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Friday, August 01, 2008

Pitchfork hosts premiere of new Octopus Project video

The Octopus Project - An Evening With Rthrtha

A new video for The Octopus Project's "An Evening with Rthrtha" premiered today on The "Rthrtha" video is the second collaboration between long-time friends Phillip Niemeyer of the Brooklyn design studio Double Triple and San Francisco-based filmmaker Ryan Junell, following their hand-animated stop-motion video for Spoon's "You Got Yr Cherry Bomb," released earlier this year. For "Rthrtha," Niemeyer & Junell used a similar stop-motion animation approach to depict a magical night with the extra-dimensional spirit agents of Rthrtha. Brilliant colors and graphic images move in breakneck stop-motion, illustrating a mind-blowing evening with an ancient psychedelic pink bat, who takes the viewer on a transcendent journey from the hazy Austin twilight into a sub-atomic singularity with the cosmos.

Niemeyer described the project as a sort of DIY cell animation. The two employed a variety of animation techniques, often discovering what they could do only as it was done. They photocopied images onto office quality transparencies, layering them with a light table and a set of overhead projectors. They silkscreened color fields, adding ink with each print to create motion-gradations. They animated the light fluctuations of the double fluorescent tubes that hang above their main work table. With the assistance of Double Triple partner Dana McClure, they animated blown ink and paint seen through a macro lens. "We used over 5,000 still pictures, often layered over each other at variable rates of speed," said Niemeyer. "Our frame rates are so quick I'm not sure it still counts as stop motion."

"Rthrtha" is The Octopus Project's second video from the new album, Hello, Avalanche. The previous Zellner Brothers-directed video for "Truck" has already amassed nearly 400,000 views on YouTube, and the band's loyal fans have responded with fan-created videos that have begun to populate the site. Here are a few favorites:

» "I Saw The Bright Shinies"
» "Moon Boil"
» "Queen"
» "Malaria Codes"
» "Wet Gold"
» "Truck"
» "Helium Tea" (with Black Moth Super Rainbow)
» "Copying Soup Onto Sexy Birdy" (with BMSR)
» "Black Blizzard Red Umbrella"

The Octopus Project kicks off yet another tour this weekend at Lollapalooza in Chicago and will embark on a month of dates along the west coast with fellow Austinites The Diagonals (featuring Black Lipstick's Steve Garcia) before returning home for an appearance at the Austin City Limits festival in September (tour dates).

» "An Evening with Rthrtha" official video site
» "An Evening with Rthrtha" Pitchfork coverage
» Stream The Octopus Project Hello, Avalanche

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