Napoleon – OSTs Vol 1: The Yamabushi


This year I got an unexpected surprise on my birthday when I woke up to see that Napoleon had just released a new EP in what looks to be a new ongoing series of imaginary soundtracks, similar to the epic run of monthly EPs he put out last year (which, if you haven’t checked those out yet, shame on you). Just having something new out in the world by Simon Mills is enough to sell me on the EP, but the idea of creating an original soundtrack for an imaginary project was more than enough to send me into music nerd heaven.

Simon Mills was kind enough to talk a little bit about his new project with me and of course the first thing I wanted to know was where he came up with the ideas for each of these proposed imaginary projects. “There’s a thread yes, a loose plot in each one, although that’s more just to help me piece the whole thing together. The themes tend to form after I’ve made a few tracks.” One of the future themes may be an homage to Tron, based on a scrapped idea for an EP he had last year, so keep an eye out for that one.

Video game and film soundtracks were what originally got me interested in music in the first place, and they were a huge influence for Simon growing up as well. “I would actually love to write a score properly for an existing piece, since I’ve had pieces in games and films before… I think a huge portion of my fave music is actually in soundtracks.”  The Yamabushi reminds me a lot of Miyazaki movies and PS1 JRPGs shot through Millsy’s unique electronic filter, basically checking off every box on everything it is that I love about music.


“Actually, the first song I did was ‘The Training Gardens’, which reminded me for some daft reason of an old computer game called International Karate – not entirely sure why, but alongside a couple of other sketches they felt part of the same universe. And from there I wrote more tracks and adapted them to have a similar palette and atmosphere. For me it’s almost like an early 80s obscure soundtrack, even though there’s house and disco elements in there. I guess it’s just how I perceive them!”

Early Japanese video game composers totally pulled their influences from Western sources as diverse as House music, Rock and Reggae, so I don’t know about you guys, but I’m totally on board with this interpretation. Of all the tracks “The Smell of Cut Grass” probably has the most old school video game soundtrack vibe to it, with synthesizer refrains that feel like they were ripped straight out from a classic Final Fantasy game.


But what’s the story of The Yamabushi actually about? “Well, it’s simply the clichéd tale of a warrior who has to infiltrate a fortress to save a princess.” I did a quick Google search for “Yamabushi” and found out that they’re Japanese mountain hermits with supernatural powers seeped in mysticism and I asked Simon, is that who the warrior is suppose to be? “Yeah, it’s derived from that. They apparently had a spiritual approach to life and fighting. The sleeve is an origami ball.”

I absolutely love this EP and I encourage anyone and everyone out there to come up with their own projects inspired by The Yamabushi, like this fan-made video for the final track on the EP, “Reborn (Ending Waltz)”. It’s probably one of my favorite tracks on the album. The song is so evocative that I bet if you asked someone what they were thinking of when they listened to this song that they could probably tell you what was suppose to happening in this imaginary story without knowing a thing about the project.  Simon had this to say about it: “The final track is kind of like the victory theme… which someone has made a video for, randomly… It’s not in line with the theme of the piece, but I love the references in it to vintage electronics, as that is me all over!”



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The Deep Freeze Mixtape

Deep Freeze Cover 1Believe it or not, this mixtape was actually completed and 90% ready to post to the blog right around the first week of the year. I had the theme picked out, the cover photos, everything. At the time of its inception we were at the height of winter and the East Coast was getting dumped on mercilously with snow and freezing temperatures, so I figured why not a winter theme? Plus I had just found a treasure trove of freezing cold imagry, some of which you can enjoy here. The only problem? While the rest of the country was buried under snow Seattle was actually having an unseasonably warm winter and I just wasn’t feeling it. There I was, all the pieces in place, and I just couldn’t pull the trigger. My figurative inspiration was just as absent as my literal one.

So what happened? I waited for cold weather to show up that never came. As I got busy with my other interests posting to the ol’ blog fell further and further from my mind and before I knew it we’ve gone almost half a year without a single post. All because the temperature here wouldn’t drop below 50.

Deep Freeze Cover 2

Was I ever going to post anything again? Would this mixtape ever see the light of day? While the weather outside stayed pleasantly warm C’est Non Un Blog went into a deep freeze, giving me a backdoor into the theme I had so carefully picked out months earlier. So without much more further ado, it’s finally here to see the light of day, The Deep Freeze Mixtape.

You can download the Deep Freeze Mixtape here or here. (Or just click on any of the cover photos.)

Deep Freeze Cover 3

It’s now Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of summer, which might seem like an odd time to put out a winter-themed mixtape, but what better to think about as the temperatures start to rise than ice? Plus, you can always use more music during summertime, winter-themed or not.

