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... And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead "Naked Sun", Dir. Cat Solen

borderline. mp4 here (download only); roxwel flv here; UPDATE: google-cached roxwel/blastro flash player here, vimeo flash here. (mornin', sro)
kevathens, January 15, 2007 at 3:48:26 PM CET

Oddly, that mp4 link displays code for me (Safari and Firefox): download only. Probably Vimeo's fault.

otc, January 15, 2007 at 5:24:27 PM CET

Am I the only one who didn't get this? I'd say sub-borderline.

lusk81, January 15, 2007 at 5:38:29 PM CET

Why all the cat solen hate? It's so misplaced and misdirected. She's actually a really interesting young director.

Why do people feel the need to smash on her (SRO doesnt even give a single reason for why they feel the way they do)?

Promo is very straightforward. Power Ranger like Mexican children are hunted by a small group of rifle bearers only to be 'zapped' and transformed into earth spirits. The threat of Danger becomes thwarted and reversed.

hassinator, January 15, 2007 at 5:51:47 PM CET

cannae make the links work

boey, January 15, 2007 at 6:43:54 PM CET

Conceptually interesting but quite disapointing technically ...perhaps the charm makes up for it though. It does have a fresh woman's touch and sense of humor to it.

casualaesthete, January 15, 2007 at 7:04:34 PM CET

a little plodding tempowise and compositionally static… pretty landscape, cute kids, but I'm tired of this pseudo stop motion. I have to say that I was a little weirded out by the old guys aiming at the kids, it seemed like she was about to spring into some kind of social commentary about very pertinent notions of xenophobia, but then it turned into fluff.

najork, January 15, 2007 at 7:16:45 PM CET

the whole "magic beams transform undesirables into fit dancing girls" thing reminded be a bit of a beer commercial, or certain euro-house vids I've seen.

spit, January 15, 2007 at 9:05:15 PM CET

Please note that 2006 was the year where stop-motion went from being a technique to being a full-fledged 'look', and a signifier for the audience that they were watching one of those 'indie bands'. (see also, 'the arts and crafts look")

This video had an okay concept, but it moved so slowly that the first minute and a half was almost Pythonian. I still think Solen is solid though.

analog boy, January 15, 2007 at 10:45:19 PM CET

I think Cat Solen is one of those directors that is becoming defended for doing crap. Alala & Living Proof were bearly videos. And now this. Everyone is trying to be "intelligent artists" by claiming they know what she is doing and what she is all about, but I think everyone is missing the big picture that the quality and ideas of the videos are subpar.

The shitty silly string. Why? The dancing fruit of the loom people. Why? Something better could have been made from this. That is if it was worth even trying in the first place. I'm all for creatives, but there has to be a line of quality drawn somewhere. Have at me.

otc, January 15, 2007 at 11:20:44 PM CET

First off I don't hate Cat Solen. I agree, she's very talented and has done some great work. I just really don't like this video.

Lusk: Yeah, I understand the plot description, but still that plot makes absolutely no sense. Why do the children have super powers? Why are the minutemen hunting them? And WTF, why are there earth spirits in ridiculous costumes? Is there supposed to be a political message to this? Is it supposed to be tongue-in-cheek and if so what's the joke?

The "reversal of power" thing doesn't do it for me. I could make a music video for this song about cruel, white slave traders rounding up African families in the 1800s. All of sudden the would-be slaves pull out huge dildos that shoot lazers, the slave traders are transformed into dancing munchkins by the lazer beams. Then the munchkins start doing the electric slide. That would also be an ironic reversal of power, but it doesn't mean that it's a good idea for music video.

Maybe I'm missing something, but for now I'm calling bullshit on this video.

hassinator, January 15, 2007 at 11:24:38 PM CET

fuck i wish i could see this video - i still can't make the links work

has anyone got a quicktime link that works before i launch into a defence of something i can't see?

kevathens, January 15, 2007 at 11:27:13 PM CET

Right click and 'Save as...' works for me.

hassinator, January 15, 2007 at 11:58:19 PM CET

on a mac and a pre-confessed tech spazz so no right clicking for me - will have to get ms chatfield to sort it out for me in the morning

that said I can't help feeling a lot of the criticism sounds subjective about something that's trying to be a bit different

but again i can hardly shout the odds until i've seen it

nighty night

progosk, January 16, 2007 at 12:38:40 AM CET

hass: that's ctrl-click on a mac, then "save as..."

my take: it's larry clark (hbo version) meets steriogram. odd how folks're gettin' all serious... it's not the first time i sense politix in cat's work. the quotidian whimsy of politicks, i mean.

scudmore, January 16, 2007 at 12:44:23 AM CET

i can't make this video work on the computer i'm on (for some ghostly reason) so i'll have to wait until i get home. however, i'll chime in that most everything i've seen from cat solen has been strong and interesting. i loved the Alala video.

progosk, January 16, 2007 at 1:02:48 AM CET

(updated player links up top.)

lusk81, January 16, 2007 at 1:14:35 AM CET

OTC: "That would also be an ironic reversal of power"


If you showed me dildo weilding slaves that transform their masters into stunted (or is it stereotypical?) urban hipsters - supressed blacks creating commodified blacks - I'd say you were straight up racist.

