Week in Pop: Bret Koontz, Rock Abruham, Shmu, Sour Notes

Sjimon Gompers

Talking bars & brews with Rock Abruham; photographed by Enoch the 7th Prophet.

The Sour Notes

The sweet & spicy world of The Sour Notes; press photograph courtesy of Jared Paul Boulanger.

Featured off their recent album Darkest Sour, Austin’s The Sour Notes keep the celebration of their fifth album going strong with the world premiere of the video for “Clock Strikes Twelve” directed by New York artist Ofer Shouval. Under the artistic leadership auspices of Jared Paul Boulanger, the cult of underground counter-culture pop heroes & legacies are brought to the surface of our modern era with whirlwinds of sound that update decades of electric energy into the aesthetics of the postmodern age. Specializing in the sonic sound bookends that lie between the freak-beat anarchists of the 1960s to the pop provocateurs of the 1990s—Ofer Shouval takes all these components into account for the visualization that taps into the gestalt of the group’s raison d’être. Emerging from one of the most important music capitals in the world, Shouval gives the Austin group the NYC art-house treatment where fuzzy filters & effects accentuate the the ineffable aspects of exhilaration that extend well beyond the eleventh hour.

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“Clock Strikes Twelve” is the prime tune to rock whether it’s the midnight hour or the lunch/brunch break of noon. The performance-based visuals of the group rocking out are met with an array of chromatic effects that mix film negative exposures with a psych-centered color palette. Scenes of the Sour Notes cutting chords & kicking out the jams are coupled with city & subway scenes of trams & commuters in transit through the under & above ground passage grids. The rhythms that steadily roll on “Clock Strikes Twelve” are paired with the speeding scenery & animated spriraling circular background effects that match the whirring atmospheric environments that Boulanger & the band create with clockwork precision. The video & single is the perfect companion for trying to catch that express train to class, work, or en route to an evening event of your choice. “Clock Strikes Twelve” is more than a song about time, but something that seeks a greater sense of perception beyond the temporal lens of tunnel vision. Jared Paul Boulanger emphasizes the importance of something that is greater than the journey alone, observing time as a necessary & rudimentary means to arrive at the destinations of our respective dreams, hopes & desires held closely to our hearts.

Rocking & a rolling with The Sour Notes’ own Jared Paul Boulanger; photographed by Ofer Shouval.

We had an opporunity to talk to to both director Ofer Shouval and The Sour Notes’ Jared Paul Boulanger all about the visualization process for “Clock Strikes Twelve” & a whole lot more in the following interview feature:

How did the idea for the video come about?

Jared: Ofer and I used to work together in Austin and our bands played together a few times before he moved to New York. I’d been digging his recent animated video work online and asked if he’d be interested in picking a song off our new album to produce a video for.

Ofer: Yep. After Jared sent the record over, I was listening to the tunes on the subway. ‘Clock Strikes Twelve’ came on, and it just fit, you know? The song just feels like being crammed into a metal box while simultaneously hurtling rapidly through a dark passage. So that sparked the idea.

What was the actual making of the video like?

Jared: I shot some b-roll of the band performing the song at our rehearsal studio, in-front of a makeshift-greenscreen-tablecloth and sent it to Ofer to work with. He sent me text message screenshots of the video along the way, but other than a few color preferences, I really just let him do his thing.

Ofer: When I make music videos I generally like to use them as an excuse to try something I haven’t tried before; for this one I wanted to experiment with a bunch of filters and see to what extent I could cartoonify live action footage. After I found an aesthetic I was happy with, I cut together Jared’s green screen footage, and applied that set of filters to it. Then I took the train into Manhattan to go to Trader Joe’s, shot a time-lapse on my iPhone through the front window, cut it into the video, and made roast chicken and baked potatoes.

Production process visual stills from The Sour Notes’ “Clock Strikes Twelve”; courtesy of Ofer Shouval.

How does the song tie-in with the video?

Jared: I like how the video is relatively dark, with bursts of color to accentuate the musical movements. To me, it ties in with the artwork and title of our new album Darkest Sour. Ofer said he was going to shoot some footage around New York to edit around the band, but it wasn’t until I actually saw a cut of the video that I remembered that the song contains a sample from the Manhattan L Train… got lucky with that one I guess.

Ofer: I guess I already answered this above, but I just wanna add that the first time I heard the song, when the L train announcer sample played at the end I was genuinely confused because I thought I was hearing it through my headphones and I was on L train going the other direction. Took me a few seconds before I put it together. Oh and to all you New Yorkers reading this, yes I know I was shooting from the M train. Poetic license and everything, its much prettier up there.

Anything else you two would like to share with the world?

Jared: In the coming months, we’ll be releasing a follow-up 7″ called Finest Sour, featuring two unreleased songs that we recorded around the same time as Darkest Sour.

Ofer: I wanna thank Jared for asking me to work on this, it was a real pleasure! Good luck with Darkest Sour, its a really fun record. Also if anyone likes the video and wants to see some more of my work, check out refo.myportfolio.com, or on Instagram @ofer_shouval.

The Sour Notes’ new album Darkest Sour is available now.

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