Years ago, at the late lamented Ideas in Animation series run by Nik & Nancy Phelps, the above animated music video “Bathtime In Clerkenwell” was shown. Needless to say, it made a huge impression.
Nik is an internationally-known scorer of animations, who records with Tom Waits amongst others, and was featured in Laughing Squid’s Tentacle Sessions. The “Ideas” series brought animations from around the world to the Bay Area, where Nik & the Sprocket Ensemble performed live beside them. There was always a very high quality of work presented, but still this one short (which Nik does not play on) really stood out.
A second video by the same combination of musical artist and animator was shown later in the series, and I was dying to learn more about it. The music was by The Real Tuesday Weld –what a strange name, is it man, woman or band?–while the visuals were created by Aleksey Budovsky, born in Russia and emigrated to New York; a prodigious talent of only 27-years old at the time.
Details were spotty 6 years ago now, but turns out that Stephen Coates is the driving force behind the music. Coates seems to also be known as The Clerkenwell Kid and he’s been steadily releasing albums and growing in noteriety. Now he’s on a US tour, and this week he’ll be in San Francisco to play that great former speakeasy Café Du Nord with a sizable band; it should be a great show.
From the bio on the Du Nord website:
Originally inspired by a dream of British 1930s crooner Al Bowlly and American actress Tuesday Weld, Stephen Coates began to create music to try to recreate the sounds he heard in his childhood home – ‘the crackling of radios playing swing and easy listening in some distant room.’ As The Real Tuesday Weld, Coates doesn’t hesitate to put those sounds to subversive use much like some of his most illustrious forebears and influences—such as Serge Gainsbourg and Ennio Morricone.
Coates has a real appreciation for animation and most of his videos feature great retro-animations like these which match very well with the style he’s created and calls “antique beat”.
The next clip actually features Nik Phelps on horns, it’s based on the classic tune “Brazil” and is called “(return I will to old) Brazil”. Nik & Nancy nowadays live in Belgium. They keep in touch with us old co-conspirators via tantalizing blogposts.
Here’s another Coates/Budovsky collaboration “Terminally Ambivalent Over You”: