MUSIC | I wouldn't want you any other way

Monday 28 February 2011

A shot from the opening sequence of the video for Tool - 'Stinkfist'
I'm a big fan of the US rock/alternative metal/art rock band Tool. Their songs caused some controversy when they were aired on radio and music television; their 'suggestive' song and album titles were thought to be too much for the public, and several of their songs had their names changed when aired (including the song at the bottom, excuse the pun, 'Stinkfist' from the triple platinum selling Aenima, released in 1996 and dedicated to satirist Bill Hicks). Their music is not to everyone's taste - whether due to musical style or the barely veiled references to (amongst other things) anal fisting; I don't know, because either way I think they're great. If people are put off by their lyrics or song titles, I would reccommend giving them a second glance, because often with these bands it's not always about the 'surface'.
Screenshots 2-5
However, one of my favourite elements of the band is the videos produced for their songs. The video at the bottom was nominated for a Grammy for best music video: the band have also been nominated for Grammy's for Best Metal Performance (twice), winning both; Best Hard Rock performance (twice) and Best Recording Package (twice), winning once.

The video was made by the band's guitarist, Adam Jones - voted 75th Greatest Guitarist of all time by Rolling Stone magazine, and placed 9th in Guitar World's top 100 Metal Guitarists. Generally a pretty cool guy - it gets better. He played classical violin and acoustic bass, before playing bass in a band with Tom Morello (of Rage Against the Machine). He learned guitar entirely by ear.

If that wasn't enough, he was offered a scholarship to study film, turned it down to study art and sculpture and then began to work as a special effects designer for film, learning stop motion techniques that he applied to many of Tool's videos. He worked on effects for Jurassic Park, Terminator 2, Ghost Busters 2, Predator 2, and A Nightmare on Elm Street 4 & 5. That's a pretty varied CV.
Screenshots 6-9
At Art school today we began creating rotoscopes; hand-drawn animations based on video footage. Cue people choosing skiing, breakdancing etc. However, I knew exactly what I had in mind... Stinkfist. Placed at number 6 in Scuzz's viewers 'Top 50 videos of All Time' and number 1 in their 'Top 10 Most Fucked Up Videos'. High praise indeed.

One of my favourite shorts, I couldn't find fault with this stop-motion. Jones came up with the tattoo-like skins for the 'sand-people' himself. I love the creepy, dark imagery in the video, the slightly off-kilter faces of the figures, the blacked-out irises, the peeling skin and the overall high contrast blue tone. I escpecially enjoyed the scene where one of the 'sand-men' pulls back the doors in the wall, and reveals figures seemingly suspended in fluid, as if in gestation. It reminded me of the part in Moon - a sci-fi psycho-thriller starring Kevin Spacey and Sam Rockwell - definitely a must-see - on the lower, 'out-of-bounds' deck (I realise that is a slightly obscure reference, but I'd like to avoid spoiling the film for anyone who hasn't seen it.) I've picked out nine of my favourite shots from the video in the pictures featured in this post. Great special effects and editing, and some awesome music to go along with it.

Now if only I could learn to make things like that...

My as-yet unfinished rotoscope has a lot to live up to.

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