Lynden’s Ear for Fashion: The North Circular and Owen Pallett

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METAMORPHOSIS // THE NORTH CIRCULAR from Little Yellow Jacket Productions on Vimeo.

‘Metamorphosis’ by The North Circular
Music by Owen Pallett ‘E is for Estranged’ (Domino Records).

A wee while ago now we worked on licensing music to a film introducing an ethical knitwear brand that employs home-working grannies (and one young man) to produce a handmade collection with wool from rescued sheep.

Upon receiving a request for this low budget film for Lily Cole’s own brand in which Lily Cole appears – there’s a bit of a sigh in the office. The synopsis referenced ‘The Metamorphosis’ as the inspiration and it seemed absurd to be relating Kafka’s work to granny knits and supermodels. Are they trying to pull the wool over our eyes? (sorry, couldn’t resist…)

Fertilized, the story grows out of a kaleidoscopic petri dish morphing into an inquisitive lens or dilating all-seeing eye. It focuses upon a newly born universe or the tree of life. The images smoothly stir and spin, looping back towards the main subject. As the dawn breaks something bulbous wriggles during its metamorphosis in a wooly cocoon. This motion of spinning seems appropriate in relation to wool. I’m not entirely sure what to make of the final shot of a confused looking Lily Cole who I think has been wrestling with balloons in a woolly bag. Visually, provided you don’t think about it too much, it’s an endearing concept with some slightly rushed shots of sheep thrown in (don’t forget the aforementioned rescued sheep). I like the time-lapse technique of the cocoon changing pace, shape and rhythm before eventually unraveling.

Thanks to the persistence of Little Yellow Jacket Productions they got the track they wanted. Owen Pallett’s technique of ‘multi-phonic looping’ by which rounds of recorded violin sequences are layered one over another creates a spiraling one-man string quartet, adding extra movement to the footage. Tension builds as the music syncopates and thickens along with the changing cocoon. Owen’s voice adds a soft, human aspect without which the film would seem a little cold and far-fetched. (He has a voice no granny could resist). The quality in the recording makes up for any flaws in the edit. All in all, I find this film is charming and I’m pleased it came together for them. It’s an inspiring way to present woolens and I think Lorna Love’s idea was worth pursuing.

Watch Owen Pallett’s technique in this live footage courtesy of KEXP:

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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