For April it makes sense to have a long gander at what is growing in the garden of unearthed video delights in the moment. And by george, we’ve plucked, what I hope may be a blend of future shock and other irrational stock. Keep in mind that many of these cuts are singles and/or fall moreso in the pop-ish realm, though still all of these would be outside the typical AOR.
How can anyone not be immediately mused and taken in (and it’s my admitted introduction to) of Montreal‘s Paranoiac Intervals/Body Dysmorphia! With it’s early 80’s post-post new wave feels, layered with the topic of gender identification – for sure one of the political hot spots of our time. “Anyone but me is an antipathy, anyone but me is just your enemy” – indeed. The colors are saturated and muted, and the harmonies are deep and twisted, the vocal delivery is delightfully deadpan and low-fi bark rapped. The bent mirror play dramatizes the gender-bending haunting mood here, and it’s sure to be a cult classic as far as the genre will allow. Directed by Jennifer Juniper Stratford:
“The Revolution Is My Girlfriend”: Fever Ray, the splinter project of The Knife is back and means business. In this breath I mean some weird breaks and pauses, more androgeny and modern dance colored by neon and glitter. A wildcard bald joker is on the loose hosting a costume loft party that is part Devo’s “Boojie Boy”, part Project Runway, and the rest is up to chance. Tin foil, faux muscle and graffitti text paint the overtly cheap background effects of this otherwise catchy track. IDK About You is complete with a quasi tribal beat and a frenzied questioning of desirous femininity is the age of #MeToo. Hey, we should all be mad and not take it anymore!
From the most recent album Sir is the return of Fischerspooner and their video for Butterscotch Goddam feat. the silk crooning interludes of Johnny Magee. This is the third or fourth release in what seems like an overtly visually graphic (and s/m homoerotic) album. highly produced lightshow blends geometric colorful shapes, oiled and sweaty athletic male dancers in thongs, and singers disappearing through cracked mirrors. Lots of modern dance and neutral tones, intense shadowy light and a funky soulful pop packaged by producer Michael Stipe (yes, of R.E.M. fame). The lyrics are quick-spat poetic and full of longing for love and lust.
Next up, something very different from the rest, however, more in my everyday world of sound art anomalies. Here we have a selection of recent video work from Zimoun who I have had the pleasure of working with. He uses active motors and a repetition of objects d’art to create in-situ moving sound sculptures that are fueled by drone, and anticipation. Wood, cardboard boxes, tiny rubber balls create sounds that emulate the tundra, of wind and cathedrals. I could look at this for hours, but it’s the blend of minimal visuals that are awe-inspiring.
For something a little more elusive and abstract here is Moscow-based Kate NV‘s liquid-stretched portrait дуб OAK. Directed by Sasha Kulak we confront striated lines and a single figure who appears and vanishes with digital effects. The Asian-inspired jangle is perfectly paired to the crude video dance of lines and watery shapes and formlessness.
And lastly, but by no means leastly. For those of you who may not know of composer, singer/voice artist, dancer, living legend that is NY’r Meredith Monk, I highly recommend his video short done by the Tate Museum called I Believe in the Healing Power of Art. It covers her oeuvre from the mid 60’s to the present in less than seven minutes. If you are unaware of her work, please have a look, it’s an endearing quick overview that will get you looking up her vast catalogue. She came up around the same time as Laurie Anderson and Philip Glass, but always has kept true to her interdisciplinary roots – Her work continues to be a great inspiration: