The history of Rube Goldberg contraptions in pop culture is long and convoluted, like the machines themselves. What it pretty much boils down to, though, is Peewee Herman’s breakfast and that OK Go video--two towering examples of the form. In order to get anywhere near the conversation with these two Hall-of-Famers, you’d better come out guns blazing or risk looking like the board game Mousetrap. A just-released music video manages to avoid being caught in such comparisons.
"Tuna Melt" is a bouncy electro jam from Kanye West’s former tour DJ, A-Trak, and Tommy Trash. Directed by Ryan Staake, who sometimes goes by the name Pomp & Clout, the video features the best use of a domino effect since last week’s 10,000 iPhones, only without the CGI. These dominos climb staircases, turn on faucets, and interact with other objects acting as dominoes, such as books and toast.
A lot of mileage is wrung out of these sticklike objects called kinetics. To create these effects, Staake sought out the aid of Kinetic King, who has created a bunch of gadgets over the years that are totally worth checking out. In one of the best effects, a whole stack of photos of A-trak is plucked away in rapid succession, one at a time, making a flip book effect. Between this innovation, the guided paper-airplane flight, and a grand finale that brings the title some much-needed context, consider the Rube Goldberg gauntlet thrown.