The new video from the Dirty Three (violinist Warren Ellis, guitarist Mick Turner, and drummer Jim White) is just as cool and as weird as you might expect from the Aussie instrumentalists, soundtrack composers, and Nick Cave associates (and I'm talking mostly about Ellis—not the comic-book guy!—whose scrip-scraping has graced such fine, noir-tinged westerns as John Hillcoat's The Proposition and Andrew Dominik's The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford).
With its septet of brightly costumed dancers, the Emma Watts-directed video plays more like a piece of filmed performance art than a conventional promo clip. The seated figures in masks appear to represent the three Melbourne musicians, though they don't actually play any instruments. Well, not until the very end.
In the closing credits, the leotard-clad characters are listed as King, Butterfly, Dragon, Horse, Crow 1, Crow 2, and Dog. I have no idea what their actions mean to convey, but Watts creates a trippy vibe with a minimum of special effects (the dreamy butterfly recalls a less lethal version of Pale Man from Pan's Labyrinth).
The trio's publicist cracks me up with this overly-caffeinated description:
The vid depicts a quasi-medieval, quasi-mythical battle of the ages, done in the style of modern dance, so you can't tell if the creatures are sensually courting or sexually cussing each other until the knives come out. It's a lot like The Black Swan, sort of. But the costumes in "Rising Below," they'd make old Natalie Portman shrivel up and die (unless that isn't what she was actually doing at the end of the film, we were confused. Suffice to say, if she actually did off herself, then the movie sucked. If it was an allegory, then the movie was cool. DC film-oriented too, homes!). Yeah, we predict all the school productions are gonna look like this in the next couple years, that how amazing the "looks" are here (DC know fashion too, bitches!). They're all based on the characters Dirty Mick painted for the tapestry that makes up the front cover of Toward the Low Sun—and based upon the action depicted here, can Toward the Low Sun: The Musical be far behind? It'll be the next Cats—assuming there hasn't been another Cats yet. Had to say, we don't keep up with the musical thee-atre too much. But now legitimate thee-atre, that we know! And to prove it, try this—we believe that Daniel Radcliffe's naked turn in the Equus revival would only have been enhanced by the horsey outfits in this video.
Cover art by Mick Turner
Toward the Low Sun is out now. The Dirty Three play Neumos on 10/2/12.