Music Videos Reviews

Trance Action Delivery (2023) – 4 stars

Director: Florian Giroul

Running time: 3mins

Seemingly straight from the mind of Kevin Flynn, Trance Action Delivery is a three-minute music video which seemingly answers the question: what if Disney had made TRON in Garry’s Mod? The short-but-sweet animation follows a lone motorcyclist, whose vehicle emits a glowing trail behind it as it tears through the deserted streets of a dark, digital city.

Unusually for a music video, the project does not seem to be created to help promote a single track. The nameless tunes used for audio-wallpaper were supplied by Dennis Baptist and Jasper Vanpaemel, and are frankly a little non-descript. While you might hope for some churning Daft Punk-style synth here, we are instead supplied a faltering drum-loop, and some discordant screeching.

The action – which sees a faceless, demonic force begin a brief battle with the rider by cutting his own stream of light across his path – synchronises with the beats and churning, scraping and scratching of the audio nicely, but considering the music may well have been created to go with the visual, rather than the other way round, this arguably feels a little bit like cheating. At least as far as creating a music video is concerned.

The challenge of a music video is finding visuals which fit with a piece of audio the director did not design, but still finding ways to build on top of that and add new levels of story and enjoyment to it. The possibility of reverse-engineering a music video, and creating music around it seems to move the goalposts a little in that regard, because it gives the director carte-blanche with what they want to do.

I don’t have any evidence that Florian Giroul did that here, but the fact there is no indication at any stage what the piece of music his video is building on or promoting is called – let alone the name of the musical act, or where its work can be found – suggests to me this is the case.

With all that being said, I liked it. Not a lot actually happens – possibly because of the limited time and resources Giroul had at his disposal, while animating the project alone as a student at the LUCA School of Arts in Brussels – but the video never feels protracted or dull. That’s more than I can say for a number of music videos I have been exposed to on IFL, with the same run-times.

The character design is sharp, and manages to tell half the story without us needing any other visual prompts – while Giroul generally makes smart choices regarding the challenges he does or does not take on. Many first-time filmmakers have a habit of biting off more than they can chew, but he seems acutely aware of the principle ‘less is more’, avoiding lengthy and detailed exchanges between his two combatants in favour of building atmosphere through the towering shadows of the surrounding city instead. Stationary objects are, after all, much easier to animate.

The design of the surroundings uses computer iconography audiences will be familiar with to construct what at first glance might be an organic environment. The mountains in the distance, for example, are the visuals of a soundwave, while on closer inspection, the buildings and streets of the city the biker is riding through resemble a giant computer chip. None of this might be revolutionary stuff, but it’s solid, well-thought-out delivery of a ‘digital world’ that adds a great deal of character to the film.

In some places, Giroul’s desire to show us a little too much gets the better of him – particularly in the final shot of the film, when the motorcyclist’s face is revealed. While it might have been meant to show a determined combatant getting his second wind before continuing the fight, however, the blank expression on the character’s face is more reminiscent of one of the comedically brain-dead figures in a trippy animation. For the most part, though, he shows a wise level of restraint in terms of what he draws our attention to. As a result, he is able to create a stylised, shadowy world which many viewers will likely want to return to.

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