Fjögur piano | Music Video by Sigur Ros
Icelandic post-rock band Sigur Rós has earned its place in the pantheon of great contemporary music, with a signature ambient sound often being heralded as Art. For their newest venture, Valtari, the band gave a dozen film makers the same budget and absolute free reign to interpret any song from the album, and what we get is a series of videos that provoke the senses.
One video featuring the track Fjögur Piano generated quite a bit of controversy, as it shows American actor Shia LaBeouf in the buff (sorry, had to do that) and in something completely different from the commercial films we’ve seen him in. The video was directed by Alma Har’el, acclaimed music video director who directed the stunning video of Beirut’s Elephant Gun, amongst other ethereal works.
I veered from being surprised, nonplussed, intrigued, and then kind of subdued and relaxed while watching Har’el’s interpretation of Fjögur Piano. I cannot avoid using the word “weird” to describe it, because that’s what it is – weird and surreal and fascinating. It’s not so much the nudity that draws my attention, but the raw, primal energy that evokes a kind of otherworldly fantasy. Many have expressed their views on it being art, not art at all, or utter rubbish, and most are as confounded as I am. But one thing holds true – this video jogs the senses and takes the mind to lesser-known places.
Har’el states that the story is about “addiction to drugs, or sex, or anything – and how you get stuck in a cycle”, and I must admit that I hadn’t interpreted it that way at all. But the band has said that “we never meant our music to come with a pre-programmed emotional response. We don’t want to tell anyone how to feel and what to take from it”, and I guess it applies here as well. For me, the animalistic nuances and overall chimerical quality of the videoscape makes me think of dreams, especially those that reveal the dregs of the subconscious mind. It’s weird, but weird is always good. What do you think?
– Kelly Koo
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