It’s surprising that considering how long the music video has been around, it’s format hasn’t really changed much at all. Generally artists fall on the tried and true ‘this is a music video’ style and rarely push the boundaries of what this media could be. In an age of Vines and Snapchats and limited attention spans, it’s surprising that the three-plus-minute video is the go to experience that we’re offered. There are a few bands who’ve tried to mix it up, Arcade Fire probably being the most successful at it with their fully immersive The Wilderness Downtown and Reflektor interactive films, and also their anarchist viral branding from the album of the same name. These iterations of the music video concept allow us as an audience, the opportunity to experience the work in a new, and most probably, more meaningful way.
Azealia Banks, who I for one think is pretty damn awesome, has now also started exploring alternative video concepts with her release of the pounding single Wallace. First of all, the pro’s. The visual experience is pretty damn hot, that’s partly due to Banks herself. The stark black and white and the flashing inversions are bang on in their aesthetic and their timing and perfectly suited to the driving base that is the core of the song. Not only that, the compositions that are created out of her eye, which becomes both alluring and quite scary at the same time, are really very very cool. I love a good bit of odd-ball and this interactive site delivers those kind of visuals in droves. Even the badly keyed Banks is spot on from my point of view.
However, where the experience falls apart is purely in that word… experience, because at the end of the day, there really isn’t much of one happening. At the beginning you’re invited to move in front of your webcam, your actions interacting with Banks herself. The problems lies in that wobbling yourself around your computer for four minutes ain’t that much fun. There are a few rewards throughout obviously, making Azealia’s head twist and contort is quite fun especially if you view yourself as a weird kind of human drawing tool, but the big finale where you are composited in with Azealia is a little underwhelming and just a tad awkward.
Despite that slight what-am-I-supposed-to-be-doing-? feeling, the Wallace experience is worth checking out. The driving bass, the warped Banks and the imagery that flashes throughout are worth enough your time. And speaking of the background imagery - below is a video of just that, devoid of the Banks heroine.