Sometimes it feels like we’re everywhere at once, with all these video postcards from India, Jamaica, Poland, and Jolly Ol’ England giving us a great seat for the Parade of Nations. The TK Crew has definitely benefitted from being exposed to so much cultural dynamism. Our morning meetings now feature jicama scones and Free Trade coffee.
Seriously though, we live in times where seeing beyond borders to find a message can be challenging. There are those who insist on doubling down on their ethnocentrism, refusing to acknowledge the common humanity that binds us. Perhaps they need to watch more videos.
As for the present, we’re still a little behind the times, but this edition represents the finalé for the year 2018, with the top finisher once again taking home the coveted Barclay Award, presented each month for excellence in Unofficial Video artistry.
1. Producer: Kornelia Malczewska
Artist: DJ Snake + AlunaGeorge
Song: “You Know You Like It”
Another powerful example of dancing in the face of oppression. Revolutionary steps and blistering choreography are given the respect they deserve.
2. Producer: Red Pop Dance
Song: “Acid Rain”
A provocative Polish dance ensemble spins a dark Eco Fable through incisive movement. A teachable moment without a fairy tale ending.
3. Producer: Alex Bosserman
We all have our own way of seeing life as it unfolds and it’s important to share perspectives. Otherwise we’re all just strangers stumbling around in the dark.
4. Producer: Krispy Films
Artist: Pink Floyd
Song: “Great Gig In The Sky”
A bored English schoolboy slips through a crack in reality and discovers the infinite moment that is right now. Old-school psychedelia to the rescue!
5. Producer: Sumit Lekhari + Lavina Lekhari
Artist: Imagine Dragons
Don’t like the world you’re living in? Dance a better one. If you can Imagine Dragons, anything is possible. But you can’t do it without full commitment.
We’ll see you cats next year, which should be any day now!
Boo! Halloween has attacked and retreated for another year, but we ignored the doorbell and ate the candy ourselves. Except Skittles. They’re all you, man.
As winter begins its frosty descent, we Kitties warm ourselves by the pale fire of Unofficial Music Videos vying for the prestigious Barclay Award, given out each month for outstanding achievement in indie video artistry.
This month’s Top Five features bold statements in black and white, snotty schoolboys in disgrace, and a full-on head trip that’s either mind-expanding or a complete fabrication.
1. Producer: Hadi BA
Song: “Good Life”
Evocative black and white photography and a dreamy pop song forge a strong alliance in Hadi AB’s striking meditation on travel and time.
2. Producer: Aztec Llama
Song: “Mouthful of Diamonds”
There are interludes of dancing here, but it definitely has an unsettling narrative story structure, as well as a deft editing hand. A sumptuous array of images awaits.
3. Producer: Loic Xavier
Artist: Noah Cyrus
More scenes of travel, romantic fallout, and Marilyn Monroe come together in a painfully cathartic collage. Pro tip: You’re never over it.
4. Producer: Harry Bloomfield
Song: “Ninety Nine”
Producer Harry Bloomfield isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel here. These are all familiar rock-vid tropes, but he correctly serves them up piping hot.
5. Producer: Henry Hedlund
Artist: Travis Scott
Is the world ready for suburban psychedelia? Who knows what evil lurks at the other end of the Ping Pong table?
In the not-too-distant future, we’ll have more artist profiles, scintillating analysis, and possibly even something by you, dear reader. Get motivated and make magic happen. This isn’t the rarefied air of some highfalutin’ creative collective.
We’re just like you, and we’ve all got something to say when the time is right. And there’s no time like the present!
Or is it? We’re still in the Dog Days here at TikiKiti HQ, sorting out the latest crop of UMVs (Unofficial Music Videos) that we’ve been carefully drying in the sun until we can harvest a full spectrum of delicious, nutritious ART.
Behold, our Top Five for August.
1. Director: Eva Berbel
Artist: Cardi B + Bad Bunny + J Balvin
Song: “I Like It”
Supertight choreography, a healthy wardrobe budget, and spot-on direction from Eva Berbel, who serves up a densely layered hip-hop Busby-Berkeley swimming pool fantasy.
2. Producer: Johnny Copter
Artist: Morgan Page
Song: “Running Wild”
Johnny Copter’s vibrant photography makes “Running Wild” a soaring visual odyssey that plays like Wes Anderson’s audition reel for Nike. Moving pictures, indeed!
3. Producer: Yardley Estiverne
Artist: Amy Vachal
Song: “Field Sense”
This black-and-white tone poem features a veiled woman with mountain goat horns meandering through a church, and it breathes with a confessional intimacy.
4. Producer: Marty Rait + Angelina Lobanova
Artist: 100 Monkeys
An attractive couple moodily explore the boundaries of their relationship, again in glorious black and white.