A lot of the music included here does remind me of long nights and cold temperatures and a lot of the music–especially towards the first half of the playlist–feels as appropriate for winter listening now as it did when I first put this together, but rest assured, the beats per minute do increase with plenty of dance-friendly summer tracks. There’s a lot of repeat artists in this mix (two ODESZA tracks back to back; the last quarter of the mix is basically a love letter to ♡kitty♡ and Napoleon) but the whole thing flows so well for me that I just had to let it happen. Oh man, the flow. Try and listen to the tracks in order. Some really fantastic things happened as I put some of these tracks together. I really do love this mix, reflected by the fact that I’ve listened to it at least 20 times already, which only begs the question of why I waited so long to share it. Well, the wait is finally over.

Thanks for sticking with me folks. Hopefully there will be a lot more new content to follow. And as always, download the mixtape. Listen to it. Enjoy it. Let me know what you think. And I’ll see you again next time.

Deep Freeze Cover 4

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C’est Non Un Blog’s Top 15 Music Videos of 2014 (Part 5)

Another year down. Another Best Of list finished. Before we get started on our Final 3 I just want to take a second to thank you all for reading, especially after such a lean year as this one. Your continued support makes it worth putting up with spending all of this time writing up new posts and I’m making it my New Year’s Resolution to keep you guys better stocked with new posts like this one. With that said, let’s stop wasting time and get back to the countdown because this last post is a big one:

3. Wunder Wunder – Hail The Madman

Hail The madmanBeach Blanket Bingo meets War of the Worlds sums up this video for “Hail The Madman” pretty nicely. Mucho kudos goes out to everyone who worked on this because the production design on this video is perfect. You’ve got to love how quickly this video goes from cute and quaint to the comically absurd. I’m not sure what’s madder, the guy back-flipping away from danger, the fact that we never know what came out of the purple smoke, or me for caring this much about a single music video. And you know what’s really tragic? How few times this video has actually been viewed on YouTube. Come on, let’s help ’em out, guys!


2. iamamiwhoami – Blue

Fountain4You may be saying to yourself right now, “Isn’t Blue the name of that new album that iamamiwhoami just put out this year, and not a single video? I mean there’s 10 songs in one post! Making a tie out of two Haim songs is one thing, but this is getting ridiculous!” Calm down, dear reader. It’s OK because I already set this precedent before by naming iamamiwhoami’s kin my number one video of 2012 and I don’t think the amazing Blue should be treated any differently.

Not to be confused with “blue blue” one of the (best) songs that is included on this album, Blue is here in its entirety because the ten videos that comprise the album also make up one continuous video carrying over common themes from one video to the next (and even ones from the last series of videos that was kin). Jonna Lee and her longtime music producer Claes Björklund make their music with these videos specifically in mind. Just about every song that they’ve produced so far has also produced its own music video, and I spent way more money that I probably should have picking up a limited edition physical copy of Blue to support them because all that money goes right back into making these huge, amazing art pieces. There has yet to be a single video that they’ve done that I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed.

So wait, if we’re going to go so far as to include all ten videos for one spot on the list, why isn’t this my number one video like kin was in 2012? Well, as much as I love these videos they didn’t quite have the unique wow factor for me that kin had. Yeah, they are wonderful, but ultimately I think the real strength of Blue lies more as an album, and I’d even go so far as to call Blue one of the best albums of 2014 and as a whole it’s the best thing iamamiwhoami has produced thus far. It all just works so well together, easily being the most cohesive and enjoyable piece of work that they’ve done from start to finish.

Usually this would be the part where I make educated guesses as to what each video in the series is about, but I’m not going to do that today. I’ve got my own ideas and maybe I’ll get around telling them to you in 2015, but for now I’ll just let you make up your own opinions.

If you’re only going to listen to one song from this playlist, you should probably check out the first song “fountain”, which more than adequately sets the tone and lays out all of the motifs that you’ll be enjoying for the rest of the videos, or check out “chasing kites”, probably my very favorite song on an album that’s jam packed filled with great songs.

Goddammit, you know what? Don’t check out just one. Fuck that. Do what I did and stream YouTube through your TV, crank up your sound system and watch all 10 of these as one big long  music video just like god intended it.


1. Napoleon – Step Off

NapoleonYou’d think I would be pretty stupid to put a fanvid using the dance sequence from Napoleon Dynamite as my number one all-time bestest video of 2014, especially considering I’ve seen so many other videos that have done the exact same thing, but you’d be wrong. Romain Bezzina edited that now cliché footage in such a carefully considerate way that it feels like it was originally shot specifically for Napoleon’s “Step Off”, making even the original film version of this footage now pale in comparison. Every cut, every shot, every movement of Napoleon Dynamite seems tailor fit to Napoleon’s easy groove.

