If anything, what you can say about Chris Cunningham is that each project he does (since
Come to Daddy at least) is its own beast, with its own world and
perverse logic. Windowlicker, speaking of perversion, is yet another brick in Chris'
Coming off of his chilling first Aphex Twin video, Chris uses masks to completely different effect here in his second work for Richard D. James. Instead of the horror (and, well, comedy) of mutant kids running around smashing each other, we have voluptuous hoochies beckoning us and disturbing us deeply. It's hard to decide which video's more disturbing.
Windowlicker is such a kick because it closely parodies the sexism inherent in most rap videos. From the lamest rap video (oh, and there are a lot of those) to Jay-Z's Big Pimpin', bling is so prevalent, and many rappers boast cash money and bitches so earnestly, that Chris Rock should have enough material all the way to the nursing home, and beyond.
Windowlicker's intro is hilarious. "You make a nigger wanta fuck, girl." Check the bleeped version - did this actually air? Vincent Patterson's tawdry dance sequence? That slow-motion, raunchy jiggle-fest at the end, where the hoochies are showered in the Aphex Twin's personal vintage? Nah, in America MTV wouldn't air it, so Warp Records wound up releasing it on VHS. While I don't have the numbers, I've read that it sold quite well.
And it was made to sell. Chris and company were making a conscious decision to make the most commercially accessible video possible, despite (or maybe because of) its disturbing imagery. Richard D. James is a brilliant marketer that way. The video is filled with his custom-made logos: his face, for one, and that identifiable (but undescribable) circular graphic, both of which he's used heavily throughout his entire career. Subversion is one of his trademarks as well: you know that weird high-pitched noise at the end of the video? If you plug that through a spectrograph, you'll see an image of a spiral. And on the single's second track, you'll find an x-ray image of Richard's face.
Windowlicker was released on VHS, an enhanced CD, and Chris' Directors Label DVD. The video also came with a wealth of promotional material, including a calendar, poster, and photos for the New Musical Express, all of which we cover in our folio. And no, the Gold Aphex Pendant we had at the top of the previous page covering Windowlicker was not real. That image was created by Matt Fretwell, who designed all of the promo titles on the previous version of this site.
As of 2003, the Warp releases of Come to Daddy and Windowlicker together sold 90,000 copies.
2000 German Dance Music Awards .. Best Video
2000 Music Week CAD Awards .. Best Alternative Video
2000 D&AD Awards
Silver .. Pop Promos .. Video Direction
Silver .. Pop Promos .. Editing
1999 Ericcson Muzik Awards .. Best Video
2000 NME Premier Awards .. Best Video
2000 Brit Awards .. Best Video