Lynden’s Ear for Fashion: Andrew Thomas Huang

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This week I would like to flag up the superbly executed and intricate work of Andrew Thomas Huang whose experimental short (crowd-funded) ‘Solipsist’ deservedly attracted huge acclaim over the past year.

When I first saw this film I’d already seen Bjork playing at Bestival in 2011 and I felt like I was watching a continuation of how I felt when I experienced her Bestivalstage show for Biophilia. This is something leading toward a music video and (sorry to say) a Sony Bravia commercial. In its defence, with no dialogue and no sense of story only of philosophical experiment, ‘Solipsist’ is too experimental to be any kind of commercial and isn’t a music video as it is set to Huang’s own musical score – which out-of-context is a little like listening to new age oriental musak meets Kavinsky and Vangelis – not necessarily a bad thing but lacks a sense of quick build and pay back you’d expect from something commercial which rewards the short concentration span of the average YouTube viewer. When the film concludes however, the preceding 8 minutes of suspense in the audio pays off with dramatic effect.

Personally, I’m happy it’s experimental which is why it is so successful and also so significant. Opening with a paint effect I’m instantly thinking about the music video to ‘You Came Out’ by We Have Band (created by W+K creative team Ida Gronblom & Fabian Berglund and Blinkink director David Wilson). However, paint is left far behind in abrilliantly indulgent short. Models are cleverly engulfed in a creeping growth of reef inspired fabrics, feathers and threads before you’re lost under water amongst a cast of Jim Henson inspired sea creatures that make noises like Labrynth. You’re thinking that this must surely be the end and then the final of three sections begins – an extraordinary play with arid sands and colour. It’s an unforgettable visual experience. Delightfully subtle references in the music beautifully choreographed water, deep sea and desert coupled with sound design to emphasise the action.

Though not a film driven by a fashion concept – this film should inspire fashion film makers to understand how music and sound design can draw attention to embellishing texture of fabricas Huang does so thoughtfully. The collaboration with costume designer Lindsey Mortensen is exciting to watch and makes me want to know more about her work. This experiment is a success and clearly Bjork agrees having asked Huang to direct the video for her release ‘Mutual Core’. Consequently – Andrew Huang is now signed up to Blinkink.

Only after watching Solipsist did it click in my brain Huang directed the damnably catchy ‘What’s it in for?’ by Avi Buffalo (all sing ‘oh wohhh oh’)

It’s interesting also to watch him selling the concept of the film to Kickstarter – clearly setting out his inspirations (he himself points to Jim Henson) which in the finished film are referenced but not to the detriment of his unique vision. Inspiring stuff:

Want more?…

Watch Solipsis making of
And check out Andrew Huang’s YouTube Channel

Lynden Campbell is the Head of Syncronisation at Domino Recording and Domino Publishing companies. Read more from Lynden on her daily blog for Domino.

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