Videos of 2013 - By Volume

I knew we'd never write. somehow that seemed alright. This counts as calling three years out. The Wrens - 13 Months in 6 Minutes

Videos of 2013

We can't help but point out a few favorites. Author: on December 20, 2013
Comments (0)

MohammadSakrifis (Beben Films)

Beben Films’ video for PAN experimentalists Mohammad is simple, melancholic and absolute. The droning cello and monk chants are accompanied by footage of a horse walking forwards through desolation with an air of unquestionable certainty. Steady but for sudden changes at inflections and new sequences, the camera scrutinises features so fascinatingly alien, such as the bobbing knees or the flaring nostrils, that unfathomable expression and occasional blink of the eyes compelling curiosity about the horse’s existence as watching becomes staring. The changing tone adds depth to texture and substance as the animal starts in stark contrast with the darkness, yet at times is surely blacker than its surrounding blackness. “Sakrifis” may as well be a visualisation of the Turin Horse, existing in Nietzsche’s nightmares and sending him over the edge – its immediately iconic imagery lingers long after viewing.  - Tayyab Amin

Jay ZPicasso Baby (Mark Romanek)

There’s something gloriously nonchalant about the way Jay Z can half-ass music and keep the money and the interest coming in, and at the same time declare art in the form of “Picasso Baby”. It’s gleefully self-indulgent, and the rounding-up of New York elite – the people that ‘matter’ – either leaves viewers in awe of their idols or shut out in the cold. Mark Romanek’s direction does successfully channel the room’s vivacity, blank but for the people and personalities filling the space, being creative with minimal props and plenty of the self. It also takes hip-hop well out of the context we tend to associate with it and places it into an environment that reveals the ridiculousness of braggadocio in honest, human-to-human circumstances to amusing results.  - TA

FKA twigsPapi Pacify (FKA twigs & Tom Beard)

The use of rewind and repetition, a staple that surfaces in many of FKA twigs’ videos, works as beautifully here as it does every time. She builds tension, but never quite releases it, teasing, reeling it back in at the last moment. This adds to the video’s disquieting uncertainty as it dances between sensuality, sexual energy and violence. It’s a video which reflects her individual style of trip hop and R&B, combining and contrasting the hard and the soft in both her sound and aesthetic.

- Milly Bradley-Newby

Fiona AppleHot Knife (Paul Thomas Anderson)

“Hot Knife” features a well and truly smitten Fiona Apple. Left alone with her own thoughts and dreams, watch her propel herself deeper down the rabbit hole as the song’s adulation evolves into utter devotion on screen. The clip delves well into the psych of the song, capturing the natural energy and innocence that runs through, but for that split second, a mischievous glint in her eye at, “I get feisty, whenever I’m with him!” Boasting the rare achievement of perfectly conveying the thrill of a chase and the freedom of embracing the moment, “Hot Knife” is a reminder of the power art can wield conducting the most impulsive, irresistible and rawest emotions: hope and joy.  - TA

Lil Ugly ManeThrow Dem Gunz (FR+ данные)

A man must do That Which He is Destined to Do. Our protagonist walks. He walks with intent, though what for remains a mystery. Is he walking towards something, or is he walking away? Roads turn into corridors, stone into snow. Days become nights become days. Does he walk to do good, or to sin? What, exactly, is it that drives a man on such a crusade? A gun remains in his right hand all along, by his side – neither conspicuous, nor concealed. He grips the pistol unwilling to let go, in spite of the cold world around him. He isn’t dressed for the weather. He walks in any direction, every direction, yet always onwards. At the top of the steps, he contemplates the city below, hood billowing in the wind. He freezes. François Ronald’s “Throw Dem Gunz” video is the most relatable clip of the year.  - TA

Sigur RósBrennisteinn (Andrew Huang)

