Philosophy

Hollie Smith, Music Video, 2007

Thanks to its control of light and texture, this is surely one of New Zealand's more luxurious music videos. As the song progresses, performer Hollie Smith takes on the persona of the central figure in a series of classic artworks — from the Mona Lisa, to a portrait of Frida Kahlo, to Edouard Manet's 1882 painting of a Parisian barwoman at the Folies-Bergère nightclub. Director James Solomon was later the prime mover behind 2015 web series K'Rd Stories.

Punching in a Dream

The Naked and Famous, Music Video, 2010

This music video continued the fruitful collaboration between The Naked and Famous and directing duo Special Problems. Joel Kefali and Campbell Hooper brought their trademark mix of graphic design, film and painting to the synth-driven pop song. As vocalist Alisa Xayalith moves through a dreamscape, she sleepwalks, runs, skates and flies through pine forest, snow, sand, and a manor. Ice hockey masks and hoodies add menace. It won Best Music Video at the 2011 NZ Music Awards, part of a major awards haul for the group. The song has featured on a number of TV shows.

All the Young Fascists

Shihad, Music Video, 2005

With this arresting mixture of performance video and monstrous insect imagery, arts show maestro Mark Albiston (The Living Room) shows he is an exponent of the wham bam approach to music videos. Short sharp shots capture Shihad's energy on a set that is painted red and black. The band footage is intercut with images of a hungry praying mantis, whose darkest secrets are revealed via digital effects. The song is taken from Love is the New Hate (2005), the first album after Shihad's ill-fated decision to change their name to Pacificer.

I Feel Love

Fan Club, Music Video, 1989

"Hey you, you’ve got the moves … I can’t refuse!" Aishah and the Fan Club scored a run of pop hits in New Zealand and Malaysia in the late 80s with songs like 'Sensation' and this single (which peaked at No.8 in the charts). This bold studio-set video, directed by Paul Middleditch, won Best Music Video at the 1989 New Zealand Music Awards. With paint splashes, leather jackets, shades, silhouetted choreography, Dr Martens, and slick camera moves and editing, it’s an unmistakably 80s video, coupling the crisp pop beats with a fashion shoot or dance floor vibe.

I Like Rain

The Jean-Paul Sartre Experience, Music Video, 1987

The set has a back-drop curtain made out of milk bottle top foil; the band are wearing plastic rubbish sacks fashioned into tunics, and have painted faces. The props include a disco mirror ball, a toilet seat sculpture, a giant bug, and umbrellas. It's all slightly off-beam, but the band's performance is deadpan sweet. There’s the requisite Flying Nun film scratching, and some literal-but-amusing image and lyric matching. It all combines to make a DIY delight, an effortless two decades before Flight of the Conchords or Mighty Boosh.

Sixpack

Loves Ugly Children, Music Video, 1997

From the time-honoured music video making tradition of "throw a party, add a horse costume and film the results" comes a frenetic clip directed by Andrew Moore. Love's Ugly Children were at their belligerent best on this song from their second album. Drummer Jason Young was the waylaid missionary; and guitarist Simon McLaren got to talk to a horse on the phone and display hitherto-unseen break-dancing skills. The carpet of their flat came off second best in an encounter with some red body paint. Extra marks for the cheese and pineapple hedgehog.

Don't

Paul McLaney and Anika Moa, Music Video, 2003

Set in a half-painted world of city, mountains and purple skies, director Ed Davis's video is a triumph of imagination and ingenuity over reality. The result is an extended aerial journey around an acrobat on a high wire — possibly reflecting some of the lyrics of this Paul McLaney and Anika Moa duet. Don't took out best video at the Kodak Music Clip Awards in 2003.

Fragile

Tall Dwarfs, Music Video, 1998

NZ On Air funding gave director Chris Knox a little more budget than usual and it looks like he enjoyed the experience. Knox and Alec Bathgate perform with bandaged balaclava-like heads and weird painted face masks - English Patient meets a K-Road flower cult - while an upside down world flickers in the background. Mad but great.

Donka

Headless Chickens, Music Video, 1988–1988

With its skittering drum loops and unsteady vocals punctuated with bursts of industrial-strength noise, Donka is an early example of Headless Chickens’ ever-evolving sound. Director Stuart Page (working with the Chickens' Grant Fell) cuts together a wild collage to echo the song’s mood swings. Chris Matthews' deadpan delivery to camera — occasionally in butoh-type face paint — provides a spot of calm amongst the blizzard of grotesque close-ups, absurd costumes, time-lapse and triple exposures. Fell wrote later that the video cost $527.55 to make.

Beings Rest Finally

Beat Rhythm Fashion, Music Video, 1981

‘Beings Rest Finally’ was the A side of the first of three singles released by Wellington post-punk outfit Beat Rhythm Fashion (the single shared its initials with the band’s name, as did the flip side ‘Bring Real Freedom’). A product of early 80s nuclear dread — the “disaster day” in the lyrics might refer to the death of millions — the band nevertheless saw it as a “happy sort of lullaby” rather than a sad song. The TVNZ video captures this combination of innocence and terror as children paint a colourful mural over news footage of war, unrest and a mushroom cloud.