Jamie xx’s takeover of a Chinese replica of Paris, Years & Years’ unity of queer creatives, and Cassius’s fully interactive experience – we look at the must-see clips of July
This month’s best music videos vary in size and scope. On the one hand, Jamie xx uses a whole Chinese city and hundreds of extras in his ultra-cinematic video for “Gosh”. On the other, Klein achieves a similar emotional response in just a small East London living room. Here are our picks of July’s must-watch videos.
JAMIE XX – “GOSH”
Director Romain Gavras specialises in big, high concept music videos – see his controversial clip for M.I.A., or the cinematic excess of Kanye West and Jay Z’s “No Church In The Wild”. Even so, his video for Jamie xx’s In Colour track “Gosh” feels particularly impressive. Opening in a neon-lit, cyberpunk-ish chillout lounge, its protagonists don Oculus Rift-style headgear before appearing a strange, wasteland-like version of Paris. What’s remarkable about the video is that it uses no CGI and over 400 actors: it was actually shot in the city of Tianducheng, an uncanny replica of Paris constructed in the east of China, with the extras populating two huge skyscrapers and marching beneath a rusting Eiffel Tower.
YEARS & YEARS – “WORSHIP”
Years & Years singer Olly Alexander has used the platform granted to him by the group’s commercial success to explore and address the issues that he cares about. In the video for “Worship”, he works with a mostly LGBTQ cast and crew, including director Matt Lambert and choreographer Ryan Heffington, to create a united show of queer minds. Speaking to Dazed, Lambert explained how they wanted the video to counter “one-dimensional” depictions of queer characters frequently seen in the media. “They’re either tormented by their gayness, hypersexualised novelties, desexualised by depression or asexualised by their inability to find a boyfriend,” he said, “What’s brilliant is that, in a short period of time, we’ve built in Olly’s acting and Ryan’s choreography to create a story with emotional layers, conflicts and contradictions.”
ARCA – “SIN RUMBO”
“Sin Rumbo” is the first time that Venezuelan producer Arca has released a track that uses his own vocals, and the haunting, hymn-like results are stunning. But it takes on a new life when paired with its video. Directed by Jesse Kanda, who has helmed all of Arca’s videos to date (as well as a memorable visual for Björk’s “Mouth Mantra”, shot literally inside the singer’s mouth), the video features a single extreme close-up of Arca’s face, teeth blackened and cheeks bruised for reasons unknown, as he sings along to the track.
KLEIN – “MARKS OF WORSHIP”
South London-dwelling Klein is an emerging producer/vocalist building an abstract, experimental sound world. The video for “Marks of Worship” mirrors Klein’s enigmatic music, exploring her traditional Nigerian roots and religious family background. Shot and edited by Akinola Davies Jr. in a house in East London, the highly stylised short film depicts Klein stood frozen between celebrating relatives at a family gathering, and slowly builds to a crescendo of spiritual release. It’s a mystifying clip, but it’s captivating.
CASSIUS – “THE MISSING”
Cassius’s latest video is inventive. The conventional version of it, hosted on YouTube, follows various couples through an elaborate, neon-lit set as they cop off which each other – it’s cool, but not necessarily the most mindblowing thing you’ll see. However, once you watch it on its official website, it becomes fully interactive: the listener/viewer/user is able to change the actors with a click of a button, and in total there are over 100 combinations to be made with 20 different actors. The video’s producers, We Are From LA, have experience with this sort of thing: they previously shot Pharrell’s ambitious “24 Hours of Happy” videos.