What I find amazing is that when I first watched this video I couldn’t even remember the original song from EP 6: A Night Voyage, despite having listened to it probably 3, 4 times prior to watching the video, and now I can’t listen to the song without seeing this video shot for shot in my mind. That really speaks to the power of a music video done right, where it can take a song that was, for me at least, lost in a sea of other good songs and raise it up to legendary status. “Step Off” is now and will forever be in my top 5 best Napoleon jams. That’s why I keep writing about music videos, because I really think they can make a lasting impact in our lives.

Napoleon has been a big part of my 2014. If you weren’t already aware Simon Mills, aka Napoleon, set out a goal for himself to release a new EP every month this year, and big congratulations go out from me to him, because the crazy bastard actually did it. If you haven’t yet downloaded all 12 of Napoleon’s EPs yet, you really should. Trust me, you need to click on that link. There are so many gems like “Step Off” to be found in there. He produced 49 tracks this year (not counting all the other outside work he did) and more than quite a few of them turned out to be instant classics, just like “Step Off”.

As you’re all probably sick of hearing me say by now, this year I also did an interview with Simon Mills, one of my all-time biggest musical heroes, which will probably go down as one of the best highlights not just of this year, but for me and the blog in general. I can’t thank Simon enough for taking the time to write back to me and answer a few of this music nerd’s burning questions. Turns out Romain Bezzina saw the post I did on “Step Off” through Simon and he got in contact with me this year to say thanks as well, which is doubly amazing. At this point you could be forgiven for thinking that I made “Step Off” my number one video as a lazy bit of cronyism pandering to those two, but I really do think that this is one of the best music videos that I’ve seen in a really, really long time. If you haven’t watched it yet you really should watch it right now, because I’m more than sure that you’re going to agree with me.


Time for me to call it quits. I’m more than a little bit tipsy at this point and I’m really hoping my writing hasn’t suffered because of it. See you in 2015!

[BTW, if you want to watch all of the videos included in C’est Non Un Blog’s Top 15 Music Videos of 2014 list in one go from start to finish (excluding “Step Off”, because it’s only available on Vimeo right now) check out the playlist I made below.]

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C’est Non Un Blog’s Top 15 Music Videos of 2014 (Part 4)

Things get a little weird on today’s countdown, but in a good way. (At least for me, anyways. The rest of you weirdos better get on board.)

6. Allie X – Bitch

BitchI’m always impressed by someone who can do a lot with basically no budget. Using a VHS camera and other cheap optical effects this video for Allie X’s “Bitch” gives a simple trip around a supermarket an apocalyptic, end of the world, Repo Man-esq quality that’s absolutely mesmerizing. Think about what this video would look like shot in HD. It would probably look ridiculous. And yet with the right filters and clever editing this is one of the most compellingly watchable videos of the year. And the song itself is far and away one of my very favorites from 2014. The moody atmosphere and epic anthem blasting chorus of “Boom Boom!” sends shivers up my spine every time.


5. Jack Ladder and the Dreamlanders – Come On Back This Way (feat. Sharon Van Etten)

Come On Back“Come On Back This Way” just happens to be the perfect companion piece to “Bitch” and I love it for a lot of the same reasons. From almost the instant this video first started I was hooked, much like our slide guitar playing friend above. The video is weird, which I realize is probably going to put some of you off, but you’ve really got to give it a chance because that weirdness is what makes it so special. It has this hypnotic, Twin Peaks quality that sucks you in and transports you someplace else. Make sure you listen to the lyrics too. The song tells a pretty crazy story that I’d love to see filmed in this style.


4. Joywave – Tongues (feat. KOPPS)


Shock. Glee. Horror. Joy. Wonder. Absurdity. Awe. Surprise. Ingenious.

If you haven’t seen this video before words cannot adequately express what it is that you’re about to get yourself into with “Tongues”. I will warn you before you start watching that there is quite a bit of (tasteful, non-gratuitous) nudity in this, so it’s probably best to not watch this at work or around the easily offended, but aside from that I’m not going to spoil things by saying any more. It’s too good to ruin the surprise. Trust me, it’s worth it. I only just watched this video for the first time a couple days ago and in that short amount of time it already shot its way to my fourth favorite video from 2014.

Enjoy the ride, and I’ll see you again tomorrow for our final 3 videos of 2014.



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C’est Non Un Blog’s Top 15 Music Videos of 2014 (Part 3)

This is the one where you start to question whether or not I know how to count to 15.

