Photographer Neil Krug is one of the music world's most in-demand visual collaborators. He's best known for his work with Lana Del Rey and Tame Impala, but one of his latest projects is a short-film collaboration with Miami's Christian Cooley, otherwise known by the name of his music project, Leitvox.
The short film, titled Pale Love, is a companion piece to Leitvox's fantastic 2016 album, Floating Promises. The film will screen next month at O Cinema Wynwood's Music Video Edition of the I'm Not Gonna Move to L.A. Film Festival.
Krug, whose work is best known for its psychedelic '70s Polaroid aesthetic, wanted to explore computer-generated media and animated movement rather than the still photography he has traditionally created.
Cooley isolated and retooled vocals and synthesizers from the "Pale Love" track on Floating Promises to create the film score. "In that way," says Cooley, "the music was actually made for the video instead of the video [being] made for the music."
The film begins with a voiceover by singer Jette Kelly of Miami duo the Hours Strange. "I am relentless/And I don't aim for endings, so I don't aim for answers," she says, as points of light pierce the screen and slowly combine to create figures in an environment resembling the vacuum of space. A digital rendering of a nude woman hovers into view; her outstretched hands reach for orbs of light emanating from the increasingly colorful space around her.
"We had this idea of this woman traveling to another world in search of questions rather than answers," Cooley says. "So all these images are very atmospheric, very spacey, because who knows where she is? Who knows what she has found?"
Like the character in their film, Cooley and Krug were more interested in experimenting with a new medium and asking questions. In the age of the visual album, where artists like Beyoncé and Frank Ocean have presented the musical and visual aspects of their records as one, Cooley and Krug discovered innovative ways to inextricably link sound and visuals within the film Pale Love.
Mexican graphic design duo Human Robots programmed the light particles in the film to be triggered by the sounds of the music. "It's very integrated, because the music and the sound actually modify or modulate the image," Cooley notes.
Pale Love took about three years to complete. Cooley places equal importance on the visual and sonic components of his music projects. He believes mainstream artists tend to approach music video production as a commercial chore rather than a creative opportunity. "I'm not saying that today's videos are not art — they are — but most of them in the commercial world, you can tell it's just something they had to do."
Showing as part of the I'm Not Gonna Move to L.A. Film Festival: The Music Video Edition. 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 5, at O Cinema Wynwood, 90 NW 29th St., Miami; 305-571-9970; o-cinema.org. Tickets cost $10 via eventbrite.com.
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