The Adventures of One EskimO

A visual album that serves a blend of storybook and music!!

Adventures of One eskimO
By: Tim McGovern

In a groundbreaking project that illustrates the mechanics of talent and innovation, the Adventures of One eskimO is a visual album that serves as a blend of a storybook and music, with pristine and vibrant animation that is comical and artistic.

The project was debuted by Warner Premiere and the U.K. independent band One eskimO. Having originated in London, One eskimO consists of Kristian Leontiou, who is the vocalist for the group; Pete Rinaldi, who plays the guitar; Adam Falkner, the drummer; and Jamie Sefton, bass and horns.

Produced by Passion Pictures, known for the award-winning Gorillaz animation, Adventures is an animated story fragmented into 10 separate sequences; each sequence is interrelated and forms a simplistic love story. One eskimO and his band—Monkey, Giaraffe and Penguin—are in pursuit of Little Feather, a petite Indian, who had lived peacefully in an igloo with her partner One eskimO. However, they soon find themselves torn apart by the dark force known as Mr. Top Hat; Mr. Top Hat, who wears a red-haired fox around his mouth, controls the world through his snow globe. With his band of friends, One eskimO sets out to rescue Little Feather—he later succeeds.

Each animated sequence is filled with the music from One eskimO, as none of the animated characters speak, though their actions often imitate that of the band. Monkey—Sefton—occasionally blows on his horn; Penguin—Rinaldi— with his eyes shaded, strums the guitar with his flipper; and Giraffe—Falkner—a white giraffe, beats the drums with his hooves. The animals represent the band in a comical way that is quite effective, as each animated creation has its own distinct personality and mannerisms.

The timbre of the music is light, with Leontiou’s voice very similar to that of Jack Johnson or Dave Matthews. One downside is that all of the songs—10 are included in Adventures—sound a bit too similar with little if any variety. The instruments are too distant, and it almost feels as if Leontiou does not even need a band and might as well go solo, for his voice is really all the listener hears. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but when watching the animated characters play instruments, I had hoped to actually hear them play.

The animation is superb and in some areas I thought I was watching a Japanese cartoon, with its multicolored hues that project a surreal-like world. One eskimO continues to evade the dark forces of Mr. Top Hat; these dark forces are stretched shadows that resemble ferrets with burning red eyes, sometimes morphing into birds or sharks. Often, the sky is a panoply of stars; sometimes these stars drip from trees like lemon-drops. In one scene, Monkey, Giraffe and Penguin are driving an ice-cream truck that can fly. Realism if far removed from Adventures, but that is why it is enjoyable to view.

A visual album has to have that surrealism in place, or else the project would appear mundane, especially when utilizing animation; animation allows the performers to accomplish what they would be unlikely to accomplish in real life, even with the aid of computer graphics. The scene of the flying ice-cream truck; the scene where One eskimO darts up a mountain and with the palm of his hand knocks a row of stars here and there, before leaping into the air and catching a pulsating star that carries him off into space; the scene where One eskimO is struck in the heart by a poisoned arrow; none of these would be as effective in a format other than animation. And the music has that dream-like quality to it that demands a world of animation to parade in. The angelic voice of Leontiou is at home in each of these animated settings; settings that are imaginative and unique.

97.3 KBCO & Homevibe Presents: One EskimO w/ Dave Preston & Eleanor || Monday November 30th, 2009 at The Walnut Room

The Adventures of One Eskimo

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