Two years after the tragic 2011 earthquake and tsunami in northern Japan that killed thousands and devastated countless others, David Byrne and Sigur Rós are aiding in a relief effort to benefit children affected by the natural disaster.
Zapuni, an organization that pairs Japanese visual artists with famous musicians for charity projects, has just released two animated videos featuring songs by Byrne and Sigur Rós, respectively.
Byrne and Japanese musician Ryuichi Sakamoto teamed with animation duo UrumaDelvi for the cartoon companion to "Psychedelic Afternoon," a self-described "hippie tune" written by Byrne and Sakamoto that originally appeared on Sakamoto's 1994 album Sweet Revenge. This new version — the first official release to boast the former Talking Head on vocals — soundtracks a five-minute clip about a young boy haunted by nightmares of the 2011 tsunami. The young protagonist is startled awake and comforted to sleep by his grandfather's guitar playing, which transports him to a trippy, technicolor feel-good dreamscape.
"Blossom," the anime short born from a collaboration between Sigur Rós and director Yutaka Yamamoto, flies a similarly surreal theme. An elderly farmer struggles to bring land ravaged by the tsunami back to life, but gets some help from a flock of guardian angels.
Downloads of the "Psychedelic Afternoon" single are currently available on iTunes, and iPhone cases sporting patterns from both cartoon videos can be purchased through Zapuni's website. All profits will go toward School Music Revival, which provides Japanese schools damaged by the earthquake and tsunami with musical instruments and performances. Zapuni accepts direct donations here.