by Marc Rickenbach

Continuing our celebration of music videos leading up to ÉCU’s inaugural Best European Music Video 2011 award, we take a look at some of our favorite animated and craft-savvy clips currently out there.

The stylized live performance has been the go-to concept since music videos hit the scene some thirty years ago. Many lack a narrative, and if they do they tend to be trite and directly reference lyrics. In most cases we’ve built a sort of immunity to these, but in the last decade or so, with the help of software and filmmaking equipment becoming more accessible, videos have taken on the qualities of short, and often, experimental films. Here are a few of the many that standout:

The Dreamy:

Little Dragon – “Twice”:

Take a look at Sweden’s Little Dragon who makes use of puppetry in their video for “Twice.” Not much more than cloth and paper, the video holds up as a dreamy, hallucinatory narrative short and the band itself takes a background role. In fact, the band even acted as the puppet masters as director Johannes Nyholm brought it together.

The Trippy:

WhoMadeWho “I Lost My Voice” :

Scandinavia’s WhoMadeWho turn to experimental video art for their “I Lost My Voice” video. Using paper cut-outs and manipulating them in post-production, we’re left with a kaleidoscope of colors and shapes that ends up being pretty entertaining, despite its simplicity.

The Artsy:

Hold Your Horses “70 Million” :

Sounding more like a band straight out of the Midwest, French group Hold Your Horses! have crafted one of the more original videos in the last few years. Drawing from influences that currently hang in the Louvre and various other museums around the world, HYH! recreate famous paintings with themselves as subjects. It’s a playful take on the performance video and definitely worth all the labor intensive work it took to set up these scenes.

The Psychedelic

Breakbot “Baby I’m Yours” :

French DJ, producer and short filmmaker, Breakbot’s new video for “Baby I’m Yours” is a Casino Royale-like clip that mixes live action rendered to look like watercolor and original animation that makes you think you just fell back into some sort of modern day Studio 54. The only thing not to like about this one is that it isn’t playing on an IMAX screen.

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