'This generation's Chris Cunningham', Jesse Kanda's video for Arca's Now You Know arrives just in time for Fireworks Night.
Jesse Kanda is one of this year's breakthrough music video directors. Working primarily with this year's denied-favourite of the Mercury Prize, FKA twigs, and noise pollutant Arca – with whom he shares a flat in Dalston – Jesse's videos and digital artworks provoke a mixture of delight and disgust, combining beautiful and nauseating imagery in unequal amounts.
His new video for Arca, Now You Know (watch above), is like being suspended in the middle of a massive fireworks display above London on an accelerating spinning teacup – initially wonderful, then exhilarating, then likely to make you feel rather ill.
The nearest reference point for Jesse's work is Chris Cunningham, who was arguably as responsible for the rise to fame of Aphex Twin as Richard D James himself. There are a few obvious links that will inevitably lead to accusations of copying, but the end result has a different enough effect that it appears more homage than plagiarism.
Jesse's 'extreme close-up' video for FKA twig's Water Me uses similar facial manipulations to Chris' Mental Wealth commercial for Sony Playstation, but while that ad aimed to unsettle with not-immediately-obvious use of VFX, Jesse’s video wants you to see what sadness is doing to twig’s face.
The dancing deformed babies of Trauma Part 1, an art project by Jesse and Arca, is a messed up combination of the teddy bears of Aphex Twin’s Donkey Rhubarb and Chris’s very disturbing short film, Rubber Jonny – though again the concept and result is quite different.
Arca’s co-producing Bjork’s next album and – from the Dazed interview linked to above – Jesse’s desperate to work with her, and I’d be really intrigued to see what that would produce.