The Visual Music of Vincent Moon

So I was going to put up a dry concert watch of all the hip-hop-happenings in New York’s backyard this month, but I’ve just spent the last two hours rediscovering one of my favorite music video producers, so I thought I’d share him with you.

Vincent Moon, a.k.a. Mathieu Saura

His name is Vincent Moon, and he is a contributor to the French music blog, La Blagotheque. Now I don’t speak much French outside of  “j’mapelle pamplemousse”, so navigating around the blog is a lot of fun for me, but here’s what I’ve figured out: Moon (born Mathieu Saura) loves taking bands out from the natural habitats and films them playing super stripped down versions of their songs. Most of the time, this is for portability – because he loves shooting on the move, or as he calls it, “nomadic filmmaking”.

He’s filmed an astonishing number of artists and bands, from the obscure (like De Kift, the Dutch tuba-loving oompah rock band) to the upper-echelon indie (e.g. The Arcade Fire and Andrew Bird). Since his first video with The Spinto Band in 2006, the crispness of these recordings has really bloomed (thanks in part to great hosting provided by Vimeo).

His videos are charming, worldly, and seem to capture the essence of the artists in a way that surprises even the artists themselves. Spontaneity is valued above all else, and the results of his devotion to that aspect of the process are fantastic.

Here is one of his first videos, filmed in Paris with the sunny British pop group, The Kooks, of “She Moves in Her Own Way” fame:

At the end of the video, singer Luke Pritcher is in disbelief about the crowd they gathered, as they walked through a local high school. “That was the most insane thing I’ve ever done,” you can hear him saying.

Here’s one that takes the idea of a journey in a whole different direction. This is the supremely talented folk singer Elvis Perkins strolling the streets of Paris armed with just a guitar and a hat. If you choose to watch any of these videos, this is definitely the one to watch.

A still from Vincent Moon's "Take Away Show" with Elvis Perkins, singing "While You Were Sleeping"


It’s a quietly observant song, as Elvis Perkins slowly and thoughtfully takes in the city around him. The camera work here is incredible, and glances at the camera from the kids and adults passing by really stick with you long after they’ve left the frame.

Finally, here’s a big fish. Everyone’s favorite band, Phoenix, performing a rock-solid version of their single “1901” at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. It is just beautiful and optimistic.

And last, but certainly not least: The Arcade Fire, a band that’s gotten a lot of attention on this blog recently, but this video is too incredible to be left out.

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven… eight people in the band cram into a freight elevator minutes before a show to do a rendition of the “Neon Bible” that looks as claustrophobic as the song feels. In a good way, of course. Then the band solemnly walks into the middle of their crowd to perform their hit “Wake Up”. It’s incredible:

This kind of experimentation is what music is all about.

Happy Listening!

~Josh

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CONCERTS THIS WEEK IN NY’S BACKYARD:

Joan Osbourne tonight! She played at The Peak’s Pleasantville Music Festival
.    two years ago or so. Catch her again at 7:30 at the Julia Miles Theater in NYC.
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals are playing at Ridgefield Playhouse this Friday
.    at 8pm.
The Allman Brothers are playing United Palace at 7pm the same day, and again
.    Saturday night.
And you can catch Blue Oyster Cult (classic) this coming Saturday as well at 7:30
.    at BB King’s Blues Club.

Happy hunting!

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PEAK KEYWORD: Pamplemousse

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