Update: A slightly rewritten version of this article is available at http://www.trancefix.nl/content.php?908-I-want-more-futuristic-cool-nerdy-videos-in-electronic-music – There’s also a whole bunch of awesome videos in the comments.
Modern day electronic music videos: meh.
Come on, seriously. Here we have electronic music – one of the finest abstract storytelling mediums ever. Sounds that don’t exist naturally in our world, meticulously combined to paint a sequence of surrealistic mind images, to unlock the awesome asset that is the human imagination! And what do the videos look like?
(For the record, I’m mostly talking about trance/techno/house type music, since that’s where I “come from”.)
- In the club. Fair enough, there are lasers, strobes, smoke machines and colours. That’s cool, since it kind of relates to the technological and surrealistic music. But what’s up with all the people in it though? I see enough people as it is – I want to escape reality in the song’s duration. My imagination isn’t triggered by seeing people jumping up and down, all facing a guy who looks like he’s checking his e-mail or doing tech maintenance.
- Romantic drama. Autotuned vocalist pretending to sing, while looking away. Stylish guy looking down, silently being sad and boring over his break-up. Occasional pictures of song’s producer, looking like he’s checking e-mail (DJing 21st century-style). Seriously, what the hell is this crap? It upsets me, and makes me physically unwell. Like in the above example, there’s people in the video, which is bad enough. Not only that, but they manage to create a video showing the worst kind of sequences with people in them. It’s like my imagination is withering along with my faith in humanity.
- Boring environment. Some bizarre incident occurs. People that don’t look like they should be dancing start to dance. Can be entertaining, slightly funny, but definitely doesn’t do the imagination justice. And, as mentioned above: Too many damn people.
I’m not going to mention any names (why would you even want to watch such boring videos anyway?). I’ll rather focus my energy on what I do like.
Bring on the science-fiction videos instead!
Spaceships! Foreign planets! Scientific advancements! Dreaming! All delightfully envisioned through computer graphics – sticking with images that don’t exist in the world around us, just like with the sounds in electronic music. This is awesome! Imagination to the fullest! Explaining how this is better for electronic music than the abovementioned doo-doo is a bit redundant. This is what was popular in the ’90s.
Example: Astral Projection – The Prophecy (and a couple of other ones)
Clip 1: Abovementioned “in the club” video (thumbs down) Fair enough, it’s from an actual event, not an official music video. It illustrates my point though. Just seeing people jumping up and down doesn’t do it justice at all, like clip 2 does.
Clip 2: Awesome kick-ass science-fiction galore! Now we’re talking! This is exactly the imagery to go with such a song. All the colours, imagination, surroundings, the excitement from seeing the unknown! Seeing this video gives me the same feelings I got when I first got exposed to trance music with DJ Phrenetic – Live at Goliath 6 (observe the awesome robot cover art!). Yes, the music is cool by itself, but there’s nothing quite like some computer-generated imagery to push it even further! I can barely sit still as I’m typing this! AW YEAH!
Also, do a search for “demoscene” on YouTube, and you’ll be pleased:
And much much more. It’s easy to get lost once you get going at YouTube, as was the case during the writing of this article. :)
For me, this is what electronic music is all about; dreaming. It’s not about people jumping up and down, romantic dramas or chuckle-funny dance videos.
There’s a lot more such videos available at the following link: http://www.youtube.com/user/astralseeker (I really enjoy the Goa Ambient and Goa Trance lists).
What does your music make you see?
When you’re making a tune by yourself in your small bedroom (like I am); think about what kind of video you would like your tune to convey. If you want to get people moving, and exploring the realms of rhythm, then perhaps imagining a club is an ok thing to do. In nearly all cases however, I strongly imagine it to be a lot more fun if you make up elaborate stories. All sounds can be used to describe looks, textures, smell, movement, sense of space, interaction, emotion, characters, facial expressions and so on. The visual aspect of electronic music is immensly powerful and fun. Enjoy constructing worlds!
Final note: If you’re making a dubstep video, please consider having some kick-ass computer graphics to go with it. Dubstep sounds like laz0rz and robots; not like people partying or going through a break-up.