5. Producer: Perpetual Goose
Artist: Aphex Twin
Song: “54 Cymru Beats”
This near seizure-inducing driving collage could probably reprogram an entire cult of brainwashed acolytes into functional citizens. Or send them off the deep end.
You folks are killing it. Every day we see things that we’ve never imagined. Curious dreams, romantic vignettes, nervous puzzles, cathartic explosions… an ever-widening continuum of aspirational wonder and experience from all corners of the planet.
This is our jam. Welcome.
And all too soon, we find ourselves in the month of June. Our TikiKiti Quest to catch up to the present day in pursuit of video excellence rolls on! Tickets please!
Perhaps in anticipation of hotly contested political races to come, the voting for the Barclay Trophy, our award for best Unofficial Music Video of the month, has become extremely competitive. This time around we had a tie for first place and fourth place, so we will be featuring six videos instead of the usual five. Hurray for Bonus Content!
1. Director: Román Reyes
Artist: Oh Wonder
Song: “Technicolour Beat”
One of the coolest performance videos we’ve seen. Roman Reyes has a deft eye for angular intimacy and his dancing muse brings every moment to a simmer.
1. Producer: Miguel Angel
At first glance, this would appear to be another variation on the ever-popular video theme of bad boys being bad at nighttime. Migeul Angel masterfully enhances the action with cinematic flair and drama, and gets committed performances from his youthful squad.
2. Producer: Nassift Visuals
Artist: Ft. Illenium
Extraordinary composed parkour choreography that fits the tear-jerk tune like a tailored glove. It’s a bracing mix of reckless energy and ultimate precision.
3. Producer: Szymon Wiktor
Artist: Clean Bandit
A confident, highly competent production from Szymon Wiktor that demonstrates abundant vision and finesse.
4. Producer: Yannick Walters
A taunting ghost fills him with rage. And just like that, he’s lost the game. A tightly wound and surprisingly effective narrative by Yannick Walters and his team.
4. Producer: Luke Covert
Artist: The Wild Wild
Song: “Wake Up”
Sound and solid performance editing by Luke Covert, but the real star of the show is the ruined school location and the bittersweet memories it inspires.
Coming up: A deep-dive feature on the winning videos from May and June. What was it about these shorts that added up to a winning formula? It’s not always always the flashiest extravaganza with the trickiest camera angels. Until then, keep ’em coming!
Is it May already? Wow, this year is just flying by! Let’s synchronize those calendars, shall we?
This brings us to the latest Top Five, which includes some seriously cinematic efforts in the Narrative category.
You know the drill: Five artists are honored, and the monthly high scorer may select the coveted Barclay trophy or a gift card as a testament to their vision and skill. More about the awards.
And to our five May creatives, we’re just doggone thrilled to showcase your incredible work. Encore!
1. Director: Roma Kong
Artist: Lady Gaga
Song: “Bloody Mary”
Possibly the most sophisticated video we’ve seen in terms of production values and high-stakes concepts, Roma Kong has the visual sensibility to be a big name in any number of fields.
2. Producer: Sarah Maggic
Song: “Play Me Like A Violin”
Domination, submission, and identity are some of the thematic forces at play in Sarah Maggic’s well-executed short.
3. Producer: Anna Hicks
We dug this strobe-soaked club-thumper that reduces the mating dance to its most essential impulses, some of which may be in direct conflict.
4. Producer: Yap Manloong
Artist: Paperplane Pursuit
Song: “Who’s Gonna To Stop Me”
Evolving, growing, and reshaping itself before our wide eyes, Yap Manloong’s video is a wonder to behold. Uncanny animation and a playful spirit permeate every frame.
5. Producer: Maya Cooper
Artist: Baz Luhrmann
Song: “Everybody’s Free To Wear Sunscreen”
Words to live by. A fascinating deconstruction of a graduation speech loaded with intuitive narrative imagery.
Let’s make a pact: You keep sending videos and we’ll do our best to give them the attention they so richly deserve. Aloha!
Here we go, a fresh batch of UMV’s piping hot, straight from the oven.
We’re not April Fooling you, we’re still a little behind the times. These five videos came up tops for the month of April.
To briefly recap, five artists are honored, and the monthly high scorer may select a unique trophy or gift card as a testament to their skill and creativity. More about the awards.
And to our quintet of April video artists, well done!
1. Producer: Andrey Gorlachev
Song: “Sleep With My Enemies”
Wow! This cyber-surveillance creeper from Andrey Gorlachev eerily captures the times we live in, as mounting paranoia and a lack of privacy inspire outbreaks of desperate dance. Rich in detail and masterfully presented.
2. Producer: Jonathan Brent
Artist: Jai Paul
A near sensory overload as modern man, depicted here as a featureless mannequin, attempts to reboot the system. Moments of clarity are rudely jarred away.
