Video Information


  • Member: Kai Stromler
  • Studio: Shin Hatsubai/Kuroi Kenshi
  • Title: fryste
  • Premiered: 2009-12-14
  • Categories:
  • Song:
    • The Mountain Goats Maybe Sprout Wings
  • Anime:
  • Comments: This is the first executed, last received, of three ideas from three songs in series on the Mountain Goats' album Get Lonely. When these ideas hit the to-do list, I had none of the video sources needed for them, and despite getting Beyond The Clouds in order to do this video, the other two are still not sourced yet and probably will not be for a while, but they'll get made regardless.

    SH113 exists for itself, but it's also an attempt to do something non-Brechtian with John Darnielle's music, despite the persistent issues with agency (or more actually lack of it) in Shinkai's films, and my own determined insistence on developing that lack of agency if on conventional lines of alienation rather than Brechtian ones.

    (What the above mess means is that this is a slow, dark, video that hates itself and its audience and is trying to freeze to death. There are extended cuts of black screen without video, and an effects design that attempts somewhat poorly to replicate a defective camera lens freezing over.)

    Appropriately, as the publication date indicates, this was made in the freezing dark of a New England winter. It remains to be seen if this video has preserved these attributes to itself in any way, and I won't be able to tell for sure for at least another four months.

    Shin Hats self-grade: B+. I'm not sure that it's better than the last Mountain Goats video in my catalog, or indeed not functionally equivalent to any other AMV using this movie as its main source, but it is what it is, and if I'm not satisfied with Magix's apparent inability to do two of its 2D effects at once on the same cut, I'm also not going to lose any sleep over it.
    stats: # clips: 98. average length: 1.64 seconds. total time: 11 hours.

    About the music: The Mountain Goats are the solo project of singer-songwriter John Darnielle and whoever he has accompanying him these days. He has been recognized, at various points in time, by just about every critic who remotely matters as one of the leading songwriters and observers of American life of his generation, and as one of the very best English-speaking lyricists not doing hip-hop. Some people would write this off as hype, but these people are also wrong. I got into the band for their music (which is often, like this song, poignant, insightful, and depressing), but by following certain oddly placed breadcrumbs worked out another significant truth: that Darnielle, despite having not the slightest inclination or intention to actually play metal music, is perhaps the only person outside the metal scene who actually listens to and understands metal in the way that those inside the scene do. You listen to this music, and come up with all kinds of bogus objections about hipster black metal, the twits who go see Wolves in the Throne Room in flannel shirts and tight jeans, but are nowhere to be found when Witch Tomb's playing the next night two blocks away, and yes he does like Drastus a whole lot, but the truth is this: a dilettante does not name-drop Jeff Walker's country sideproject in the liner notes of one album and expect people to understand, and nor does a dilettante listen to Aura Noir in the first place, let alone pinch another album title from their lyrics. And the odds are that this is not unique: that Darnielle likely listens to the music you listen to, whatever it is, and understands it as its practitioners understand it.

    Metalheads getting into The Mountain Goats should start with Heretic Pride and work their way backwards through the catalog, or pick up with The Coroner's Gambit and go forwards. Other people should get Get Lonely and listen to that a few times, then directly go to The Sunset Tree and start making their own ways through the catalog after that. Everyone should read Last Plane To Jakarta, though. The music under the credits is sampled from the start of Borknagar's epic "The Winterway", following the theme of frost and putting something actually Norse in the video to justify the decision to do the title and credits in Norwegian.

    Both the local and indirect are MPEG-4 files; if you have difficulties playing them back, you might look into Mplayer/MPUI. If your main video playback station is Mac or Unix-based, you should have native support.

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