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We get a ton of requests to premiere videos here at BT.com and we try our best to present as many worthy efforts as we can. Once in a while, a video comes along that just floors us, and so it is with “Cat Cards” by Power Player.
Filmed and directed by D. James Goodwin, the mastermind behind the band Snowflake, whose keyboardist, is the Ryan Ross Smith, is the bandleader of Power Player (and who have also graced these pages with an awesome video), “Cat Cards” is an elegant, evocative, mesmerizing work that meshes perfectly with the song’s delicate, electronic minimalism.
Watch it now:
Cool, huh? We were so enchanted by this thing that we had to know more about how and why it was made, so we invited Goodwin and Smith to share their thoughts:
Ryan Ross Smith
‘“Cat Cards” might be about letting someone be who they are so long as they are who you want them to be. It may also be about a deck of cards sporting cat images on the back. Whereas the rest of the album leans toward saturated bombast, “Cat Cards” removes all non-essentials, relying on a couple analog synthesizers (Moog Voyager and Juno-106 for the DCO-heads), electric guitar, and simple percussion for its contrapuntal, minimalist clarity.
‘“Cat Cards” was written and recorded in an afternoon + long evening at my home. There was a single window in that room overlooking a sun-filled, tree-lined street. This had little to no impact on the song. Come to think of it, whatever had impacted it has since relocated to inaccessible memory banks. It is curious to think about something made a (relatively) long time ago…my only guess at this point would probably have included these words in some order, possibly embedded within longer thoughts: Windows [ah, it is possible the window DID have an impact (although perhaps a dissatisfaction with the MacOS of the time is more probable)], trick and retreat, small houses in large quarries, love without laughter (or maybe it was doves without rafters…either one is unfortunate), the dinosaurs in Red Hook, and almost certainly a general dissatisfaction with most (ir)relevant “things”.’
D. James Goodwin
‘I have a severe distaste for the usual music video tropes… slow motion / stop motion / overreaching narrative, etc… so my goal one day was to experiment more with visual symbolism, and less with narrative threads. This led me to play with liquids and how to see them in interesting ways. While I was mixing together some various implements, I was also listening to the pre-release copy of the Power Player record and as soon as “Cat Cards” came on, I felt as if I was floating.
‘I was struck by the suspense of the space in the song. The space between notes creates a palpable tension for me, a tension that would symbolically relate to inks suspended in water, or oil, or alcohol.
‘I rather hastily set up a large table with several clear devices filled with various transparent liquids. Oils, alcohol, water, peroxide, etc.. I began dropping various inks into the liquids and they all reacted uniquely, so I began filming it without prejudice…. just finding interesting perspectives, depths, distances, methods of agitating the fluids, all along with “Cat Cards” playing in my studio to casually inform motion. Sooner than later I found myself with loads of beautiful footage that I then cut into the form we see it now. No slow motion, no color grading, no computer generated trickery.
‘I filmed the video using a Blackmagic Cinema Camera, with a combination of very old lenses including primarily soviet era Lomo lenses and Japanese Takumar lenses. A great deal of it was filmed using macro lenses because of the space they capture.’
Power Player’s debut album, fat belly had a bull, comes out July 22 on The Satellite Union.
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