Saturday, 13 June 2009

"Unfinished Symphony" by Massive Attack from 1991

"The video for "Unfinished Sympathy" was directed by Baillie Walsh, and filmed in January 1991 on West Pico Boulevard between S. New Hampshire Avenue and Dewey Avenue in Los Angeles, California. It features Shara Nelson walking along the sidewalk, unaware or uncaring of her surroundings, which includes drunks, gangs, bikers and the three members of Massive Attack (Robert Del Naja, Grant Marshall and Andrew Vowles). It was one of the earliest music videos to use one continuous shot. The video was later paid homage to in the music video for The Verve's song "Bitter Sweet Symphony"." The art director for the video was Leigh Bowery. (source: Wikipedia)

A classic example of a simple, but effective music video. Notice the use of forms: the music video's genre ( soul/early "trip-hop" ) and its urban realism; the fact that it is a concept video and not a performance one (studio-based) one; the mainly documentary style of its camerawork, editing, lighting, mise-en-scene and visual style. Conventions are what one would usually associate with this genre of music.: urban landscapes, outstanding vocals, etc. black performers, American inner city settings, etc. Check out Andrew Goodwin's list of things to look out for when analysing music videos. You can then apply the same criteria to your music videos ( In the planning and production and presentation stages.)

A2 Media | Music Video Production
Goodwin’s music video analysis

Andrew Goodwin writing in ‘Dancing in the Distraction Factory’ (Routledge 1992)

1. Music videos demonstrate genre characteristics
(e.g. stage performance in metal video, dance routine for boy/girl band).

2. There is a relationship between lyrics and visuals
(either illustrative, amplifying, contradicting).

3. There is a relationship between music and visuals
(either illustrative, amplifying, contradicting).

4. The demands of the record label will include the need for lots of close ups of the artist and the artist may develop motifs which recur across their work (a visual style).

5. There is frequently reference to notion of looking (screens within screens, telescopes, etc) and particularly voyeuristic treatment of the female body.

6. There is often intertextual reference (to films, tv programmes, other music videos etc).

Consider also whether the video is a concept or a peformance music video, or perhaps a combination of the two.

Getting the passers-by not to react was a bit of a stretch. But realism generated was effective. Student-made videos do not need to be as simple as this yet in simplicity there is genius.

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