Flying Lotus has been as sensitive to visual expression as to the leadership behind his label and musical circle, but it’s this fall that the rest of the world might know that, as the artist pulls out some music video grand slams. This week, it’s “Tiny Tortures” by director David Lewandowski. If FlyLo’s last album dealt with America’s domestic violence, this one – again, more poetic than preachy – plumbs the USA’s psyche, suggesting baseball dreams to amputation and war injuries.
As before, that is channeled into something that feels like pure imagination, set to FlyLo’s trippy, tight-cropped digital post-jazz fantasia.
Add in a team of effects masters (led by Dustin Bowser, visual effects, and cinemetographer Christian Sprenger), plus Elijah Woods working his unique wide-eyed wonder, and it’s hard to imagine anyone resisting.
Yet there’s something just as insightful, somehow, in watching the process video. Maybe it’s that we’ve become inured to visual effects – or, now with anyone able to access those tools, we can connect to the inner workings of how these things are made. Maybe our subconscious now looks not only Hollywood-slick, but is equally well expressed in stacks of stills and rough, pre-render visualizations. Maybe it’s the Web age, in which “how I did this” is as important as the result. Whatever the reason, check out the process video – set itself to music by Pearson Sound (“Clutch”) – and see if it isn’t, strangely, as moving as the end result. (As I write this, the two videos have roughly the same number of shares, and – while I have an absurdly biased sample – I saw people sharing the process vid more than the finished video. Food for thought.)
If David Lewandowski is attuned to effects and motion, it should come as little surprise: he’s both a director and animator. The Santa Monica-based director has plenty of other goodness to take in; see his site. That includes some of the most compelling motion work in the recent Tron: Legacy, and speaking of music videos, this lovely work for Friendly Fires – also, smartly, including a process video. Watch: