Swinging the Lambeth Walk

Len Lye, Music Video, 1939

The Lambeth Walk was a popular 'swing jazz' dance in London in 1939. It included a hand gesture with the Yiddish "Oi!". New Zealand-born filmmaker Len Lye edited together different versions of the music (including Django Reinhardt on guitar and Stephane Grapelli on violin), and combined them with a variety of abstract images painted and scratched directly onto film, without using a camera. The colourful, dynamic animation was made with public money — for the Ministry of Information in the United Kingdom — scandalising some government bureaucrats.

Adults and Children

The Gordons, Music Video, 1981

Bold lighting and caterwauling guitars push this largely black and white performance clip above others of the era. Silhouette and strobing make for a mesmerising video that deserves a consumer health warning for those affected by flashing lights. After line-up changes and much remembered live gigs, the Christchurch noise-meisters ultimately morphed into Bailterspace.    

Flicker

Fetus Productions, Music Video, 1985

The feverish complexity of Flicker is captured in this video collaboration between Fetus Productions' Jed Town and director Alex Proyas (The Crow, Dark City, promos for INXS, Crowded House, Mike Oldfield). The pair deliver a terrifically haunting clip, skillfully creating an intensely serpentine work full of dark frames and layered, unnerving images. Yikes.  

Schallblüte

HDU, Music Video, 2001

In this performance-based High Dependency Unit (HDU) music video, directed by Dunedin musician and visual artist Nigel Bunn, a roving fisheye camera lens provides a suitably edgy vibe. The jittery black and white visuals evoke paranoia films like Repulsion, Eraserhead, and local classic Kitchen Sink. The clip builds up a broiling intensity, through judicious use of sped-up motion, original povs, and flash cuts that match the sonic boom tempo of HDU's trademark wall of sound. 

O'Baby

Charlie ASH, Music Video, 2006

Winning Best Overall Video at the 2006 Radio Active Handle the Jandal Music Video Awards, Charlie ASH certainly made a splash with their debut video by director Sally Tran. The delightfully ramshackle clip for the raunchy number channels the DIY fantasy spirit of Michel Gondry as Rosie Riggir and the band inhabit a CASH-in-wonderland world of cardboard and cellophane sets, animation and colour. Caution: contains fondling of oversized instruments. 

The Sun

The Naked and Famous, Music Video, 2012

The Sun was perhaps the most daring and experimental video yet for directors Joel Kefali and Campbell Hooper. Collaborating once more with electropop band The Naked and Famous, they scored their second award for Best Music Video with another track taken from breakthrough album Passive Me, Aggressive You (2010). The widescreen video is built around a series of split second shots of a man and a woman getting intimate. As the video continues, the images fracture, multiply, and become increasingly kaleidoscopic. Warning — this video is not suitable for younger viewers.

Blue Water

Debbie Harwood and Johnny Bongo, Music Video, 1987

Before forming When The Cat’s Away, Debbie Harwood collaborated with Johnny Bongo (John Quigley) on this one-off project which won them Most Promising Group at the 1987 NZ Music Awards. The music video was funded by Harwood with money earned from waitressing. Director Jed Town (of Fetus Productions) keeps his palette very aqua but resists the temptation to get more literal with the subject matter, instead opting for layers of abstract watery textures to frame Harwood’s vocals (although a brief glimpse of a gnashing shark hints at Town's more macabre side).

Multi-Love

Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Music Video, 2015

For Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s third album, frontman and songwriter Ruban Neilson didn’t have to go far for inspiration. The 'Multi-Love' of the title track refers to an emotionally fraught and short-lived ménage à trois between Neilson’s wife Jenny and “Laura”, a fan who took up lodgings at the couple’s Portland home. Director Lionel Williams takes an abstract view of the singer’s situation, with a 3D tour of a mutating, multi-level psychedelic funhouse. A playable version of the experience was released as an app for both Mac and PC.