You know, any time you’re using Sigur Ros (my all-time favourite band, period) as your soundtrack, it’s virtually impossible to create something that isn’t beautiful. Coupling their miraculous music with images of nature and camaraderie only serves to enhance the effect. Those aspects made this a lovely piece of art, something that could be enjoyed by almost everyone.
But then Matthew Brown took it a step further. He added soundbites from a variety of homophobic leaders. With that one addition, this went from being merely lovely to being powerful. The juxtaposition of beauty (soundtrack, imagery) with ugliness (the soundbites) created a sort of dissonance that, rather than weakening the message, strengthened it.
When we’re talking about the music of Sigur Ros, some explaining is necessary for those who are not familiar with their work. Their music (falling pretty firmly in the “post-rock” genre) is characterized by its epic scale and the moods it invokes in the listener. For me, their music is about overwhelming joy, empathy, and optimism, but in most songs there is also a strong undercurrent of melancholy. This is readily apparent if you watch any of their gorgeous videos, which are some of the most beautiful pieces of work to arise from the music video medium. If you’ve never seen a Sigur Ros video, go to Youtube and check them out. If you liked this clip, you’ll love their own work.
When Brown inserted the soundbites into the soundtrack, he highlighted this aspect of the music to stunning and heartwrenching effect. The audio clips were hateful, horrible, and enraging. The serenity of the musical bed and accompanying images enhanced the effect. The clips were placed perfectly, following the gradual crescendo of the piece (“Untitled 3” for those who may be wondering, found on their album ( )), rising in intensity at roughly the same rate as the music. There was some serious thought put into the placement of these audio clips.
I think this video is just as effective, if not more so, than any ads our own groups have put out. It is life-affirming in the most complete way: it doesn’t ignore the ugliness in the world, but it doesn’t give in to it either; the optimism remains. I could easily see a 30-45 second edit being made from this and airing as a television commercial supporting the movement. The only problem is that it would be a shame to cut up something so gorgeous.
Matthew Brown, should you ever happen to read this, I want to thank you for sharing your talent, your vision, and your love with the entire world. I saw your soul in this piece, and it is truly a beautiful thing.