Devata Daun unleashes her 'Animal Instincts' in this week’s Top 5 MN music videos

Devata Daun

Devata Daun YouTube

Bring on the drones.

Though the prevalence of drones has been a source of concern for the anti-surveillance tin-hatters, the remote controlled 'bots have been an utter revolution in the music video world. As we saw in Finding Novyon’s “Believe in MPLS” video, directors Jake of Morningside Films and Irhad Mutic created an otherworldly perspective using a drone camera. With zooms untethered to cranes or booms, the camera floats through the scene, adding a new dimension to the lens.

In our lead video for this week, Wonderboom Films does the same for Devata Daun. Utilizing a drone to film her on the balcony of the Weisman Art Museum, producer c.Kostra and his team of camera workers make Daun seem both eerie and natural. Like the viewer is only visiting her world on an omniscient flyby.

It’s a really compelling tactic, and it’s something I hope to see more and more of as local videomakers continue to push themselves to be more creative.

Devata Daun -- “Animal Instincts”

“Animal Instincts” comes from another dimension.

At its heart, the deadpan electro jam is a buildout of the early-2000s house aesthetic, but Minneapolis’ Devata Daun also makes it feel completely alien. Like she’s been assimilated into the Borg empire and overridden the hive mind with her disaffected addiction to dance. The space-age visuals find Daun shooting through space trying to forget a lost love, with the Weisman turned into her vessel of rhythmic despair.

The song comes from Daun’s debut Look, which dropped last week via her own Pytch Records. “Animal Instincts” is one of 10 fascinatingly far-out tracks from the musician also known as Nikki Pfeifer. Keep your eyes peeled for more shows from her soon.

Excel -- “Blissings”

Rapper/producer/activist Excel has a problem with organized religion.

The dreadlocked Prosaic Minds representative doesn’t believe in the bigotry or violence that religion begets; he’s a follower of universal spirituality. In his own words, “Universal energy; the empowerment of identifying our God-self.” His visual manifesto is “Blissings,” an only mildly-confrontational statement piece where Excel runs down the ills of churchgoing in favor of the existential empowerment of his worldview.

To that self-sufficient end, Excel is not only the rapper on the track, though he also produced the beat and directed the video. You can see shades of Eyedea in the optimistic rhymer -- he even namedrops Oliver Hart on the chorus of “Blissings” to further the association -- but Excel possesses a metaphysical element that even Mikey didn’t shoot for.

Dwynell Roland -- “Devils”

More drones!

Local Frames regular Dwynell Roland has demons, ones he gladly confesses on the misanthropic new track “Devils.” The video (directed by Kevin Ceccon of NeoFilmMovement) follows Roland’s crazy-ass day as he’s run over by P.O.S (!) and left to die in an alleyway.

The cut comes from Roland’s still-unreleased new project, The Popular Nobody, but the video is meant to hype Roland’s upcoming gig at Prof Outdoors 3 at Cabooze on September 10. Everything about “Devils” suggests that Roland will fit in right alongside the uncivilized debauchery of the Stophouse celebration, so show up in time for his set. And be careful whipping around corners in your Mazda, because the drones are following you.

NonFic -- “Got It” (feat. Ill Vibras)

NonFic has a monstrous rhyming dictionary.

He can take an end syllable for a 16-bar walk, mutating each rhyme into a new form just when you think he’s gonna cut it off. It’s a skill the Duluth MC showcases in debut single “Got It” off his collaborative LP with producer Ill Vibras, Worth the Work.

Though NonFic likes to keep on these lengthy lyrical yarns, Ill Vibras doesn’t work the boards as straightforward. Over the course of “Got It,” the beat progresses into new sounds, with each movement feeling like chapters in a sonic book that rotates around NonFic’s unassailable flow.

And And End -- “I Am Trying”

Andrew Thoreen has called together artists living at the Schmidt Artist Lofts in St. Paul to create something truly organic and masterful.

The project is called And And End, and they’re already getting props from IMPOSE Magazine for their seamless improvisation. That much is showcased in the new video for “I Am Trying,” which features the collective improvising a 14-minute tapestry of music and art.

“The idea behind this video is that I've produced three different songs separately,” Thoreen says. “And then I experimented finding competing ways to improvise with and through each of these songs using loops, samples, and sequencing in Ableton Live.” The visual art is also provided by Schmidt residents -- namely Rick Pirtle, Mary Frances Judge, and Anne Cervenka -- making “I Am Trying” a multi-faceted collaboration of local visionaries. Stay ‘til the very end for the full effect.

Dream of seeing your video appear in Local Frames? Email writer Jerard Fagerberg at [email protected]