9. DyE – She’s Bad (feat. Egyptian Lover)

She's Bad2Visually “She’s Bad” is probably the most creative video on this list. Not for the faint of heart, this very NSFW video superimposes wildlife footage over the more urbane mating ritual that is two people going out on a date. It starts off innocently enough, but the title of this song should give you some indication of what to expect from the twist ending. If you’re squeamish you might want to turn away from the screen at the end and practice your popping and locking instead. 80’s legend Egyptian Lover gives this song some well deserved electro funk street cred that’ll get you up and dancing in no time.


8. Kindness – Who Do You Love (feat. Robyn)

Who Do You Love Who Do You Love2

The thing that I love most about Kindness is how their music and lyrics have such a pure and raw emotional quality to them. It takes real honest-to-god talent to tell a story beautifully and eloquently with such simplicity and economy of language and purpose, much like what you hear in “Who Do You Love”. Each note, each pause, each instrument seems essential and mandatory, like nothing else could have done the job any better, and Robyn’s always amazing voice more than rises to the task Kindness had at hand for her.

The video is also very spartan. No one is this video is a paid actor–everyone is either a friend or relation to Robyn or Adam Bainbridge of Kindness–and as the story goes they were sat in front of a camera, talked to, and just asked to respond honestly and appropriately. The video is just a sequential series of human faces, but as simple and no-frills as this video is it’s really hard not to have an emotional reaction while watching it, it’s so beautifully done. Each dart of the eyes or twitch of a facial muscle perfectly matches the story being told in the song. “A picture tells a thousand words…”


7. Haim – If I Could Change Your Mind / My Song 5 [tie]

Change Your MindMy Song 5I think I actually sat down and attempted to write a post for “If I Could Change Your Mind” at least two/three times this year. I mean, it got so bad that the screen grab from the video that you see above was actually pulled from a rough draft I’d started to put together months and months ago. It then seems only fitting that I should finally give this video its due in my year end list. I’m a sucker for a well-choreographed and cleverly staged dance video and “If I Could Change Your Mind” checks all of those boxes, from the clapping routine to the quick swapping of color pallet from black and white to deep maroon. It’s a lot of fun.


Of course “If I Could Change Your Mind” wasn’t the only great video Haim put out this year, and I was torn trying to pick between it and “My Song 5”. Featuring a guest verse from A$AP Ferg and guest appearances in the video from SNL’s Vanessa Bayer, Kesha and Grimes (!), “My Song 5” features the sisters as guests on a crazy lost 90’s daytime talk show. While “If I Could Change Your Mind” feels like it could have been ripped right out of the 70’s with its funky guitar riffs and playful handclaps, “My Song 5” is decidedly modern with its jerky, subwoofer destroying beat. I also really love that harmonizing part that starts around 2:17. It’s killer. That’s the moment where you know this song is capital Bad. Ass.

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C’est Non Un Blog’s Top 15 Music Videos of 2014 (Part 2)

Today’s theme is videos I totally–like, seriously you guys–meant to post earlier but, well, didn’t. Oops.

12. Blood Orange – You’re Not Good Enough

Good Enough Good Enough2

You could be forgiven for thinking that this video, directed by Gia Coppola (man, those Coppola kids are everywhere) feels like it was a forgotten music video made for the soundtrack of a lost Eddie Murphy movie from the late 80’s/early 90’s. Everything about the video, from soft-focus lighting to the fashion to the choreography and of course the music, completely captures that lost-in-time feeling of something from that era perfectly. You could see Michael Jackson or Lionel Richie making this video, easy.

Blood Orange also made last year’s Best Of list with “Chamakay”, which is featured on his album Cupid Deluxe along with “You’re Not Good Enough”.


11. DJ Oguretz – I Want To Sex You

Sex You

What’s the world coming to when a guy can’t pick up a girl by thrusting his pelvis uninvited into her face? Following his now classic “Let The Music Fuck You” video from last year, Russian DJ Oguretz created yet another memorable video for this acid house banger. The video follows a clueless loser looking for love in all the wrong places until finally, perhaps, he finds his soul-mate. It’s delightfully tongue-in-cheek and serves as a great counterpoint to this otherwise sexy club track.


10. Beverly – Honey Do

Honey Do2 Honey Do

Why do I love this video for “Honey Do”? It’s hard to put my finger on it. The best I can come up with is that it perfectly captures the essence of what it felt like to grow up as a teenager in the 90’s. The black and white photography might as well read “Yearbook photo” that taps into extreme waves of nostalgia, only exasperated by chunky alt-guitar chords flung straight out of some flannel-wearer’s garage. These kids could be me, you, all your high school friends hanging out on summer break with nothing to do, back when hanging out really meant just hanging out and doing nothing, because you didn’t have anywhere to go or much, if any money, to do anything anyway. Need proof that this video is made for me and wasn’t meant for the kids of today? They go CD shopping in this video, for crissakes! Who does that anymore? Hopefully while they were there they bought Beverly’s superb debut album, Careers.

