Jose Wolff is a cool local director that is within a little clique of Nite Jewel and Julia Holter, two local musicians who he has directed a few videos for. His work has a very specific style that is well suited for both artist’s light electronic vibe. The videos are hazy, simple, and personify exactly what the artists are saying in their songs.
Things all seemed to spark last year when Wolff directed a Nite Jewel/Holter collaboration, “What We See,” which Wolff codirected with Delaney Bishop. This collaboration must have bonded these locals together over some commonality because Wolff then went on to do two videos for each artists. “Am I Real” for Nite Jewel is an absurd and surrealist interpretation of the song that has Ms. Jewel on a date with a man composed of various starscapes and colors. The video–their earliest collaboration–very much questions what is real and what is the product of too many of those kooky beers they’re drinking in the video.
The “Sea Called Me Home” video for Julia Holter in 2011 was what brought Wolff into his element, into this very plainly shot and Holter focused video. This is perhaps the most still video, ironic as it is the only one that actually is out and about in Los Angeles. “Clive” was released not too long ago for Nite Jewel and sees further clarity on this idea of stillness and focusing on the performer: the video is Ramona (her real name) swaying and singing the song out of synch with the audio, blurred, as the coloration shifts. The result is a buoyant, sad little video. The very recently released “Goddess Eyes I” by Julia Holter rolls on to the next progression in his style as you never even get a clear look at Holter who is either very far away or completely fuzzy. It is the most story driven video and, funny enough, is the most visually unclear.
Looking at these four videos as a group, you see that Wolff, Nite Jewel, and Holter have nailed an aesthetic of simplicity and somberness. It’s almost like “June Gloom: The Video Anthology” but, when you watch them, they are very distinctly untied to place. They’re a fascinating group. Give them a watch and get more on Wolff here.