Creating an interesting, engaging, or exciting music video is no easy trick. In some ways, it sometimes can be as challenging as creating the song that its showcasing. While the audio end is covered, filmmakers or video creators have to conjure up a visual representation of the track being featured that either compliments, interprets, or accentuates it while telling a story of sorts and being an work of art on its own.
And if you're a local band, things get even more complicated given the limited resources that one has at their disposal. Everyone would love to make something as spectacular or grandiose as that bizarrely unforgettable video for "Turn Down for What," but don't have cash to burn.
See also: Tempe's Simply Three Cover Janelle Monáe With the Help of Her Backing Musicians However, if you've got access to a visionary filmmaker who's able to create a memorable music vid on a shoestring budget, sometimes the results can be excellent. The following five music videos that were released by local acts and artists over the last couple months are perfect examples of such and are worth watching. At the very least, each will only take up three minutes or so of your time.
"Two Weeks" - Mouse Powell
The music videos starring this Tempe hip-hop artist and resident emcee for the Blunt Club go beyond featuring his latest track. A definite sense of place and location is encapsulated in each, almost like a video diary of sorts that captures a slice of his life at a certain moment. In 2012, the excellent vid for "Holding Home" showed off arts and culture landmarks from around the Valley while Powell raps about being proud to be from Arizona.
With "Two Weeks," he covers the pressure and stress of being away from home while touring and counting the hours before he's reunited with his loved ones ("Torn between a decision, a destination, and a wife"). The video is filled with footage from life on the road and being in far-flung destinations that's mixed with halcyon-like imagery of good times with friends and family, It's emblematic of the often lonely life of a performer who's where he wants to be professionally, but maybe not personally.
Emby Alexander - "Manières"
This near-four minute video could best be described as quirky, not to mention arty, funny, and colorful. It's pastiche of footage from throughout European cities such as Amsterdam, Paris, and London alternates between vignettes of Emby Alexander's musicians portraying an increasing bizarre series of characters doing from everything lighting pipes, getting too close to cacti, wielding Moltov cocktails, and bearing stigmata wounds. There's also glimpses of lace being torn from a female form, which we assume relates to the songs lyrics about "Your morals clung to clothes/And so I tear them off."
jaguarsun - "Guatemala"
Yes, we understand the fact that this enigmatic EDM producer with a penchant for naming his projects after Central American locations sorta lives in both Phoenix and Orange County (we think), but the fact that he's from Phoenix and this video was clearly shot around the Valley makes it worthy of inclusion in this list. And no, we're not only including it because it features a gorgeous, barely dressed woman writing about and eye-fucking the camera. There's other eye candy about in the form of the elegant cinematography by filmmaker Marcus Eden, as well as the fact that the track itself if a quite listenable piece of ambient electronica.
Luna Aura - "Too Young Too Die"
Matty Steinkamp, owner of local label Sundawg Records, has a particular talent for creating memorable and utterly watchable visual feasts to accompany the songs of Phoenix artists. To wit: the video for "Killing Me" by decker. captured the emotional battlefield of a tempestuous relationship while his vision for Dry River Yacht Club's "The Legend of El Tigre" followed the band participating in the annual All Souls Procession in Tucson was shot in documentary fashion with handheld cameras that we couldn't get enough of seeing.
Such is the case with Steinkamp's video for newly arrived local songstress Luna Aura and her debut track "Too Young Too Die." It's an enticing mélange of a trippy ambient beatscape of "cosmic hip-hop electronica" produced by Aura that's accentuated with her sumptuously entrancing vocals. The ambling visuals conjured by Steinkamp of the gorgeously glam singer prancing about in finery and tiaras are befitting of the laidback nature of the song, the first off her upcoming EP, which focuses on the trappings, gleeful freedom, and ineffectual nature of youth.
Japhy's Descent - "Owl"
Okay, we admit to being suckers for both hand-drawn animation in music videos (dating back to the days of "Take On Me" by A-ha) as well as anything having to do with owls. (It's a noble bird of prey, dammit, regardless of how much its been embraced by the hipster crowd.) Such a creature, rendered in black and white ink-like lines, gazes into your soul and is emblematic of sorts for the earnest, emotionally tinged rock song's metaphorical use of birds and flight to symbolize relationships. The rest of the animation from the video is also quite excellent.
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