Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Music Video Deconstruction 5

Song: Butterflies and Hurricanes
Band: Muse
Year: 2006 (video posted 2010) 

  • Muse are an alternative rock band from Teignmouth, Devon, in England, and they formed in 1994. 
  • Muse have released five studio albums: Showbiz (1999), Origin of Symmetry (2001), Absolution (2003), Black Holes and Revelations (2006), and The Resistance (2009). The band have also issued three live albums, Hullabaloo Soundtrack (2002), which is also a compilation of B-sides, Absolution Tour (2005), and HAARP (2008).
  • The video for Butterflies and Hurricanes was the last single taken from Absolution. 
  • The video also has a very unique way of shooting, incorporating timelapses as well as other techniques.
  • It begins with a wide, landscape shot of a mountain range with a timelapse of the sky changing; immediately, various types of equipment that would be found at a live show in the open air, such as scaffolding, rigging, lights, musical equipment and more.
  • Most of the production is pieced together with footage from their tour for the album Absolution, and it is all a performance-based video.
  • After the establishing shots, the camera quickly brings the viewer to the attention of Matt Bellamy, the bands frontman and vocalist as the intro ends and the vocals of the song begin.
  • There are lots of shots of Matt vocalising and these are portrayed through a variety of shots like close ups and mid shots, with the occasional high angles and low angles.
  • Butterflies and Hurricanes, and indeed Muse themselves focus a lot on bass; this means there are lots of shots of Chris Wolstenholme playing his bass in pivotal points during which it is the lead instrument.
  • Lighting plays a huge part in this video; the whole production has a large array of purple, blue, yellow, pink and white lights surround the band as they begin to play.
  • Lots of Computer Generated Imagery (GCI) is used as well, as parts of the stage begin to construct themselves, and them moving around behind the band. 
  • When the drums come in, a dutch angle that slowly tilts clockwise is used, slowly, to synch with Dom Howard, the drummer as he plays.
  • Throughout the majority of the video, the timelapse of the sky is used continuously; the band play at the front, the stage is built using CGI and the sky streams bright colours overhead, in keeping with the "Hurricanes" aspect of the song's title.
  • Once the song is in full swing, there are a series of fast tracking and panning angles revealing an audience, obviously live footage from the Absolution tour, mixed with scenes of mountains and other various landscapes using CGI.
  • During the large classical piano part, there are mixed shots of other, more urban areas, such as sky scrapers depicted with long shots forming a binary opposite of Matt as he is shown by a mid shot. There are also effects on his piano, such as various objects coming off it such as snow and petals. 

Unfortunately Muse's record label have deactivated embedding so I can only post the hyperlink; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzCKrwOme2U

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Music Video Deconstruction 4

Band: The Acacia Strain 
Song: Angry Mob Justice
Year: 2006

  • This single is by a band called The Acacia Strain from Massachusetts, USA. 
  • It is from their second album and their first proper one, The Dead Walk, released in 2006. 
  • In somewhat of a binary opposite to all the other videos I've covered so far, the video for Angry Mob Justice still retains the aspects of performance and narrative, but it also goes for a much more comedic style, more so than the other 3 videos...
  • The video starts with a mid shot of a massive obese American man (The Acacia Strain are American) sitting down on a sofa; this immediately hints at the redneck stereotype of Americans, particularly the Southern states, and also a stereotype of Americans as a whole due to this guy being massively overweight.
  • The camera used in the establishing shot is handheld, a point made obvious by the shaking when following the man.
  • There is then another midshot, set at a low angle, of the man turning on the tv, in which the video really starts to get going; the narrative of the video is a tetherball (a common American sport similar to dodgeball in the physicalness of it). At this point the playback begins, starting off with a heavy snare drum fill with distorted guitars which matches the song's angry nature. 
  • I should take a moment here to explain what the song is about; using the website songmeanings.net and the sub thread of http://www.songmeanings.net/songs/view/3530822107858655988/, I'll point out a few possible ideas; 
  1. "This is one of the most visually descriptive songs I've ever heard. It paints such a bleak picture of the end of the world and the havoc wrought upon mankind."
  2. "It is about the end of the world.
    like the whole song is about how how the world is ruined.
    and everythings burning away.
    and that the ashes of the dead are being carried by the wind around the whole world."
  3. "And the music does a good job of reflecting the different stages of the apocalypse...like how as Vincent says 'then the blast wave hit' is when the guitars pick up in speed and heaviness, or how after he says 'winter began around the world' the guitars pick up again because another tragedy is about to happen."
  • After the title is displayed, the camera then pans across both teams who are participating in the game; there is the "Angry Mob Justice" team, obviously representing the song, which contains all the members of the Acacia Strain, and "Diablos", being the archetypical "jock" stereotype, who are ultimately destined to lose. 
  • On several occasions, the camera focuses on the fat man from the beginning who is obviously watching this on his television. 
  • This is where the performance aspect of the video is started; there is an extreme close up of a microphone on the floor and Vincent, the vocalist, picks it up while the intro continues. He then proceeds to start the songs' vocals by screaming the opening lyrics, with a close up shot of him doing so.
  • From this point on there are frequent transitions and cuts between the band performing their song in a large room, possibly a hangar, and the game of tetherball going on at the same time. There are also intermittent scenes, normally mid shots, of the man watching the game.
  • During the perfomance of the songs, the camera often shows close ups of the instruments when notable parts of the song are played; for example, during a heavy breakdown or chugging part of the song, the camera will focus on the guitars, mostly lead. There are also a few high shots and low shots, particularly low to make the band members seem intimidating, which works well. 
  • Some parts of the music is synchronous with the video as well; for example, there is a part in the video where a Diablo player hits the ball into the A.M.J player's face (Vincent) exactly as another heavy part of the song begins to play and he falls to the floor. 
  • The narrative ends with a Diablo player versus an AMJ player in some sort of final, in which the Diablo player loses, thus winning the band the game. There is a scuffle and the camera pulls away to the fat guy from the introduction eating crisps, as the end of the performance aspects begins to draws near as well.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