"but it doesn't mean that it's a good idea for music video."

You said it!

"but for now I'm calling bullshit on this video"

I think the bullshit's still on you.

zakiii, January 16, 2007 at 1:26:45 AM CET

It does have a fresh woman's touch and sense of humor to it. oh my goodness boey. i think i want to kill you.

robodrug, January 16, 2007 at 3:10:15 AM CET

Well if its about No Boarders then I'm in the Manu Chou camp! That goes for Fortress Europe as well

Yes sum ov the ideas are a bit odd for the para military 'social commentary' at the beginning I dain't like much the silly string sequence But I can live with it I liked those silhouette sequences

May be if it had been a few peyote buttons dancing around rather than the fly Alaric it would have been more in keeping with the desert?

An' all that vigilante shit is going down at the moment in New Mexico, I woz listening to a report on BBC World Service last week from sum town round there Wiv them wingeing dat the Border Police wern't pro-active enough so they were doing their para-civic duty

Anyway I've said enough, seems it touches on political undertones that rattle people, what ever the clips relative strength or weakness

yuppiemagnet, January 16, 2007 at 9:04:57 PM CET

Alright, my thoughts can be found here [SRO] in reply to my instigation.

fungible, January 17, 2007 at 4:52:28 AM CET

I like it, just because it's so stupid it pisses people off. There's value in that.

kayser_sauze, April 20, 2007 at 12:16:47 AM CEST

Conrad Keely comments on the video and discusses music video culture nowadays: "Oh, and another thing people have been commenting on is how atrocious our latest video is. I'd like to address this issue right now: Firstly, we had absolutely nothing to do with the video for Naked Sun. We were sent this treatment before our last American tour. I read the treatment and I thought it was stupid. I told our managers and our label "I think this treatment sucks". Two weeks later, while on tour, I was sent a rough edit of a finished version of the video made from the treatment I thought was horrible. And we sat around and watched it and we all thought it was horrible. I jokingly suggested that one way to improve this video would be to have a shot of us sitting in a room watching the video on a television, laughing, and throwing things at the television. This never got done. My favorite thing about the video is that we aren't actually in it, and so our disassociation with its complete lameness is punctuated. As for the director of this worthless piece of crap, we never had a single conversation with this person. They never once called and asked "What is your vision for this song, what do you think of this treatment, what do the lyrics mean to you?" I partly suspect that she was told we liked the treatment, either by our label or by our managers, or some other nameless middleman who I wasn't aware of whose job it is to befuddle and confuse the music industry. But the fact still stands that she expressed no interest in consulting the band as to their thoughts and opinions of a video for their music, which I consider a grotesque breech of ethics, and harkens back to the dark periods before the 60's where artists were not in control of their advertising, promotion or even their public image, but were at the whim of the record industry and their cronies. Blame is easy to throw around, but it would be unfair of me not to take partial responsibility myself. The truth is, I can't stand making videos. After the fiasco of trying to direct Relative Ways, to the complete strangeness of Rest Will Follow, I've completely lost interest in the medium, and any hope in using it as a vital way to express our vision artistically. To me, videos have become more an industry farce than anything. At one time they affected change and generated profit, now they appear to be shallow indulgences in image and fashion, now more than ever. In fact, arguably the most popular videos are those made for little or no money by amateurs hosting for free on You Tube, whose work often directly ridicules mainstream video culture. At the end of the day, does it really matter? I seriously doubt it. In fact, as awful as this video might appear to me now, it might one day be looked back upon like all the many disasters this band has faced, as something to be laughed at, a humorous episode that seemed serious at the time but really had little more than anecdotal significance in the long run." source: MySpace

captainmarc22, April 20, 2007 at 1:47:22 AM CEST


(the above comment)

dang, that is some industry dirt.

shut up, April 20, 2007 at 2:18:41 AM CEST

thats bullshit, I have to come to Cat's defense. I think any director working on a video would prefer to be in touch with the band. You can tell here, the band took no interest in what was happening and let shit happen. Its up to the label and the band to reach out to the director and get communication going. Its there video! If she was under the impression the band wanted nothing to do with it, (which is obviously true) why would she reach out to them. Her treatment was accepted and she made a video, if the band didnt want her or any video made, they should have taken charge instead of ranting and bitching. I work in the industry, and I can honestly its the bands generally that set the precident for how thigns are gonna go down. They fucked up if they didnt want this video they could have shut it down, or at least their managment, I find it super lame they way they are talking about her.

chatters, April 20, 2007 at 3:23:53 AM CEST

here here

familiar, April 20, 2007 at 7:50:46 AM CEST

"Its up to the label and the band to reach out to the director and get communication going."

Music video directors are there to put an image to the song. In an industry ham-strung by outmoded marketing concepts, and wasted money, music videos are one of those luxuries that directors are lucky to have a shot at. If I ever worked with a director who did not show an active and genuine interest in the band, the label, and what the music was about, their treatment would be in the bin before it hit the desk.

