“NEVER BEEN TO ATHENS” & “SPONTANEITY”
Jimmy Ahlander & Nils Timm
March 1, 2010
Greetings, everyone, it’s Andy Gesner and the crew from HIP Video Promo, here to share the remarkable visions of a boldly imaginative electronic musician. A solitary astronaut stumbles across a bizarre landscape populated by giant three-eyed birds and turtle-shaped rocketships. Wherever he looks, giant bony mandibles — many avian — appear to be closing in on him. In another hallucination, the spectral form of a woman rises and walks through the streets of the city; meanwhile, on the material plane, her sleeping body turns restlessly on a sofa, mouthing the lyrics to a song about freedom. Mundane objects take on a surreal cast — even car parks and potatoes radiate with a strange, mystic energy. These are the clips for “Never Been To Athens” and “Spontaneity”: the weird dreams and astral projections that accompany the songs of Mark Alan. It’s a project of wide scope and intoxicating effect, and it goes by the futuristic-sounding name of Alphanaut.
Alan’s Alphanaut is an electronically-assembled project, but it’s one with a human heart. The multi-instrumentalist incorporates acoustic instruments into his mixes and juxtaposes cool synthesizer textures with white-hot rock guitar. Out Of Orbit, the full-length Alphanaut album, is a brave fusion of ambient music, European-style techno, contemporary pop, progressive rock, avant-garde jazz, and even hip-hop. Fans of Brian Eno’s electro-trippy mid-Seventies albums, Talk Talk’s landmark Spirit Of Eden and Laughing Stock, and Laurie Anderson’s pioneering art-pop will find much to cherish here; others will simply be startled by the breadth of Alan’s musicianship. The lyrics are every bit as thoughtful as the arrangements: Alan tackles contemporary alienation, the meaninglessness of war, rootlessness, and spiritual dislocation on Out Of Orbit. His vocals are, invariably, precise and evocative; sometimes whispered, sometimes sweetly-sung, always engrossing.
Indeed, Alphanaut’s songs have an enveloping quality: they pull the listener in. They’re naturals for video, and directors Jimmy Ahlander and Nils Timm have brought two of them to life in vivid color and brilliant detail. Both Ahlander and Timm have singular styles, but they’ve both recognized the otherworldly quality of Mark Alan’s music in their interpretations. We’ve included both videos on this reel, and we’re sure you’ll agree that their differences are just as fascinating as their similarities.
Begin with Ahlander’s interstellar clip for “Never Been To Athens”. Here, our animated space traveler rides through the stars in a vegetable, lands on shifting desert planets, and drifts past televisions embedded in asteroids. It’s suffused with a sense of sadness and dreams unrealized: the astronaut has touched the sky, but his sad eyes reveal that he’s missing something he’ll likely never find. Most of the video is constructed from sliding two-dimensional solids and cut-outs, which gives this expansive universe a curious feeling of flatness and disorientation. It’s a fascinating ride, and one that ends in disappointment for the poor main character, but in revelation for the viewer.
Much is revealed at the end of Nils Timm’s clip for “Spontaneity”, too. Here, the walking ghost is the creative spirit of an ordinary woman desperate (perhaps unconsciously) for escape from the mundane. The phantom wanders through hip clubs and busy avenues, unable to quench her desire. As in the “Athens” clip, the feeling of destabilization is generated by the director’s technique — here, thousands of still frames are stitched into a sequence that feels superficially logical, but is hardly uninterrupted. Motion is irregular, choppy, trippy; the ghost’s tentative walk is more than occasionally terrifying. It’s another thrill ride from a maker of dreams — messages from the mind of a true musical visionary.
We’re very excited to be working with Mark Alan to bring you these visually stunning new clips and he has been kind enough to hook us up with plenty of copies of Out Of Orbit for you and your viewers to enjoy. If you need more info, call Andy Gesner at 732-613-1779 or e-mail us at Info@HIPVideoPromo.com. You can also visit www.PlanetAlphanaut.com to find out more about Alphanaut.