RM - "The Big Three"

In the music industry there was the term "The Big Four". This was used for the four giant record labels in the music industry. These four companies were Sony Music Entertainment, EMI Group, Warner Music Group and Universal Music Group. However in early November, 2011, Universal Music Group bought EMI's record music division for £1.2 billion ($1.9 billion). As well as this Sony bought EMI's publishing division for £1.3 billion. Therefore this means "The Big Four" are now called "The Big Three".

EMI's record division includes artists including The Beatles, Coldplay and Tinie Tempah. Therefore showing it is understandable why both Warner Music and Universal wanted to own the division, with Universal outbidding Warner Music by $500 million.

The company has some influential artists, that have changed the genre they are/were situated in, as well as some of the biggest chart toppers in the last few decades on their label, this includes: ABBA, Guns N’ Roses, The Jackson Five, Elton John, KISS, Nirvana, The Police, Queen, Frank Sinatra, The Who and many many more. As well as Universal Music Group inpartnership with Abu Dhabi Media Company created a company called Vevo. Veco accounts can be found on Youtube for world famous artists.

Syco is jointly owned by Simon Cowell and Sony Music Entertainment, focusing on music, television and film content. Cowell uses these aspects of media to look for artists. The programs that are used for this are The X-Factor, The X-Factor USA, Britain's Got Talent and American's Got Talent. The artists that win these shows win a contract. These contracts are also tied into another record company, which is owned by Sony Music Entertainment. The record companies mentioned in the above paragraph are usually part of the contract deals.

Warner Music Group is the last remaining member of "The Big Three" and was the third in "The Big Four". The comapany founded in 1958, as Warner Bros. Records. To date the company has several distribution labels: Atlantic Records Group, Rhino Entertainment and Warner Bros. Records Group.

As well as these distributors Warner Music Group has several subsidiaries. On these subsidiaries come a range of acts specialising in different genre. Artists on Warner Music Group includes: Paramore (who are owned by Fueled by Ramen which is on distributed by Atlantic Records Group) and Muse (who are owned by Warner Bros. Records).

Guardian - Universal Music's £1.2bn acquisition marks end of the road for EMI, Universal and Sony reach deal to buy EMI for £2.5bn, Universal Music to buy EMI's recorded music division for £1.2bn
Wikipedia - The Big Four, Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group,