Typical major label tactics will - with any luck - soon be a thing of the past.

(Edit: If the director had wanted to get a hold of Conrad, it's not hard, even without all the greased wheels that come with having a contract through the band's label.)

antiville, April 20, 2007 at 10:06:53 AM CEST

Cat's still one of my favourite directors. Would love to hear her side of the story.

ali_taylor, April 20, 2007 at 4:58:29 PM CEST

It's outrageous that the band winges about the director not speaking to them. Often we aren't encouraged to speak to bands. It's considered a gross breach of protocol to just ring the band up and start chatting about stuff. Lame rules? Maybe..Depends how you look at it. Directors fault? No. Production protocol is there for a reason and WORKS if everyone does their job. If the commissioner and label had been any good at their jobs non of this would have happened. End of.

familiar, April 20, 2007 at 5:11:21 PM CEST

I can tell you right now that this is NOT the case when dealing with ...Trail Of Dead. There is no way in hell ringing them up would be considered breach of protocol. The guys care about their music and the way it is presented to their audience.

ali_taylor, April 20, 2007 at 5:29:28 PM CEST

Familiar. I think you misuderstood what I am saying. I am not attacking the band or what they are about. If you consider the following what I am saying actually is in their favour.

I am talking about a director breaching trust with the rest of the production team on their end ie) commissioner, producer etc. This might all sound a bit lame to you but it is important in a professional production environment.

I think what this band needs is decent management who understand the video commissioning process. Sounds like it was badly commissioned and badly managed. Which is a crime in itself. Why else would the band not have known what was going on? That's insane. In this case the band AND the director have both been done a great dis-service and both ended up worse off for it. I imagine the management were unsure of what they were doing.

Botched commissioning. Fact.

familiar, April 20, 2007 at 5:43:25 PM CEST

I do understand what you're saying, but the way in which the commissioner/producer/major label route sometimes works is severely flawed. Trying to apply that logic to an art-obsessed indie rock band will end in nothing but tears.

When we deal with directors and bands, the first step is to put the two in touch with each other. The need for middle management to be involved in the initial creative process is nil. They are support staff who's input may be called upon, but should never be the lynchpin for the first layer of development.

It frustrates me when people resign themselves to "the way it is" and all of the toe-stepping bullshit it brings with it.

ali_taylor, April 20, 2007 at 5:56:40 PM CEST

Fam. Sounds like you are going about it in the right way then. Let's agree to agree....

I don't believe in resigning myself to the "way it is". I believe in starting from a good place in the beginning where we are all on the same side. It am lucky I've only worked with good commissioners like Vez and New Selecta (Hassay's) so I don't have this problem.

Should it arise tho I'd spot it a mile off.

The point is that everyones role should be respected and improved upon.

PS(I hope you are not refurring to producers as middle management! I don't think you are but that would be awful! My producer happens to be VERY creative) Ok gotta go. Loads of post to do. Byeee..

spit, April 20, 2007 at 6:00:53 PM CEST

Yeah yeah, the video didn't turn out all that great, but posting a huge rant about it on your myspace is a very petty and pathetic way to deal with it. I'm sure there are a few details that he's leaving out...

ali_taylor, April 20, 2007 at 6:04:37 PM CEST

Yup. You said it.

Ok really gott get off here now...

toddyokoh, April 20, 2007 at 6:12:57 PM CEST

Wow. The overall hatred of this video is surprising. It is not a great video, but there are some nice little things that popped into my head while watching it. I got a political thing in there, maybe something about Minutemen in the American Southwest pointing their guns at the defenseless. I also got a little touch of Jodorowsky-ness. I got to see writhing flora and fauna dancing.

I simply don't know what the big fuss is all about. Not a great song match perhaps...sure.

familiar, April 20, 2007 at 6:14:23 PM CEST


We do agree.

To qualify, I happen to work in a couple different production environments where "producer" very often means middle-management. To find a producer who is creatively aware and talented is rare and awesome. With guys and girls like that, it's a whole different story -- a very good one.

shut up, April 20, 2007 at 6:24:22 PM CEST


mookie, April 20, 2007 at 6:44:31 PM CEST

ouch. i feel bad for cat for getting publically blasted by a band she has worked with. at least they didnt mention her by name on the myspace page, but still...ouch. the whole thing seems odd to me, SOMEONE should have connected the band and the director. its very possible that the video was approved and awarded before the band really sat down and looked at the treatment. i could see this happening with a next to nothing budget video like this. then the band says they hate the idea and everyone side-steps the issue because its too late to change it. i am pretty sure that if cat knew the band hated the idea she would have never made the video. my 2 cents.

ali_taylor, April 20, 2007 at 7:36:44 PM CEST

I deleted my buuughghggghghh comment as it was directed at the conversation not the vid. I suddenly got para that it looked like it was a comment on the video. Anyway Viva great commissioners. Buggh to shit ones. :D


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