Saturday, 10 May 2008

AniBoom & Radiohead & Karen Penman & Liam Brazier "Two times three times" (Reason or Romanza)

British animators Karen Penman and Liam Brazier together form the not insubstantial fledgling studio Little Nobody. Liam was largely responsibe for the studio's glorious video for Amplifico, Yeah, You can be my Muse , that fought its way into my Top Ten Animated Shorts for 2007. This was a computer animated, beautifully designed short with a conspicuous wit about it. The pair worked on another film What Cassandra Saw that married live footage with animation. Another of their works, Thou Shalt Always Kill, previewed via the link when short-listed for BAF07, was an altogether different movie with whole tins of graffiti sprayed on a wall and recently named as top rated video in the Babelgum Online Film Festival. And the reason for the history? Well, in addition to previewing their latest work I just wanted to point to one of those unsuccessful entries for the AniBoom/Radiohead competition that was in embryonic form and, as the studio's track record for diversity amd completion has shown, would have been glossed up for the final stages of the competition. Some of the very articulate contributors to the forum seem to suggest the only good videos are from fans of the band and/or individuals. Little Nobody is a small studio and their entry is as valid as an individual. Whether or not they are fans of Radiohead is immaterial for them or indeed any of the animators who submitted entries. Their take on Reckoner was entered in the spirit of the competition; that is, it was original, made within the time frame and very much in an unpolished form. I'm not claiming it should have got into the top ten, though it's as good as several there (and there are some equally good ones not short listed.) The key players, magpies, look at this early stage very much the quickly cut-out props they are though any trawl of the studio's website would have assured the organisers of the animators' bona fide credentials to move from cumbersome to winsome cut-outs as required. (I would personally have preferred to watch Liam and Karen's magpies strut their stuff than risk boredom as inconsequential clouds form in a dim room or coloured balls float in an underground parking lot.) Still, the Animation Blog exists to showcase animations I enjoy, it's not a forum. Should you be interested, however, in addition to the excellent forum run by AniBoom, try Adult Swim or Dig as examples brought to my attention in this morning's mailbox. By the way, Radiohead is an astonishingly intelligent band and also the band of the people so I'm sure they will be heartened to note that AniBoom allowed a man of the people to represent the company on the forum when reacting to intelligent concerns. And quickly onwards to a necessarily truncated review of Little Nobody's Two times three times for Reason or Romanza. It's a car ride along the out of season seafront of Southend - I think: windows open, views of sea and sparse day trippers, coloured origami creations materialising either on the back seat, or outside escorting the moving vehicle. Whether they be folding, hopping or flying, the stop frame figures are remarkably effective in adding something to the music. This is where another connection with the Radiohead competition comes in. Unlike some of the selected competition semi-finalists, the video and music form an organic whole. The electronic beat of the music is synchronised with the ever changing forms being created as if by magic on the car seats, or the passing figures strolling along the promenade, or the speeding car. Sometimes, as when a butterfly is formed, there is a beauty bestowed on the scene and always there is an edgy magic to the production. An imaginative, original approach. And finally, will those magpies ever fly again?


Liam Brazier said...

You may be interested to hear that the magpies will be making their appearance at the end of this month, minus some Radiohead, but flying all the same in a new animation!

Liam Brazier said...

The Magpies did indeed take flight - you can see them here;