David Knight - 8th June 2015

Sean Pecknold is a director who makes distinctive work whether he's working in two-dimensional graphics or live action, involving real people and props. Here he combines both.

His delightful visualisation of Nicolas Godin's Orca closely follows the experimental nature of the music, reflecting how the Air man's solo project has been influenced by at least two musical movements of the past. And he employs a combination of abstract 2D elements and simple live action set-ups - reminiscent of old educational TV shows – to match the musical arrangement, which borrows freely from both the tradition we now generally call classical music, and the more recent tradition we now generally call 'prog'.

The results are an enthrallingly creative introduction to the new Godin album – which will undoubtedly hold further delights...

SEAN PECKNOLD:

"When I first heard this song, I was like: Whuuuuuuuuu.... this rules. Then I listened to it for a few days on repeat with my eyes closed. It felt like some sort of instrument battle, and I kept thinking of the ways they visualize music in Japanese play-along video games. I also kept thinking of a show open from the early 90’s for a science show called 3, 2, 1 Contact. Because the song moves so fast, I thought it’d be cool to do a quick-cut montage as this was the opening song on the record. That lead to the idea to create a graphic visual loop for every sound we hear in the song.

Pic: Sean Pecknold and props

"I teamed up with the incredible art director Adi Goodrich to create the assets, shapes, and all the graphic pieces that we then animated in simple sets and backgrounds. We broke down the song into each sound then came up with a list of things that could bring it to life. We created stop-motion animations and computer animations to flesh out the vibe.

Pic: Sean animating

"The graphics were meant to be simple, inspired by the 8-bit sound of some of the synth instruments in the song. We looked at the graphics in a lot of old video games from the late 80s and early 90s as well as early experimental film work by Richard Bailey and John Whitney. We then filmed some short shots of actors performing some simple parts of the song with handmade graphic instruments to expand the graphic world and add a human element to it.

"It was a blast to visualize. One of the coolest songs I’ve heard in a while." 

Pic: Shooting the 'Spintangle' props

PRO Credits

Credits

DirectorSean Pecknold
AnimatorSean Pecknold
Art DirectorAdi Goodrich
Director of PhotographyKelly Moore
StylistKatrina Thomson
ProducerVictoria Foraker
Executive ProducerNico Chavez
EditorSean Pecknold
LabelBecause Music
CommissionerJane Third
Other creditsLead builder: Dustin Ruegger

David Knight - 8th June 2015

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