Fork Songs

Tall Dwarfs, Music Video, 1991

A compilation of four short ditties from the Tall Dwarfs’ Fork Songs album - ‘Wings’, ‘Lowlands’, ‘Oatmeal’, and ‘Two Humans’. The linked clips all feature assorted forms of stop frame animation and film scratching - Wings has a hand-drawn animated border; Lowlands uses the phone book as a background for a range of animated doodles; Oatmeal does unspeakable things with two raw chickens and other meat products; and Two Humans flickers through what seems like hundreds of different human faces. Simple but clever, as is the Chris Knox way.

Phil's Disease (Day 4)

Tall Dwarfs, Music Video, 1984

Being one of Tall Dwarfs’ more experimental tracks, it probably makes sense that the accompanying video would be as perplexing. Chris Knox shows his penchant for bizarre DIY animation as line drawings of creatures morph into lines of lyrics, then into human figures who keep losing their heads. The song itself does little to provide any easy answers, the minimal vocals rumbling out of a swamp of muddy riffs. Both 'Disease Day' songs appeared on 1984 EP Slugbucket Hairybreath Monster, which website All Music called "another chillingly perfect gem". 

Beautiful Machine

Shihad, Music Video, 2008

The title track of Shihad’s seventh studio album sees the band moving beyond the harder edged rock of much of their previous work and embracing new technologies (with a decidedly electro introduction) while lyrically questioning the degree to which humanity has lived up to its potential. Director Sam Peacocke places the band in the wilderness of a damp, fog filled, tussock marsh of blacks, greys and dark greens while a man (an apple short of Margritte’s ‘Son of Man’) and woman rise up and run towards each other: irresistibly drawn to human connection.

Runnin'

David Dallas, Music Video, 2013

Director Tom Gould takes hip hop to the Hokianga in his promo for the 2013 David Dallas single. Framed around Dallas rapping in historic St Gabriel’s Church, it lays the song’s urban R&B over images of the title activity — a young boy runnin' free on a Mitimiti road, and galloping horses on a far northern beach. Gould: "I wanted to film something that was bigger than just a human running. I wanted the visual to escalate in the same way that the song does." The video is nominated for a 2014 Tui Award; the song featured on the soundtrack of video game FIFA 14. 

Snug As F**k

Liam Finn, Music Video, 2014

This US-shot video from Liam Finn’s 2014 album The Nihilist sees Finn roll up in a land celebrating ‘Jubilancy Day’. When the video premiered on  Noisey.com in February 2014, Finn said that the concept aimed to show the absurdity of human holiday rituals: “Like, if you weren’t from earth and you came and saw us worshipping an Easter bunny or a guy in a big red suit, you might think it’s quite strange.” The rat and tomato-centric family fun — directed by Brooklyn, NYC duo Anthony and Alex — includes cameos by Australian musos Kirin J Callinan and Eliza-Jane Barnes.

In Colour

Shapeshifter, Music Video, 2013

Electronic soul band Shapeshifter is one of the New Zealand acts whose songs were covered by international artists in Nick Dwyer’s TV series Making Tracks. Dwyer takes that relationship a step further by directing this infectious music video, for one of the singles from their fourth album, Delta. He accompanies their lyrics, about putting aside the pressures and problems of everyday life, with a series of vibrant images from around the world. Gathered during his globetrotting, they celebrate human connection and the simple pleasures afforded by music (and a NZ 1990 t-shirt).

Broken Machine

Zowie, Music Video, 2010

This bright, electro-poppy blurring of the lines between human and robot was the debut single for Zowie — a persona created by Auckland musician Zoe Fleury (the artist formerly known as Bionic Pixie). For the video, production team Special Problems eschewed CGI and had Zowie spend a day lying on a floor while their pinball machine inspired arrangements of dominos and machinery fell all around her. A Best Video finalist at the 2011 NZ Music Award, it lost out to another Special Problems clip (for 'Punching in a Dream' by The Naked and Famous).