Friday, 16 October 2009

Alasdair Brotherston & Jock Mooney "Bottom of the River" (Tom Fun Orchestra 2009)

Bottom of the River: it is an evening to savour, dusk by the river, owl overhead, birds still feeding over the water. Into this idyll arrives a dumper truck, warning siren blasting out, reversing along a jetty and disgorging its cargo of effluence into the river. Whilst the junk sinks to the bottom, the driver has a smoke and attention is focused on the waste bags that sprout mouths and sing. I like the music of Canada’s Tom Fun Orchestra: “We are all at the bottom of the river/We stare up/ at the leaves floating by.” The lyrics do not in themselves speak of environmental vandalism, it being the directors' innovation that elevates both video and song. The track is an insistent chorus, an urgent chant, and as the bags mournfully mouth the words somehow they speak of all nature suffering man's destructiveness, at the mercy of the tide to wash them to that larger ocean sump. All this and no mention of the outstanding stylistic feature of the piece, the fact that it is entirely rendered in silhouette echoing the style of Lotte Reiniger's 1926 movie, The Adventures of Prince Achmed, an image from which is below. The backgrounds to the 2D/3D mix were hand painted on acetate to lend a degree of murk. Indeed there is no light in the movie, the truck pulling away from the river, empty now of its rusting scissors, dead cats and shoes sufficient to grace a few more wardrobes of Imelda Marcos. Two graduates of Edinburgh College of Art, Alasdair Brotherston and Jock Mooney are the latest recruits to one of the most imaginative of the UK studios, Trunk Animation, where they join colleagues of the calibre of Siri Melchior, Steve Smith, Layla Atkinson and Grigoris Leontiades – all of whom have been featured here with an article on Layla to follow! The pair's very moving work was in the running for best animation in a video at Tuesday's UK Music Video Award though in the event that accolade was achieved by Shynola for Coldplay's Strawberry Spring, the video gaining the Video Of The Year award. Almost a million hits on YouTube, so I'd better take a look at the weekend. Before that you might like to try Throw Me To The Rats an earlier video Alasdair and Jock made for Tom Fun Orchestra in an entirely different style.


Frodou said...

i love your blog

Ian Lumsden said...

Well thanks for that Frodou. Much appreciated.