Saturday, September 22, 2012

Feeding People Music Video for "Island Universe" - Haunting Music and Dark Reveals

Music Video Review: "Island Universe" by Feeding People
by Robb Donker (contains spoilers)

Feeding People's "Island Universe" video as directed by Dick Thompson feels more cinematic than some full fledged movies. The opening sequence is a series of opposing shots of a barrel chested jogger (Philip Fracassi) running his paces through the pristine gloss of an upscale neighborhood as he listens to Feeding People's "Big Mother" cut against the sunburned dark dream like vision of Jesse Jones walking in a red dress and tattered stockings as she slowly makes her way to a cruel looking sea and sky. The jogger scene is bright and vivid but does not look happy. The other landscape is cold. Jesse slowly gazes up as if the sky holds something terrible. The nature around her is in a state of physical upheaval and she in a state of emotional decay. Murky crashing waves give way to clothed legs in a crystal clear swimming pool. The camera view raises out of the water and we see Luis Filliger play the opening guitar strains of "Island Universe."

This is the intriguing beginning of what, in the end, is a dark and disturbing narrative. Of course, much of the narrative has to be created in your own mind as there are only provocative glimpses on display. Seemingly dark pasts in the form of utter desert squalor, hints of infidelity or possibly even a random home invasion, a shard of glass and croquet mallet as tools of murder, slow motion bike rides, the family goldfish in a blender and diving in that pretty swimming pool fully clothed. The acts of violence are never seen but the aftermath is. Jesse sings next to the body of the "husband" in his white boxers and red socks with matching red blood and head wounds. We see Luis methodically ravage the contents of a refrigerator until he finds the beer can he wants. There is a particularly beautiful shot of the milk carton on it's side pulsating the milk out on the kitchen tile as the camera slowly floats over the floor only to reveal the comely "wife" whose body is in an obvious state or rigor mor·tis. She seems to be wearing the same red dress that Jesse is wearing in many scenes. That reveal is chilling.

Director Dick Thompson wields a skilled hand at pushing all the right creepy buttons. The choice of telling this horror story in a Tarantino out of turn kind of way works perfectly and the stayed emotions of the "husband" and his "wife" (played so well by Sami Martin Sarmiento) add to the creepiness as does the cold and callous performances by Jones and Filliger. You could cook up a hundred scenarios on how these four people collided with murderous results but one thing seems to be evident, all four characters emotionally died a long time ago. Piecing all these disparate pieces together is tricky within the time constraints of a music video but every frame is either a puzzle piece to the next possible scenario or is, itself, the act of turning over the playing card to reveal the murderous joker (or ace of spades). I absolutely love one of the ending shots as you see the still earthly "husband" and "wife" through the living room window as Jesse approaches their home in a dark blue dress. Their fate hinges on her finger's touch of the doorbell.

With credits rolling, the video ends with Filliger and Jones walking slowly up a dark dingy road against the Feeding People song "Closer" which (in tone) has a sweeping sound that might grace the ending of a Wes Anderson movie.

Apart from this video, the song "Island Universe" certainly has a sad undertow but can also feel fancy free and whimsical. The guitar melodies and rhythm with it's stair step notes has an almost gothic meets 60's tear jerker feel and Jesse Jones vocal performance has a dreamy tentative quality. When she phrases "forever... forever"- she could very well be a school girl being beckoned to sing by her mom or teacher. Jones has a lot of character in her voice. The words she sings carry a lot of emotional tug and baggage that pull at your heart strings and stir your soul. Pairing this song with the aforementioned images is either pretty damn brilliant or pretty damn sick depending on who you ask. One thing is for certain, the direction, casting, camera work, editing and acting all work together flawlessly. If I were to try to describe the directorial tone I would mention names like Richard Kelly and Paul Thomas Anderson.

Philosophers and psychiatrists can argue at length on why dark forms of media exist, of why tales of horror and murder have always seemed to be part of the human condition. I guess it is a safe way to exorcise one's demons. In the video for "Island Universe" you get to do so and listen to a beautifully haunting song at the same time.
Robb Donker

Feeding People - Island Universe from Wilcox Sessions on Vimeo.

"Island Universe" by Feeding People

Single out now on iTunes:

And as a vinyl 7":

Upcoming full length LP due out in early 2013. Produced by Hanni El Khatib and Jonny Bell of the Crystal Antlers. Mixed & engineered by Bobby Harlow.

Follow the Feeding People on Twitter:

Director: Dick Thompson
Producer: Menaka Gopinath
Exec. Producer: Nate Nelson, Jamie Strong
Prod Co: Wilcox Sessions
Label: Innovative Leisure

DP: Bryant Jansen
Editor: Dick Thompson
Written by: Philip Fracassi, Dick Thompson
Wardrobe Design: Sami Martin Sarmiento
Hair & Make-up: Stacey Miller
AC & B Cam Operator: Zach Osterhout
PA: Garrett Hughes
Sound Mixer: Danny Brin
Colorist: Bryant Jansen

Starring: Philip Fracassi, Sami Martin Sarmiento

Innovative Leisure

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