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Surface Noise "Re-Animates" Estonian Master's Work For The Frontier Romantic Universe

This month sees the premiere of an animated music video for Devin Greenwood’s new song "Surface Noise." Greenwood approached the legendary Estonian cartoonist and animation director Priit Pärn with a new cut of Hotel E, Pärn’s colorful, classic short on post-Soviet identity and western malaise. Pärn lent his enthusiastic support and later requested “Surface Noise” be included in RETROSPECTIVE: PRIIT & OLGA PÄRN, a tribute to his work and that of his wife, director and animator Olga Pärn at the Turku Animated Film Festival in Turku, Finland.

Much like the European cult-classic from which it was created, "Surface Noise" deals with notions of shifting identity, but through the magnifying glass of romantic love. Greenwood uses Pärn’s depiction of culture shock after the fall of communism to examine romantic ownership claims and the heartbreak that can result when sex and class status collide. Colorful characters inscribe each other, marking territory and making boundary assertions while male and female personas appear in in ever-shifting settings, suggesting the sense of fluidity that characterizes relationships on the frontier of our romantic universe. Newly restored to HD, the animation is vibrant and eccentric, calling back to early 1990s style and marrying seamlessly to the music.

Devin Greenwood is a producer who has previously worked with artists such as Sufjan Stevens, Norah Jones, Steve Reich and David Lang. After early career collaborations as a front-person and musician with Amos Lee, Langhorne Slim, Denison Witmer and others, Greenwood switched focus to studio-craft, opening his recording studio The Honey Jar in Brooklyn. He is slowly re-emerging into releasing music under his own name. 

The song, on which Greenwood plays the majority of the music, also features Mirah (K Records) on backing vocals and Amir ElSaffar (New Amsterdam Records) on trumpet.

The video can be found here

Priit and Olga Pärn live in Tallinn, Estonia and Eesti Joonisfilm OÜ is their animation studio.


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