Sigur Rós send a message in the opening seconds of “Brennisteinn”, something along the lines of “the old Sigur Rós is dead”. That happy, meandering stray that crafted the uplifting Með suð… and the brooding Valtari is absent. Kveikur doesn’t fully affirm this, but damn do those cascading highlights amongst black and white, that shot of a creature violently dragged by ensnaring rope, the band themselves wailing away in some barren wasteland – this is Hades’ underworld and Sigur Rós are the Boatmen. As the creature is ripped apart, disemboweled, its innards consumed, there’s a bull, Trojan even, plodding along the periphery. Though the video frequently emphasises the beast, only later when it rises from the fire to seemingly plow head-first into the moon do Sigur Rós reveal “Brennisteinn’s” true intentions. Symbolised by the bull’s reincarnation, Sigur Rós seem to assume a new form more formidable and stronger than ever before. If Kveikur is any indication, they are probably right.  - Dylan Siniscalchi

Omar SouleymanWarni Warni (Muscle Divas)

Omar Souleyman is the international musician of 2013 in terms of crossing from East to West – having already made a name for himself, he fully realised his role as an ambassador representing a side of Arab life left untapped by Western civilisation, redefining connotations of the keffiyah. Souleyman does this by way of pre-set actions I’d like to a wind-up action figure, with the aid of his partner-in-crime keyboard wizard. Souleyman takes his brand across the world, and this phenomenon is translated quite literally into the video. On a car. At the ice caps. Above the Statue of Liberty.  – TA

Bob DylanLike a Rolling Stone (Vania Heymann)

The TV is on. You’re channel-flicking and all the usual suspects appear whenever you switch shows, all singing Bob Dylan in perfect synergy. One channel follows Danny Brown around his daily routine, consisting of him just being in different places snacking on different things. I love 2013.  - TA

Los Campesinos!Avocado, Baby (Egg Productions)

Los Campesinos! are no strangers to excellent music videos. It’s fair to assert they have a knack for turning shit into gold – a good portion of their videos seem reasonably low-budget yet rarely lack in intrinsic visual or thematic hooks. “Avocado, Baby” might be their most expensive clip yet – the set fully developed, the cast sizeable for the production and plenty of effort invested in the camera’s single-shot path. This impresses from the off-set, and as guitars rumble in and the bass drum begins to pound we’re following diligently in tow of Gareth Campesinos! retreading his life.

To these eyes, this is Gareth’s path: from his handsome young replacement, to witnessing the celebration of his own demise, from a suicide attempt to murdering the dick shoe-horned in to supplant him. Accepting short-comings as a means to find salvation alludes to the LC! story, pumping out mini-zines, creating gifts for their fans and avoiding most mainstream backlash for the entirety of their careers. Sure, a little advertising money from Inbev didn’t hurt, but the shit-eating grin on Gareth’s face as he walks through fire into the sunlight isn’t down to guilt. LC! stand behind their sentiments even as they stare down the barrel-to-thirty. With No Blues, the band truly became The Gareth Show – “Avocado, Baby” serves to confirm the band’s self-awareness and we should all be happier for it.  - DS

Julianna BarwickOne Half (Zia Anger)

In the first shot of “One Half” Julianna Barwick’s eyes open, though there’s detail in the simplicity: they struggle to open prior to doing so, the eyelids moving downwards, then shivering, before she’s awake. It’s a fitting scene for a song that finally reveals Barwick, taking years of groundwork laid with her ambient sheen and sharp operatic vocals, and making her explicit. All this, because it’s the first time we hear her lyrics – delightfully vague, but in focus nonetheless: “I guess I was asleep that night / just waiting for”, she repeats, like a broken mantra. Like eyes searching for sunlight in the morning, it’s a lyric that has to be built to, phasing in with quiet obscurity, and fading out into a record of music more typical of Barwick.