3. Producer: Paula Averkamp
Artist: Patrick Watson
Memories or just a Virginia Woolf dream? Paula Averkamp’s cinematic Day at the Beach reverie is radiant and ravishing, with a bittersweet undercurrent of innocence lost.
4. Producer: Leon Falon
Artist: Aphex Twin
Song: “We Have Arrived”
Call it a barrage collage. A short circus, maybe. Anyone suffering from Seizure Disorder should look the other way.
5. Producer: Ginie’O
Song: “Skin and Bones”
A beautiful cache of Paris travelogue footage in the hands of Ginie’O tells a thousand stories at a thousand different tempos.
Thanks again on behalf of TikiKiti for the amazing gallimaufry of musical shorts. It is the wind beneath our wings.
Keep the videos flying!
Once more into the fray…
Time marches on, which brings us to the month of March, and a whole new assemblage of Unofficial Music Videos for consideration.
In case you’re just joining us, five artists are honored, and the monthly high scorer may select a superb trophy or gift card as a testament to their skill and creativity. More about the awards.
Now, on with the show! Meet our Minds of March!
1. Producer: Joseph Hyrkas
Deceptively simple and deeply sincere, producer Joseph Hyrkas relies on soulful lingering shots of a beautiful woman to tell this tale of heartache.
2. Producer: Aaron Vizcarra
Artist: 2PAC & LA
Song: “Vicca Street”
The wonders never cease in a kaleidoscopic slice of cyber surrealism from producer Aaron Vizacarra and director Stephen Gillis.
3. Producer: kayanoel
Artist: Julie Aznar
Song: “In the Middle of the Night”
Commitment, clever choreography, and breathtaking location photography are on display in kayanoel’s moody performance piece.
4. Producer: Naomi Kirk-Muir
Artist: Mother Mother
Heck, it’s hard (probably impossible) to be endlessly happy. Naomi Kirk-Muir cuts to the heart behind the masks we have to wear in this somber collage.
5. Producer: Obiet Mantovani
Artist: The Chainsmokers
Song: “All We Know”
Again, simplicity and lack of pretense carries the day in a stirring story of rocky romance.
Slowly but surely we are creating a structure and process for emerging video artists to exhibit their work. We’re pleased to see so many fresh and fantastic approaches to the form, as it gives us plenty to talk about.
Till next time! Keep those videos coming!
It’s time once again to tip our TikiKiti caps to some exemplary work that’s come our way recently. We share because we care, and considering the blazing originality of these Unofficial Music Videos, you should care, too.
Both of our featured video artists are mega-skilled practitioners and their works rival anything put out by highly paid pros with rock star budgets.
When we first saw this fan-made video for Prodigy’s “Hotride” we were gobsmacked, which is not an expression we throw around lightly. (It’s not allowed.) Everyone assembled agreed that the artist SapBap had produced one of the finest UMVs we’d seen in a very long time: thoughtful, exhilarating, and hypnotic.
Shot with a SonyRX100mV and shifting between hyper-speed night-driving and super slo-mo tracking shots of people walking to work, SapBap wields uncanny technical prowess to create a mesmeric canvas of absurdly dignified creatures on the go, forever compelled to move forward—for some undefined reason.
Particularly effective are the shots of commuters looking off at some distant landmark that commands their attention beyond matters of the mundane. SapBap’s ability to capture the eye-lines of his subjects creates infinite possible scenarios. Dreams put on hold or abandoned altogether in the face uncertainty and fear seems to be the message, but obviously that’s just one interpretation.
Needless to say, we’d be tickled to present more of SapBap’s work, and are currently working on securing an interview. Stay tuned!
The Lighter Side
Abstract whimsy is a tough nut to crack in the confines of a music video, but it can be done. Witness a pair of videos by JLShope, a video artist with an abiding love of Dayton, Ohio indie-rock gods Guided By Voices.
The lyrics of GBV singer and songwriter Robert Pollard, are artfully rendered sketches peppered with seemingly nonsensical observations and roughly chiseled into a legit rock anthem that seldom eclipses two minutes.
In “My Valuable Hunting Knife” JLShope gleefully mutates livestock to a catchy pop tune about how fetishistic consumerism is a lot like falling in love. The animation has a delightfully unpredictable energy that should resonate with any Monty Python fan.
JLS performs similar animal protean chicanery in another GBV-inspired video for “Kicker of Elves,” which is worth tracking down, as is just about anything associated with Guided By Voices.
In “Touch Me In The Right Place at the Right Time” from Pollard’s 2011 solo album Space City Kicks, JLS presents a short film about the joys of foreplay, shot in black and white, and reminiscent of an old health education reel—except the action is deliberately cheeky and nearly naughty! (Won’t somebody think of the children?)
In any case, the video is tightly shot and edited, and exudes a playfully understated sexy charm, like a vintage screwball comedy. As cinematic glimmers of the past fade away on a daily basis, we should do all we can to preserve the memories of the most valuable ones. Lord knows, we’re doing our part.
