Friday, 20 June 2008

Joel Trussell "Gained the World" & "Enjoy the Ride" Morcheeba

Given that in my pending file there are music videos for the Radiohead/ Aniboom competition and a Steve Smith piece that won at Annecy there’s a bit of a sound bonanza to come on the Animation Blog. Nothing better though than this first of two posts about Joel Trussell. I’m going to start with Joel’s latest complete animation for Morcheeba. I remember the first two vocalists, Skye Edwards and Daisy Martey, though I confess I lose track of the band’s membership apart from the brothers, Paul and Ross Godfrey. Two lovely voices though in French vocalist Manda and Judie Tzuke and, for continuity's sake, the same animator. The two story lines first. Gained the World is the latest video for the band. Bald guy wants hair to compete with the hulks he sees in the magazines, buys a wig from an odd shop that, like Pinocchio's nose, grows and grows attracting something of an entourage, including notably a boy with scissors. Enjoy the Ride has a group of rather sinister looking animals (or maybe cute, I can't make my mind up) breaking into a graveyard and summoning up through their incantations and spells rather more than they bargained for. The first is very funny (the guy reminds me of UK comedian Harry Hill), the second has a sense of wonder about it though there is an undeniable hard edge too. Joel employs the same Flash-based 2D technique in both animations which simply zip along, Joel's wit and inventiveness keeping this particular fan engaged. We are transported to a different world, surfing the gulf stream accompanied by ghouls or drowning in a sea of flowing red hair. His drawing style, effortlessly animated - though I'm sure it only seems effortless - are caricatured cartoons sometimes in close-up, maybe silhouetted for variety's sake; then there are the set pieces: the stream of hair trailing down the street from the guy on his bicycle, the animals whisked up in a spiral of air into the heavens, or we view a hilly cemetery and bonfire, viewed from afar as a diminutive Stonehenge. Despite the frenetic pace of the thing and our enjoyment of the journey on bike and suftboard, we want to find out what's going to happen at the destination. In fact the denouement in both cases is pretty cool. The links above to the movies are to high quality versions for download though you can view the pair on YouTube - Enjoy the Ride & Gained the World. I did try and claim Joel for the UK but in fact he is a resident of Knoxville, Tennessee and: "I've lived here and freelanced for nearly 6 years after starting my career off in Seattle as an animation director." More of Joel's exceptional work later early next week.

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