Watching the dichotomy of “One Half” unfold is quite something, considering that the song is responsible for opening up Barwick. Half of the video speaks to her magical affection for nature, and to the record’s landscaping, picturing her knife as it slashes violently into forest shrubbery. The other half resides in the human element, Barwick stood still and meditative in an empty car park, ritualistically opening and closing her eyes. “One Half” might seem straightforward but it’s necessary for Nepenthe, a significant symbol: For one brief, wonderful moment, Barwick let us in, and then floated back into her very own dream.  - Robin Smith

Local NativesYou & I (Daniel Portrait with Kamp Grizzly)

Walking into “You & I”, one expects a heart wrenching tale of loss – a man pushes past press at a hospital, “Sandra Hamilton in Critical Condition” flashes the newscast, faces are cast downwards by the doctor’s ill tidings. Soon it’s evident this isn’t your run-of-the-mill tale of love and loss; Sandra is the world’s last dog. The world fears for the worst as her condition worsens, though one man believes canines still roam the Earth – and he’s going to find them. ‘Clever’, ‘touching’ and even ‘fun’ don’t do the video enough justice, conquering all trades with a worthy finale; The leaps and bounds that amounted to the video is representative of Local Natives’ evolution, and “You & I” is sure to win over your heart – dog-person or not.  - DS

DrakeStarted from the Bottom (Director X)

Having a baller rap video is of crucial importance, especially when it’s for a single that shoulders the bulk of an album campaign. Sure, you can critique the culture or throw a spanner in the works with a parody or whatever but anti-rap videos are as much a cliché as typical rap video themselves. So if you’re Drake, the next move is to take things up a level and prove you’re reached the tier you’ve aspired to all these verses. Past the gold chains, there’s that haute couture, finer-things-in-life freedom to back up your obnoxiousness. It’s about as Drake as a Drake video could get, everything from the Bentley in the blizzard to strutting in front of his own billboard hundreds of feet in the sky, all the while showing love to his hometown. It’s raining confetti in the supermarket, private jets and golf carts leads to the villa with some sly direction as the camera pans left for what feels like all the time. Oh, and of course there’s a terribly unfunny skit thrown in for good measure.  - TA

Pusha TNosetalgia (Def Jam)

The great thing about the “Numbers on the Boards” video was that it kept the focus on Pusha T. Akin to Pusha’s songs, it was raw, up-front and in your face. The trend continues on “Nosetalgia”, though now combined with my favourite directorial trope: the long take. The black-and-white camera never blinks as it follows the storyteller through an uncannily empty Compton in the dark, before a certain Kendrick Lamar eases in to drag skeletons out of the closet. The single shot is seamless and the artists give each other just the right amount of space in an endlessly watchable clip.  – TA

Jessy LanzaKathy Lee (Lee Skinner)

Jessy Lanza appears throughout the video for “Kathy Lee”, though she never fully reveals herself; Her elusiveness is a perpetual tease that channels the song’s enshrouded love. That feeling of floating on clouds is depicted in the form of Hamilton, Ontario’s very own local celebrity, Jed “The Dancing Guy”. Jed dances instead of walks, shirking the predefined societal implications of how we traverse our environments, letting his adoration and appreciation of life take hold of his body. It’s innocent, infectious and a joy to behold.  – TA

Oneohtrix Point NeverBoring Angel (John Michael Boling) / Still Life (Betamale) (Jon Rafman)

I am not well-equipped enough with language and expression to adequately convey why you need to watch these videos, so I’ll have to settle with, “You need to watch these videos.” “Boring Angel” is a wonderful modern fairytale shown through emojis and nought else, perfectly capturing the self-aware humour of its music.

“Still Life” focuses on some very NSFW aspects of subcultures that have found the internet more homely than the public world outside in an audiovisual experience that truly justifies such a tag, refusing to be ignored no matter how seemingly horrifying in what is perhaps a commentary on our inability to turn off the screen.  - TA

You might like...


Majical Cloudz - Impersonator
read more
Jon Hopkins - Immunity
read more
Forest Swords - Engravings
read more
Chance The Rapper - Acid Rap
read more
The National - Trouble Will Find Me
read more
KW Griff
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. - I Have A Dream (KW Club Edit)
read more
read more
The Cape Race - Digging For Gold
read more

Stay on top of the best new music!

By Volume Weekly is a digest of the newest, sharpest music across genres and boundaries. We'll send you one easy email a week and nothing else. Just tap in your details below and you're ready to go.
* indicates required