Colour and sound in Hyperballad (Michel Gondry, 1996)

This video demonstrates a clear relationship between sound and colour, with colour often used to highlight certain aspects of the song. The colour here is not used in relation to animation, nor is it used explicitly, but rather simply serves to enhance certain underlying elements of musicality, enhancing particular aspects of the song.

Depicting a sleeping Björk, the video features multiple versions of the singer in addition to this passive incarnation: an active, awake projection whose face is featured in front of her sleeping counterpart, and a two-dimensional character, shown as part of an onscreen video game.

This enhancement of underlying, less obtuse moments of music is most overtly depicted at the very beginning of the video, but is used numerous times throughout the video’s duration. The camera sways around the sleeping Björk; this movement invests the inert Björk with energy, enabling the video to create a feeling of progression, in spite of Björk’s current passive state and the current slower state of the music itself. As the music takes on another form bright flashes of green and blue appear behind the sleeping singer. These flashes of light function in a number of ways: acting as a visual representation of the music, reflecting the music the viewer hears. It also serves as a visual reminder of the aural aspect: these colours highlight particular aspects of musicality that may have otherwise been overlooked.

Throughout the video there is a clear attempt to highlight both musical and lyrical moments that may not be noticed if it were not for their visual representation, drawing particular attention to these aspects. Thus at one point, as Björk sings, the lyrics refer to particular objects such as ‘cutlery, bottles’. These objects, depicted as drawings, appear across the screen, acting as a clear, obvious visual representation of the lyrics themselves. Seeing this visual representation ensures that the viewer takes particular note of these lyrics, as well as understanding what the lyrics are referring to.

The two-dimensional version of Björk then appears, running across a predominantly blue landscape and cityscape. This incarnation, at a basic level, reminds the viewer of the multi-dimensional aspect of the music itself; simply through demonstrating multi-dimensional versions of the singer herself, it reminds the viewer of the multiple aspects of the music. Simplistically the multiple versions of the singer, including a miniature version, further encourage the viewer to focus upon musical details on a detailed level.

The video’s end again reinforces the concept of focusing on the minute details that in combination culminate in the final musical product. As the video draws to a close, the multiple Björks converge into one solid incarnation, demonstrating the different aspects of the song, which together create the final song itself. The video ends on a final shot of the red lights that have frequently appeared throughout the video, providing a visual link to the rest of the video whilst also focusing on a small specific detail, further emphasising the detail that is implicit within the song’s construction.

 

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