his latest release 'Always'. Besieged with doubts about his relationship, his fears are represented in the accompanying promo by identical women who accost him along the way. Is his significant other more replaceable than he wants to believe? Is he just afraid of being alone?

Young Thug
"Wyclef Jean"
4 mins 52s
17 Jan 2017
This promo consists of director (sorry, co-director) Ryan Staake explaining in intricate detail how the film he'd planned to make fell apart spectacularly... mainly because the artist never showed up. Young Thug's only contribution is a voicemail about his creative vision ("kiddie cars... and bad bitches, a lot of hoes"). Oh, and some mobile phone footage of him miming to 'Wyclef Jean' and eating Cheetos.

The Weeknd
"Party Monster"
4 mins 27s
17 Jan 2017
The Weeknd's recent dalliance with Selena Gomez has got everyone in a tizz: his ex, Bella Hadid; her ex, Justin Bieber; and pretty much anyone willing to voice their opinion. In amongst it all, there's 'Party Monster'. Augmented vocals and eerie synths resonate throughout the singer's latest track, while director BRTHR has crafted another hyper-realized promo. You may need to rest your eyes afterwards.

"Hard Liquor"
4 mins 04s
9 Jan 2017
With 'Hard Liquor' SOHN adds Moby-style blues to his usual cocktail of plangency and tricksy electronics. Jovan Todorovic's accompanying promo amplifies the mood, centring around a man stumbling through a monochrome setting in which a car lurks predatorily in the shadows. His drink-dazed intensity is impressively compelling.

David Bowie
"No Plan"
4 mins 01s
12 Jan 2017
Historians will likely pinpoint David Bowie’s death as the moment we should’ve realised 2016 was a write-off. Still, we made it to 2017 somehow, and the music keeps coming. The title track from Bowie’s posthumous ‘No Plan’ EP receives a suitably elegaic promo from Tom Hingston.

Las Aves
"Die in Shanghai"
3 mins 46s
9 Jan 2017
French pop group Las Aves reunite with director Daniel Brereton for some more girl-gang attitude. Instead of Peckham, the action takes place on the streets of - you guessed it - Shanghai. The city’s tight alleys and modern districts play host to some acrobatic street entertainment. These five visions in electric pink roam the city while cartwheeling, spinning plates, and juggling diabolos.

Sonia Stein
"One Of Those Things"
3 mins 51s
9 Jan 2017
A polished promo for pop songstress Sonia Stein sees her surveying the city skyline from her apartment before heading out into the night. The clip has a vibe that evokes the uber-slick styling of Prince and Michael Jackson album covers circa mid-80s and serves the singer's sultry track very well. Anyone feeling nostalgic for Sade (the singer, not the Marquis) might have found their new muse right here.

Jenny Hval
"The Great Undressing"
3 mins 45s
5 Jan 2017
Norwegian artist Jenny Hval makes uncompromising music. Having won critical acclaim for 2016's 'Blood Bitch' which looks at the taboo subject of menstruation through the prism of popular vampire tropes, her latest track from the same album comes with a video which explores the perception of self in a fast-moving and unheeding world.

Artificial Pleasure
"I'll Make It Worth Your While"
3 mins 30s
4 Jan 2017
Blend Talking Heads with The Human League and a smidgen of Bowie, add a generous sprinkle of Heaven 17 - and you'll have yourself a classy cocktail named Artificial Pleasure. 'I'll Make It Worth Your While' could be a synthpop-era classic: irrepressibly buoyant and tinnily precise all at once. But it also comes something else in tow - a monumentally cuckoo video you can't tear yourself away from.

Elvis Presley
"The Wonder of You"
2 mins 34s
13 Dec 2016
It seems there are visual parallels between Kate Moss's fashion pics and some of the more iconic shots of Elvis. At least, the apparent similarity is what inspired Vaughan Arnell to film this black and white clip of the supermodel lip-syncing to the ballad 'The Wonder of You' in a variety of outfits, including a leather jumpsuit akin to one worn by The King himself.

Tesla Boy
5 mins 18s
8 Dec 2016
We know to expect the unexpected when Tesla Boy and Ryan Patrick work together. Still, nothing could’ve prepared us for this. The premise is apparently inspired by ‘Cloud Atlas’ and its multiple character portrayals. Sure enough, lead actor Maaz Ali literally loses face as he swaps identities on the fly. Now that’s a surefire way to complicate a blind date.

