Star Guitar

Still from Michel Gondry's video for StarGuitar (2001) by Chemical Brothers
© EMI Electrola 2003 (DVD)

Using motifs probably inspired by the throbbing basic pulse of the piece and by the music accompanying travel films and train rides, the video presents an experience of a landscape that perfectly suits the music. The world endlessly passing by the window of the train compartment is (thanks to digital technology) perfectly harmonized with the music in terms of its elements, its structure, its atmosphere, and its speed—that is, rhythmic elements, structures of repetition, and interruptions of the beat correspond to equivalents on the visual level. For example, the overlapping images reflected in the window of the train car and the exterior rushing past correspond on the musical level to merging sounds, and people are clearly seen only in an intermediate part when human voices enter singing the song’s only words (You should see what I see / You should take what I take). Because these phrases are sung to long-held notes, and the basic beat otherwise heard everywhere is missing from this passage, it results in a subjective impression that the music is slowing down. This is taken up and amplified on the visual level by the train throttling back its speed as it passes through a station. At the same time, the travelers waiting on the track seem to pass in slow motion. In keeping with the lyrics, this can be understood as a reference to taking drugs, which is perhaps intended to account for the perfect harmony of the musical landscape shown with the music.