Music Video Deconstruction 3

Band: Emmure
Song: Solar Flare Homicide
Year: 2011

  • I will begin this deconstruction by stating that the video for this song is pretty much entirely performance-based, with no narrative. 
  • The video begins, and, in keeping with a way the editing is done, with a series of close-ups of most band members; a close up of the vocalist who is in shot for most of the video, a quick zoom out from a close up of the drummer, as the introduction of the song is mainly focused on the drums. A similar shot is then shown of the lead guitarist playing, with the initial one on his instrument, then a close up of him. 
  • After these few establishing shots, there are a series of overhead ones, featuring high angles, of the rhythm guitarist and the bassist. 
  • Another thing to note at this point is that the audience in which the band are playing to is significant, and are shown in the first few seconds of the opening. The band members themselves are depicted playing within the crowd itself rather than the normal view of playing in front of them, as they would in a gig. This breaks convention in a notable way. 
The initial shots of the whole audience, with band members scattered around, highlighted.
  • As soon as the vocals come in to the song, the lighting suddenly changes; it switches rapidly from a standard, yellowish glow to a blazing orange, in keeping with the lyrics "I see a fire in the SKY" upon which aforementioned element is depicted in the video.
  • There are, in this video, a large variety of close-ups, most of which focus on the instruments. Similarly, there is also a lot of audience participation during the vocals, and members of the audience, donning the band's t-shirts are seen screaming the lyrics to the camera along with the band member.
  • As well as the lighting effects when it comes to visuals, the makers of the video also included some sort of CGI overlay during some of the shots. For example, there is an outline of a circuit board flashed very briefly on screen during the beginning of the first verse. 

  • As the video progresses, there are many different shots;  mid shots of the audience singing along and dancing, close-ups of the band members and their instruments, and many ariel and high shots, as well as some binary opposition involving low shots. During mostly instrumental parts, the instruments themselves are normally depicted a lot through mid and close shots.
  • During the heaviest part of the song, about 3 quarters of the length in, the camera focuses on primarily the audience rather than the band, featuring many long shots and mid shots of various guys moshing and fighting along to the music.
Some guy about to get a mouthful of foot.

  • The video ends with a series of high-angle shots, done on a crane, of the audience and the band performing the outro of the song, with intermittent shots of instruments and the band members themselves.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Music Video Deconstruction 2

Song: Burnt Tongues
Band: Your Demise
Year: 2009

  • This music video begins in a rather intriguing way; there is a dutch angle featuring the (now former) vocalist walking down a hallway. There is a grainy, dreary filter effect used in this shot, implying it was shot using a security camera or CCTV of some sort, and the band and the song's titles are typed out in green computer text below.
  • The camera then changes to a low shot/mid/close up of the vocalist walking down the hallway, and there are intermittent uses of dutch angles and extreme close ups of his face, and blurry and grainy filters.
  • The rest of the band are then portrayed in this fashion, with the guitarist walking outside with a mysterious case (obviously his guitar but used to signify a gun of some sort)
  • Another shot integrating the use of convetional CCTV effects is used, portraying a long shot of the vocalist and guitarist obviously organising some questionable deal. 
  • There are then close ups of various band members who have all rendezvoused putting on black balaclavas, making them appear scary and daunting, obviously using the British gangster archetype. 
  • A noticeable red tint is also used frequently here.
  • There are also a lot of POV shots of the driver and singer in the front of the van, and a zoom-in is used when another hooded figure starts approaching them with a baseball bat. 
  • It is here that the performance aspect of the video begins; the vocalist is portrayed in front of the camera screaming down a mic, and a wide variety of shots are used to portray this, including close ups, extreme close ups, mid shots, and at frequent uses, what I suspect is a chest harness camera angle. Once a few seconds of performance have passed, the video for Burnt Tongues then switches rapidly between the narrative, which seems to involve the band being beaten senseless by thugs, or the band beating eachother up (it's hard to tell with all the fast editing) and them performing live.
  • As the video progresses, there are more and more shots of the vocalist running away from what's happening, by using a chest harness-mounted camera and showing close ups of his terrified face.
  • A majority of the video is shot using handheld cameras, a perfect example being the camera following the vocalist as he sprints through some woodland.
  • It is around 1:30 in the video where the audience is depicted; there are circle/mosh pits everywhere and people having a good time, generally 15-20 year olds, at a hardcore show, audiences like these are often used a lot in metal videos.                                               
  • As usual, a large amount of the video is shot with a certain filter to make the footage look grimy and dirty, in fitting with the song and the band's hardcore image.
  • Within the performance aspect, there are frequent close ups of the band playing their instruments as well. 
  • Obviously the singer is lip-synching, but there are zoom-ins of the audience members singing along to the song as well, often done in black and white. There are actually two narratives of the band playing, one in a dark room with only them shown, and the other featuring a live show and the audience.
  • Towards the end of the video, the CCTV camera is revealed to be being used by another masked individual, being shown through a close-up.
  • The last still of the video is a stencil of the band's famous logo, with the computerised green text from the start being shown again, as "To be continued".
Here is the video on Vimeo. I would embed the YouTube clip but WMG forbids distribution this way.

Your Demise 'Burnt Tongues' from You Know on Vimeo.