Switching the philosophers, poets, and theologians that embodied the essence of the High Renaissance depicted in artist ,Raphael’s, The School of Athens with modern hustlers and gangsters, Alex Southam has created an aesthetically pleasing and entertaining video combined with the ‘folk-step’ mesmerizing music of Alt-J in the video for “Tessellate.” The movement of the camera amongst the inner city characters in setting of the true classical architecture depicted in the original painting (commissioned for the Apostolic Palace of the Vatican) makes it difficult to turn away from. I looked back at Raphael’s work and attempted to place the characters in the video with the proposed thinkers and artists in the painting to no real avail, but, I did imagine the smoke blowing lip-syncer of the word ‘tessellate’ to be Parmenides, who argued of the mistaken reality of our everyday perceptions. His view being that the actual reality is of the world being one unchanging, unending whole, not one of individual selection. Combined with the definition of ‘tessellate’ meaning to form a checkered or mosaic pattern, it just worked for me. Since the members of Alt-J are all english lit and fine art majors, I felt the duty of some minor analysis.
Alt-J is composed of Joe Newman(guitar/vocals), Gwil Sainsbury(guitar/bass), Gus Unger-Hamilton(keyboards), and Thom Green(drums), all former classmates at Leeds University in the U.K. Their new album, An Awesome Wave, has just recently been released and due to my phone calls to independent record stores in my area is rather difficult to find, however, it can be downloaded from iTunes. I expect this to change, though, because the tracks I have heard are fantastic. I’ve included some below.
London-based filmmaker, Alex Southam, the director of the aforementioned video is really worth checking out as well. Here is his website: http://cargocollective.com/oofvideo. Outside of his work with Alt-J, he has made short films and videos for I Break Horses, The Walkmen, and others. All that I’ve seen so far being well worth my time.
I want to thank our friends at HYPETRAK for turning us on to this video. Their site is a great source of music and industry info.
Follow me on Twitter @HugoSchoen