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C’est Non Un Blog’s Top 15 Music Videos of 2014 (Part 1)

2014 managed to simultaneously be one of the best and worst years for C’est Non Un Blog. On plus side this year I did my first ever interviews for the blog with David Dean Burkhart and Simon Mills (very exciting!); I put out my biggest mixtape yet, The Superhero Summer Mixtape (100 songs!); and the quality of each and every one of my individual posts is probably at the best that they’ve ever been since I started doing this.

Unfortunately all that extra work created some unforeseen problems, mainly that while everything’s been getting bigger and better this year, there’s also been a whole lot less of it to enjoy. There’s been fewer posts this year than any year I can remember since I started doing this more than ten years ago. Yeah, my bad. Take the fact that it now takes me four times longer on average to write a post than it used to, combine that with my perfectionist instinct to not want to put out something half-assed now, and multiply that by my natural predication towards procrastination and laziness and well, after all that gets jumbled together not much got done. Blame it on me trying to take on too much and not pace myself properly, but what you the reader got is this year’s meager batch of posts.

Anyone who’s read one of my year’s end lists before knows that I draw from all of my previous posts to pick my top…whatever the hell number of videos I feel like doing that year, but if I followed the pattern and did that this year I’d pathetically just be reposting everything I’ve already done, so this year we’re going to be doing things a little bit different. Mixed in with the usual favorite videos that I’ve already talked about this year will be my favorite videos that I was totally going to post, but well, you know… as well as the best videos I just found while trolling other people’s Best Of lists while trying to come up with something to throw together last second. With that said, all and all I think I put together a pretty solid representation of what this year had to offer us.

So sit back, put on some headphones, crank the music up and enjoy Part One of our five part look back at what I think best represents the Top 15 videos of 2014.

15. Iggy Azalea – Fancy (Feat. Charli XCX)

FancyIf you had to pick the song of 2014 Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” would probably be right up there at the top of most people’s lists. “Fancy” was everywhere this year, catapulting Iggy to top entertainers of 2014 status and finally putting the indomitable Charli XCX on the radars of anyone who was too dumb to have not paid attention to her previously. Don’t believe me? This video has been viewed more than 410 million times as of me writing this.

So why is it on the list? Aside from successfully and playfully paying homage to Clueless, ultimately you’ve got to give it up to the hooks in this song. If “Who dat, who dat? I.G.G.Y” wasn’t stuck in your head all year then it must have been because Charli XCX’s “I’m so fancy” chorus was stuck there instead. You probably don’t need any more proof than that because I’m guessing you are now singing those parts in your head before you even hit play on the video below.


14. Elliphant – One More (feat. MØ)

One More One more2

Next up on our countdown is another all-star female collaboration, this time between Elliphant and MØ, two of the most dynamic female voices coming out of Scandinavia right now (and that’s saying something). “One More” is a beautiful catchy ode to getting perhaps a bit too drunk and trying to convince your friends to stay for just one more drink (that’s also perhaps one too many). This bruiser of a tune’s killer refrain of “I’ve got money” is less bravado than it is a desperate plea to lure back those broke schmucks stumbling out the door at last call for another round of madness.

While singing drunk in the back of a cab isn’t exactly a unique idea for a music video (see also: Lily Allen’s “Our Time” video) what saves this video from mediocrity is their crazy drunk geisha meets club kid fashion choices, as well as the amazing harmonizing of these two unique voices. You can just tell in the video that the two of them had a lot of fun collaborating. “One More” is one of those killer earworms that only gets better and more addictive the more you listen to it.


13. Kiesza – Hideaway


Rounding out today’s countdown of this year’s most badass female performances is Kiesza’s infectiously happy dance video for “Hideaway”. The playful choreography was all shot in one-take, whose DIY simplicity seemed especially refreshing this year now that OK Go is too busy trying to absurdly one-up themselves with each new video (doubly impressive considering she’s recreated the video several times on her live television appearances). I still catch myself singing “ooo…ahh…ahh…ooo” in the shower most days. It all adds up to one memorable video, which is exactly what you need for a Best Of list.


[While it didn’t make the cut, out of respect to the other infectiously catchy girl power tracks on today’s list an honorable mention needs to go out to Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” video. Let the hater’s hate, that was a damn fun video.]



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