Alice Jemima
3 mins 10s
8 Dec 2016
Devon’s own Alice Jemima picks an impressive backdrop for her latest single. As London’s skyline flickers in the distance, the singer-songwriter awaits a special delivery on top of a multi-storey car park. Jemima gives nothing away when the camera is near, but she makes “We can light this dark, dark city up” sound like the only invitation that matters.

4 mins 03s
8 Dec 2016
'Grow' by Frances features on the soundtrack for 'Mum's List' - a bittersweet portrayal of life after tragedy. The promo flits between footage from the film and Frances playing at a piano covered with family photos. It's hard not to be moved by the singer-songwriter's voice, and the restrained setting lets her emotional delivery take the lead.

Naughty Boy
"Should've Been Me"
4 mins 25s
6 Dec 2016
Naughty Boy’s latest track benefits from an uplifting promo by director Ben Strebel. Skate parks are a staple setting for music videos, but Strebel offers a new perspective with a trip to Uganda where a skate park offers the chance for self-expression in Kampala’s Kintale slums. One boy watches his peers own the half-pipe before he starts shredding and grinding like the best of them.

The Rolling Stones
"Ride 'Em On Down"
3 mins 18s
2 Dec 2016
This promo for a new track by the Rolling Stones features Kristen Stewart as a woman using her car to burn fuel on meaningless adventures in post apocalypse LA - Mad Maxine, as it were. Not that this is abundantly clear from the get go... the puzzle pieces are there but it's left to the viewer to satisfyingly slot them into place.

Loyle Carner
"The Isle of Arran"
3 mins 37s
2 Dec 2016
In Georgia Hudson's promo for 'Isle of Arran', Loyle Carner walks through the corridors of an unearthly hospital on his way to visit his newborn child. The track is all about the importance of fathers being there for their children, and Hudson does a great job of showing his conviction as he cradles the baby in the fading light of the maternity ward windows.

Capital Cities
3 mins 09s
30 Nov 2016
Remy Cayuela brings 'Vowels' to life by creating a new style of lyric video. With the help of choreographer Denna Thomsen, the track's words were translated into American Sign Language and incorporated into a dance routine. It's a great idea, sassily executed with great camerawork by DP Jeff Bierman - we just wish the song could do it more justice.

"When We Were Young"
4 mins 11s
22 Nov 2016
Folk artist Passenger serenades a pub in this rose-tinged promo for 'When We Were Young'. The track itself is an inoffensive jaunt into yesteryear; but director James Lees and DP Ben Moulden give it some weight with a promo that bathes the pub and its inhabitants in lazy sunlight and a wistful haze. We'll have a pint of nostalgia, please.

Emeli Sandé
"Garden (ft Jay Electronica & Aine Zion)"
4 mins 03s
22 Nov 2016
Rapper Jay Electronica and poet Áine Zion join Emeli Sandé for her latest release, 'Garden'. The attendant promo from Charlie Robins is, fittingly, set in a stately garden complete with tropical glasshouse, and the action moves between the two. The steamy, dreamy lushness of the latter complements the song's vibe... making it a perfect combination.

Ok Go
"The One Moment"
4 mins 13s
24 Nov 2016
Viral wonders Ok Go are back with another compelling, visually complex promo which takes a few watches to fully appreciate. Which won't be a problem, because this has made a social media splash which guarantees you'll see it a few times whatever platforms you use. The video is first shown in its entirety in real time - shot in 4.2 seconds - and then shown in slow motion to accompany 'The One Moment'. The colourful salt bursts, paint splatters, and exploding guitars are visually hypnotic, keeping our attention right to the end of the song.

"Happy When You Go"
3 mins 26s
23 Nov 2016
Banfi's debut track receives a hypnotic promo courtesy of Indy8's Jake Dypka. A girl shows off her hula hoop skills while intermittently vanishing into thin air. It's a clever effect which helps put a new spin on escaping suburban ennui. Meanwhile, the Leytonstone three-piece lace proceedings with jangly guitars and lyrics with discernable bite.

Recent Promos

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