I'm always taken aback when I see round-ups of recent music videos on the 'big sites.' I genuinely don't feel like I've seen a video that says something, anything, with inquisitive and fluid conviction in years. At the same time, I have to assume that just like the contemporary music that videos serve as a visual manifestation of, there are some diamonds lurking amongst all the bullshit. And then I discovered the rising artist Debit through my writer buddy Martyn Pepperell, one of the few writers/peers out there working in music I genuinely respect, who posted the vid on his Twitter (and it seems like he wrote this Dummy piece as it actually contains thoughtful insight. Wild, I know!)
But yeah, I saw Debit's music video for standout Animus track "Remain" the night I got back to Ohio after 10 years and it FUCKED ME UP. In more ways than I can explain here.
When I was eleven, I discovered my aesthetic, or at least a crucial artistic ley line that has held strong in the intervening thirty-three years. I realized that, before even experiencing my teen years, I would always be drawn to the intensities of teenagers, those often unknown enactors of social norms who are also able to subvert them in the most ingenious and creative of ways. It was the summer that Larry Clark's Kids came out. I was instantly obsessed with the very idea of the film's existence and later by Clark's and writer Harmony Korine's cultural anthropology that smacked of lived sincerity generated by its iconic cast. What was a feeling grew into something more conceptual as I reached the other side of adolescence when watching, over and over again, Clark's 2001 film Bully. An upsetting and dilated multiple automobile pile-up of a movie, Clark used a real-life murder of a late-teens boy by his friends as a fertile thematic site, exploring the ways in which we forego personal agency to realize parallel desires.
Viewing the below video, it just hit me in a way that I'm honestly still processing a week later. Namely, how my own feminist upbringing and deep-seated issues with sex and power intersect with the video's archival footage insights into the weird and wild world of teen girl sexuality (there's got to a better term for that...or maybe not? Teen sexuality is nothing if not bold, brash and potent). Then again, at what point do home videos--ones showing the gallant sexualized insanity that one finds far more feasible when enacted amongst their friends--become archival? Based on the footage's timestamps, Debit's creator seems to have gone through the high school years around the same time as myself, albeit in the very suburban Laredo, Texas, seemingly a far cry from my crude, exurban adolescent experiences. And yet, so similar. The way my brain timetravels to forgotten exploits every time I watch the video is genuinely haunting. Or perhaps it's best just to let Debit explain it as homegirl clearly is a philosophy nerd; she's an astute observer of social coding and how (feminine) sexuality can serve as its most potent vessel that can reify conventions or dismantle them entirely.
When we were making the video, we were exploring how we’d explored our sexuality, social dynamics, and the raw energy and fun summer times that came with that. It was amazing how [director] Tatiana Del Fuego captured this very essential part of my persona which is what lingers and remains from my past selves.
And if this makes you cry and cry like it did me, then I can confidently suggest the artist's dread-ridden and darkly uplifting album, posted up top.
OK, sorry, this was meant to be a quick dip-of-the-toes back in the shallow lake water, but hey, it's seems to be zero or two hundred for this dude.
Motohiko Hamase - "雨の鳥"
This week began through starting myself in the deep end, from which I emerged in part today. And the music certain homies have passed my week has been a true panacea. Motohiko Hamase seems to be the type of synth-loving jazz artist 'record' 'collectors' would be all over today. And sho nuff, Japan's longstanding Mule Musiq sublabel Studio Mule Japan just pulled that almost irritating of reissue moves in releasing a 're-recording' of the musican's debut album Intaglio, which first appeared in 1986 on baller cheeseball-ambient jazz label Shi Zen. But when AN original copy is going for $499 on Discogs, well, they call it the music industry for a reason, right? Couldn't find a YT video of stand-out track "雨の鳥" but just fast forward to 25:17 in the below album vid and we'll all be just groovy. It's a jazz odyssey, folks:)
Tommy Wright III & Princess Loko - "Street Shit" (1998)
I rewatched The Boys From Brazil for the first time in over a decade this week. The aspect of that movie I keep coming back to is not Joseph Mengele (Gregory Peck kills it!) or the scary-ass 14-year-old Hitler clones. No, it's that Nazi hunter Laurence Olivier's main ally in life is his sister. Shit was sweet af and reminded me of how much I admire and respect my own sister (surely not the intended takeaway but whatevs). That's how I feel about this sugarkiss of a jam off of Tommy Wright III's 1998 album Feel Me Before They Kill Me. Featuring his partner in grime and underknown legend Princess Loko, it's that kinda nonthreatening yet super threatening jam with which they bore a hole into my dome for eternity.
Doctor Pablo & The Dub Syndicate - "Pressurized" (On-U Sound 1984)
OK, so having been sent this record the other day, I thought I knew the score. Clearly this is some weird August Pablo cash-in that could have only happened in the we-only-know-excess mid-80s. I mean, there's a goddamn cover of the Doctor Who theme song on the album, North Of The River Thames. And I assumed "Pressurized" was a Clash song I probably knew. Well, turns out Doctor Pablo was a white dude who, while also playing Pablo's trademark melodica (shout-out Brenda Ray as well). And I have no idea who wrote "Pressurized," but it's still one poptastic slice of corny, dubbed-out joy.