Like SapBap, we’re anxiously trying to track down JLShope for a possible feature. Hello? You guys out there? Phone home!
It’s awards season at TikiKiti and we spent our spring break wading through thousands of indie music videos that found their way to us (a combination of whizzy algorithms and occasional dedication). The goal here is to recognize and encourage video artists and establish a site where new works can be displayed and discussed.
Our panel of judges has deliberated heatedly and at length over creativity, editing, and overall production quality, and reached their decision.
Five (six) artists will be honored, and these high scorers will receive an enviable trophy or gift card as tokens of our esteem and appreciation. More about the awards.
Without further ado, here are the Top Five videos (six actually; there was a three-way tie for fourth place) for January 2018. We’re a few months behind, but we’re aiming to get up to date in a quick-bunny hurry.
Superb work, people! Take a bow and a victory lap.
1. Producer: Ch4rlie97
Artist: Caravan Palance
Song: Lone Digger
A strong narrative concept, supple camera, and unexpected editing choices made the exhilarating “Lone Digger” the top vote-getter this month. Kudos Ch4rlie97.
2. Producer: MangoWatch
Artist: Michael Jackson
Song: Blood on the Dance Floor
The commitment and choreography are first-rate. The attention to detail, the costumes, and performance really bowled us over. Paging Doctor MangoWatch!
3. Producer: Utkarsh Chaturvedi
Artist: Massive Attack
Visually arresting from open to close. The pace and variety of imagery is spellbinding. Well done, Mr. Chaturvedi et. al.
4. Producer: VelvetAnt Films
Song: Cannibal Lectures
Video artist Chad Shepp continues to astound us with his arsenal of found footage and editing finesse.
4. Producer: Alfredo Fortunato Films
Artist: Demi Lovato
Song: Sorry Not Sorry
Spirit, swagger, and genuine joy are abundant in this high-energy entry from Alfredo Fortunato Films.
4. Producer: Sebastian Linares
Artist: Bruno Mars + Cardi B
These guys are having fun but their dedication to the choreography and the project itself is 100 percent. We salute you, Sebastian!
It’s always gratifying to witness a video artist develop from fledgling stylist into a legitimate expressive force. Chad Shepp, 24, hails from Hamilton, Ontario, and wants to be a filmmaker.
An admirer of singular talents like Sam Raimi, Stanley Kubrick, and Quentin Tarantino, Shepp has created dozens of unofficial music videos under the moniker VelvetAnt Films, a Youtube channel with close to two thousand subscribers.
Shepp tailors gorgeous found visuals to a wide variety of emotion-soaked tuneage, demonstrating an unfailing eye for color, movement, and mise-en-scene.
“The thing is, I use videos from public domain sources,” Shepp writes. “I take the videos and splice them together.” Armed with only Windows Movie Maker and a mind keenly tuned to words and melody, the young Canadian scours the internet for images that inspire him to create his captivating video collages.
The footage he assembles is always powerful and evocative, even if it didn’t come from his camera.
Shepp initially got hooked on video by Twenty One Pilots cover of the Elvis Presley hit, “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” and from there he’s been a veritable Energizer bunny, producing more than 200 videos.
“What hooked me about the song is the calming effect,” Shepp notes. “It swishes over me when I listen. It’s a beautiful song and speaks to me personally. The song seems to sum up something in my life I can’t explain.”
Musically, Shepp is all over the map, from crooners like James Blunt and Ed Sheeran, to hip-hop heavies like Eminem and Tyler the Creator, to respectable old farts like Creedence Clearwater Revival and Neil Young.
“I love all music, but my favorite is rap and folk,” Shepp explains. To the best of his knowledge, none of the high-profile artists to whom he’s paid video tribute have seen his work.
In “Magdalene” by British folk duo Bear’s Den, Shepp tweaks the colors in a desolate townscape that seems to have been ruined in some kind of disaster.
Though he artfully ducks questions about his current state of mind (and where he finds his footage), Shepp says he definitely sought a post-apocalyptic vibe that is at odds with the song’s quiet intimacy.
“It took a long time to make that one,” Shepp admits, revealing a key element in his process. “Figuring out what song fits the video takes time.”
As an artist, Shepp is certainly capable of frenetic cutting and loading images into a visual trebuchet to bombard the senses (his editing on Machine Gun Kelly’s “Wake and Bake” comes to mind). But his latest work has a slow-mo, languid quality full of longer takes that makes for a more consistent mood frame with deeper resonance.
“Yes very much so,” Shepp agrees, when queried if he’s more drawn to long shots and continuous action these days. But don’t expect this fascination to last forever; Shepp is a restless artist always on the hunt for fresh inspiration.
And us TikiKiti cats will be here to keep you posted on all his latest developments.