“YOU DON’T KNOW HER NAME”
September 18, 2007
Hello music video brethren! It’s Andy Gesner and the staff from HIP Video Promo bringing you a follow up clip to one of this year’s most exciting artists. We’ve been astonished by the sheer number of terrific indie videos we’ve seen this year, and none has been more compelling that Toben Seymour’s hypnotic clip for “You Don’t Know Her Name”. The latest single from maps begs for video adaptation – it’s the sort of cinematic, hallucinatory pop song that seems to generate its own visuals, and it’s a perfect canvas for Seymour’s expansive imagination. The Milwaukee filmmaker and puppeteer has also shot revelatory clips for The Willowz and Neon Blonde, but it’s safe to say that he’s never realized his wood-and-wire vision with more grace than he has here.
Just as the Mercury Prize-nominated music of maps is a successful integration of the inorganic (synths, loops, electronic beats and effects) with the organic (strings, horns, James Chapman’s breathy vocals), the “You Don’t Know Her Name” clip is an examination of the relationship between a man and a construct. On We Can Create, Chapman breathes life into machines and makes them sing; in the video, the protagonist designs a woman out of wood, plastic and papier maché and teaches her to dance. Played by Didier Laplae – a well-known figure in the Milwaukee rock underground – this suburban Pygmalion is more of an aesthete than a mad scientist. The mannequin he assembles and animates is lithe, expressive, and elegantly attired: a sculptor’s inspired interpretation of a ballerina.
As he works on his creation, it’s Chapman’s cool voice he’s hearing in his ear – the Maps auteur appears on the laboratory video-screens, providing a dreamy, eerie soundtrack to Laplae’s experimentation. We watch him gently inject fluid into an animatronic hand and fiddle with knobs; beside him, a homemade turbine spins. Once he’s ready, the workshop doors open, and the spotlight shines on the impassive heroine, decked out in a blue party dress and a fancy necklace. They’re off to Cedarburg, a small town twenty miles north of Milwaukee known throughout the Upper Midwest for its local color and adherence to tradition. There, they’ll be contestants in a dance marathon, and they’ll take on – among others – Wisconsin ballroom legends Myke and Debbi.
And dance the mannequin does: her movements are remarkably human, and her interaction with Laplae feels intimate and even sexual. (Myke and Debbi are also remarkable: an ordinary-looking middle-aged couple with a remarkable feel for spontaneous choreography.) Making the seven-foot construct shimmy is a team of four (!) puppeteers, each controlling a different part of her body. We don’t see the animators, of course, but Toben Seymour doesn’t try to hide the wires: on the contrary, the thick black cables are themselves potent spectacles. But all eyes are on Laplae and his wooden partner as they outswing and outlast their competition – by the end of the clip, they’re dancing around the prone bodies of participants passed out on the ballroom floor. Arms outstretched, the android spins in place; victorious, her torso lifts off from her legs and floats up to the ceiling. maps will be making their U.S. performance debut in late September, but even before they arrive on these shores, the evocative “You Don’t Know Her Name” clip is sure to get independent music fans buzzing about this act, and its dark mystique.
Mute Records has brought us, hands down, some of the most amazing videos of 2007, and we want to thank Stephanie Trick, Mark Fotiadis and the entire Mute family working so hard and continuing to deliver the goods! In case you didn’t get your hands on We Can Create when we brought you the “It Will Find You” video, let us know, and we’ll hook you up with some copies for all of you on-air giveaway needs. 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.Mute.com to find out more about maps.
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For info on the previous maps video “It Will Find You” click HERE