Music and animation are a perfect match.There is something about the way that animation can be so perfectly maneuvered to match the music that makes the experience of watching the video a whole sensory journey. It also offers filmmakers the chance to experiment with new techniques and create whole new worlds that match the artist’s vision.
Here are 10 animated music videos we think showcase the talents of British animators.
Peter Gabriel – Sledgehammer
Before there was Wallace and Gromit, Aardman lent their talents to the video for this classic 80s song. They created claymation, pixilation and stop motion animation that gave life to images in the song. The video won nine MTV Video Music Awards in 1987. You can read more about Aardman’s legacy in animation on the Anim18 blog.
Queens Of The Stone Age – Go With The Flow
Shynola is a collective of visual artists based in London, who have collaborated on a variety of projects, including a number of music videos.They have also done videos for Radiohead’s Pyramid Song, The Rapture’s House of Jealous Lovers and Junior Senior’s Move Your Feet but there’s something hypnotic about the video for Queen Of The Stone Age’s Go With The Flow that gets our vote. It won Best Special Effects at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards.
The Beatles – Yellow Submarine
This is a British feature-length animated musical, featuring The Fab Four. At the same time silly, subversive and ground-breaking, the a large crew of international skilled animators worked on this including Brits such as Gerald Potterton, Dianne Jackson and Alison de Vere, led by George Dunning. The film was re-released for its 50th anniversary by Picturehouse Entertainment in July 2018. Anim18 are supporting sing-along screenings of Yellow Submarine, which you can find out more about on the website.
sparks – Edith Piaf (Said It Better Than Me)
Created for the art rock duo for a track from their album, ‘Hippopotamus’, (2017), by British animator Joseph Wallace over an intense 6 week period. He is known for his distinctive stop-motion puppetry, which can also be seen in the video for James’ Dear John. You can find out more about how this video was created in this behind-the-scenes film and this interview with the animator.
Gorillaz – Clint Eastwood
Not just an animated video but a whole animated band! No one could have anticipated that British artist Jamie Hewlett’s collaboration with Blur’s Damon Albarn would be so successful. This was the song that introduced us to the virtual band. Directed by Hewlett and Pete Candeland and Passion Animation Studios the video won an award at the Rushes Soho Short Film Festival Awards in 2001.
Portishead – The Rip
The video was created by British animator Nick Uff, who met Portishead’s Adrian Utley through a mutual friend who built electronic instruments for the band. “It’s interesting because what I have done is in no way a promo video for the tracks, but is an intrinsic part of the music,” he said to the Bournemouth Echo.
Goodbye Blue Sky – Pink Floyd
Taken from Pink Floyd’s The Wall, the section for Goodbye Blue Sky was animated by Gerald Scarfe, an English cartoonist and illustrator. He worked as editorial cartoonist for The Sunday Times and illustrator for The New Yorker. Scarfe was approached to work with Pink Floyd after Roger Waters and Nick Mason both saw his animated BBC film A Long Drawn Out Trip. He drew the illustrations for their 1979 album The Wall as well as many other projects.
Bloc Party – Ratchet
Showcasing a different style of animation this video created by British artist Cyriak. Known for his surreal and bizarre short web animations this video takes snippets of Bloc Party’s old music videos and manipulates them using Adobe Photoshop to create disturbing mutations.
Tom Rosenthal – I Like It When You’re Gone
The fragile pencil marks and flickering lines reflect Tom Rosenthal’s moving lyrics in this animated video created by Rosanna Wan. A graduate of the Royal College of Art in 2015, she recently worked on a new animated music video for Moon Panda’s Rabbit with Andrew Khosravani.
Looper – Farfisa Song
Animated by Iain Gardner, this video features his characters Mustard & Ketchup, the two gay badgers. The video gave Gardner the opportunity to explore his characters on a new level. Gardner’s short films have screened at International Festivals around the world and he has animated on several commercial projects including Ethel & Ernest (part of our Politics & Persuasion strand). His introduction to the animation industry was as an apprentice at the Richard Williams studio, the company that animated Who Framed Roger Rabbit (part of our Young At Heart strand).
Which one is your favourite? Are there any British animated music videos that are not on our list that you think are great? Let us know at @Anim18UK #Anim18