I’ve come to a certain realization while working on a forthcoming feature on Kenyan music videos from the 2000s for Bottom Line Kenya. Sure, Kenyan music videos have greatly improved in technical quality, thanks to the increased availability and gradual decrease in the costs of equipment. That being said, these newer and slicker videos seem to have plateaued in terms of creativity. Generally speaking, everybody seems to be doing the exact same thing over and over and over again. Very few local music vids today can hold a candle to older classics such as Kalamashaka’s Fanya Mambo, Swahili Nation’s Hakuna Matata, or Nairobi Yetu’s All Over The World.
For the most part, local music videos have merely become just another generic vehicle to push an artist’s brand onto TV and web platforms. They are now more of an mechanical rather than an artistic exercise. It has become more beneficial to push a ton of bad – average music videos within a year than to invest more on fewer videos for the best tracks. As a result, less emphasis is placed upon video editing – the final step of a process that could transform an otherwise bland or overused concept into a unique and amazing work of art.
Speaking of editing, David Dean Burkhart demonstrates all the benefits of a good editor with a proper understanding of a concept and how it works together with the music. David makes alternative or unofficial video edits of indie, lo-fi and chill music for his YouTube channel. The source material for the visual side of his edits: clips from classic films, home video footage, advertisements and other random oldie goldies. His editing has an awesome way of enhancing every aspect of a song, letting it bleed emotion, and transporting the viewer to another time and place. Here are some of his best ones:
From Powaqqatsi: Life in Transformation (1988).
Soul Train! That last kick at the end is precious.
Who knew hip hop culture was alive and kicking in Iran ’91?
From Holy Flame of the Martial World (1983). I really want to watch this film now.
Aerobics VHS tapes were a thing. Goofing along to Jane Fonda’s Low Impact workout tape is one of my most distinct childhood memories.
From Jigoku (1960).
A bunch of ads from the 80s and 90s
From Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion (1972). This one is NSFW.
From To the Stars by Hard Ways (1981).