VIDEO PREMIERE: twig twig - Only One

Phillipe Roberts

The art-pop delicacies Brooklyn’s Zubin Hensler creates as twig twig are playful in production and generous in melody, grasping for personal truth with eager fingers through plush, psychedelic soundscapes. Owing no small debt to his extensive work in scoring for film and television, the songs have always played cinematic—bubbly and bright with a penchant for cartoonish left-turn transitions. On his latest album, darkworld gleaming, Hensler goes for broke, releasing his most animated collection yet. Cut from the same carnivalesque Technicolor cloth as Kishi Bashi or a digitized Grizzly Bear, darkworld gleaming is as tender as it is adventurous.

The intimate vocal performances and woozy, aquatic instrumental textures of “Only One” capture this dichotomy precisely, and the track finally has a video to match. Hand-drawn overlays are applied over reels of film, translating the song’s fizzed-out, grainy quality quite literally. Gooey red letters slide by, hardly synced up to the beat as they’re met with footage of leafy plants and a bus driving backwards, nonsensical questions, and a bizarre cameo by Woody from Toy Story growing a five o’ clock shadow in sequence. It’s a charming, whimsical portrait of the song. Unconcerned with keeping a grip on reality, twig twig free-associates into a marvelous new wonderland.

VIDEO PREMIERE: Chris Thompson - Lot Hero「wasuremono mix」

Will Shenton

Though it takes place in a surreal, oceanic world, video artist Jonathan William Turner's accompaniment to Chris Thompson's "Lot Hero" creates a sense of emergent narrative that makes it hard to tear yourself away. As the opening percussion and giggling voices are transfigured into the skeleton of the song, the camera jumps around an abstract pattern of waves and ripples. It begins to slowly pull back, revealing that this dynamic texture has manifested in the shape of a cat.

This is the first of many similar scenes, which, when accompanied by Thompson's hypnotic, otherworldly electronics, seem to show us not a series of mundane objects, but perhaps their platonic ideals. A stuffed rabbit, a chair, a boot, a mannequin, and a dozen other shapes are rendered alien by watery distortion. The animations are beautiful, and as each movement of the seven-minute track pulls us deeper into the music—sometimes driving electronic percussion, sometimes orchestral synths, sometimes restrained piano interludes—the visuals compel us to invent a story.

These scattered, submerged objects eventually agglomerate into a sort of ball as if magnetized, and are sucked (or make their way voluntarily?) into a massive, surprisingly placid whirlpool, at which point they once again go their separate ways. According to the artists, this represents something universal: memories rising to the surface and merging, dreamlike, into our sense of self. It's a poetic notion, and one that lends itself to endless additional interpretations. Fortunately, this is such a beautiful video that it's no chore to study it over and over again.

Chris Thompson's new EP, Lot Hero, was released earlier this month.