Director John Morrison’s work hearkens back to the Golden Age of Music Videos.
Recently I had the wonderful opportunity to interview Steve Kilbey from Australian alt-rock legends ‘The Church‘,where we discussed his excellent recent solo album The Idyllist. (Click here to read the interview)
While researching for the interview I discovered a video for the single ‘African Jesus‘, shot by video director John Morrison. I checked out several other videos that he’s done (via his YouTube Channel) and enjoyed them so much, I decided they warranted a review.
‘African Jesus‘ hearkens back to the early days of MTV, when video directors made the most out of limited budgets; using stock footage mixed with grainy black and white performance footage. It gives an added texture and feel to the song, perfectly fitting its nostalgic vibe.
His video for All India Radio’s ‘Afterlight‘ (featuring Martin Kennedy) is a transcendental piece of work, with one long shot of a full moon. It’s offset by subtle color mutations and the adjustment of the outer frame which dips up and down, giving the feeling of an eyeball blinking, as if becoming drowsily hypnotized by the moon’s glow.
The video for The Bat’s “Spacejunk” has great whimsy too it. The band members flicker on and off the screen, or double up and split into segments, augmented by a moon and a flying saucer which drifts in and out of frame. It perfectly meshes with their jangley space-rock.
Michael McDaeth’s “Everything American” has wonderful animation that suggests the late 70’s style of kid shows like “School House Rock” , but even more hallucinogenic. It’s interspersed with what looks to be a 1940’s gangster serial.
Tape Off’s ‘Hell Comes To Frogtown” (kudos for the Rowdy Roddy Piper reference) distorts images from a dance routine from a 30’s era film. It mixes surprisingly well with their clanging garage rock.
It’s a shame that the music video is given short shrift these days, given channels like MTV are more obsessed with wretched reality shows. Luckily we have video directors like Morrison who continue to carry the flame for a unique art form that when used correctly, elevates the musical material that it features.
You can check out more music videos by John Morrison on his YouTube page, which you can view by clicking here. And if you’re a musician who’d like to work with him, you can email him by clicking here.