FILM CLIP OF THE WEEK: “PDFC” by post-dusk

 

post-dusk is Ruby Smith, Brisbane producer and multi-instrumentalist who earlier this year shared debut single ‘PDFC’ which enjoyed attention across national and community radio, local and international publications alike.

Smith now shares a video for the hazy, dreamy track which she wrote, performed, produced and mixed herself while halfway through an honours thesis in psychology.

Created in tandem with director Pernell Marsden and director of photography Samudranil Chatterjee, post-dusk has created a mysterious, awe-inspiring realm bathed in gold glitter and candle light.

‘PDFC’ is just the first taste of post-dusk’s debut EP which we will see released before the year is out.

I reviewed ‘PDFC’ earlier this year and this is what I had to say:

“The moment the chords open up on post-dusk’s new single “PDFC” you relax into the groove of this amazing little heartbreaker. It swoons and aches like a late afternoon connecting directly to that part of your eternal sigh for a better place. This song is pure perfection and beautifully ethereal, I just fall deep inside of it every time I hear it and it becomes a glorious explosion of escapism that is heightened ever so magically when the vocal melodies weave in and out like a cool breeze. It’s like being caught in a divine shiver and it just takes over your body and you get fucking elevated to some truly righteous places.

I love when pop music is moody and atmospheric as opposed to being sticky and obvious. That’s exactly what “PDFC” is, a moody masterpiece that connects due to its darkness as opposed to its sunshine. It takes an artist to be able to be this direct and deep. What “PDFC” illustrates is the importance of a solid and consistent groove in order to build the atmosphere and mood of a song. The simple drone gives “PDFC” the direction it needs to unfold with the array of keys and synths flowing over this track with a Twin Peaks spookiness allowing for the guitar lines to erupt enough Cocteau Twins via Sonic Youth orchestral tone to provide the ethereal frame. This is a pure dream pop masterpiece and the kind of song that belongs on a mixtape for someone you are secretly crushing on.

The vocal performance and lyrical direction of “PDFC” is a simple ode to the desperate pulse of loss and I know it’s a typical thing for me to search for in most music but I think it is a musing on the power and turmoil of death. It may be masked inside the rhythm of a break-up song but I think at the core of the song lyrically is an ode to the angst of loss and the claustrophobic fear of aging in a world that prefers to move quickly as opposed to being a slow cheetah. Regardless of the muse it is clear that post-dusk is yearning for escape from the crippling sting of routine and for an extreme new experience to help her feel comfort and satisfaction with the moment as opposed to the dense haze of being stuck in the fear drenched cycle of feeling powerless and unable to stop the motion of time. The real joy is the way it connects and relates with your own personal experiences and provides the ultimate pain relief from your own life dilemmas.

 

 

“PDFC” is a timeless piece of art carefully crafted and communicated to ensure that all of your emotions are beautifully serenaded to a place of extreme relaxation and dislocation. This song is a personal and very warm invitation into the world that post-dusk creates for you and although the song is awash with personal and very relatable experiences it is the stylistic swoon of the dream pop genre that allows you to engage with her landscape but to also instill your own imagination and to arrive at a place of pure escapism. This movement of music is very open and as a result it provides you the ability to become tangled in your own ache stained sighs for the one you love / loved with the only logical resolve to hit repeat on your stereo in order to sail deeper into the beautifully delicate yet emotionally raw sound of post-dusk’s music.

This song will not just become the most trusted pain reliever but also the early morning rush of a sunrise after spending an evening of discovery in the arms of someone you hope will learn to love you back.

There is a very famous lecture that Nick Cave gave about the importance of the love song that I’d like to quote in order to conclude this review. The following quotes are important to understanding what post-dusk communicates as an artist and what makes “PDFC” so important:

“Though the love song comes in many guises – songs of exultation and praise, songs of rage and of despair, erotic songs, songs of abandonment and loss – they all address God, for it is the haunted premises of longing that the true love song inhabits. It is a howl in the void, for Love and for comfort and it lives on the lips of the child crying for his mother. It is the song of the lover in need of her loved one, the raving of the lunatic supplicant petitioning his God. It is the cry of one chained to the earth, to the ordinary and to the mundane, craving flight; a flight into inspiration and imagination and divinity. The love song is the sound of our endeavours to become God-like, to rise up and above the earthbound and the mediocre”

“We each have a need to create and sorrow is a creative act. The love song is a sad song; it is the sound of sorrow itself. We all experience within us what the Portuguese call Suadade, which translates as an inexplicable sense of longing, an unnamed and enigmatic yearning of the soul and it is this feeling that lives in the realms of imagination and inspiration and is the breeding ground for the sad song, for the Love song is the light of God, deep down, blasting through our wounds.”

“The love song must be born into the realm of the irrational, absurd, the distracted, the melancholic, the obsessive, the insane for the love song is the noise of love itself and love is, of course, a form of madness. Whether it be the love of God, or romantic, erotic love – these are manifestations of our need to be torn away from the rational, to take leave of our senses, so to speak. Love songs come in many guises and are seemingly written for many reasons – as declarations or to wound – I have written songs for all of these reasons – but ultimately the love songs exist to fill, with language, the silence between ourselves and God, to decrease the distance between the temporal and the divine.”

This accurately describes what post-dusk has done with her music and with “PDFC” she takes a deeper plunge into the abyss of her hurt shaped experiences in order to clean her wounds and create an incredibly divine movement of music. The safety of pop music is not on the agenda here and whilst this song has hooks it is the overall atmosphere of loss and despair that lets it hang inside your heart and soul. You carry this music with you and it buries itself deep inside of you long after you’ve listened to it. A song like “PDFC” will haunt you and wrap itself around you like a warm blanket. Like all great pieces of art it is not an instant or easy communication to digest but this is not music designed purely for the beat of major label consumerism. This is music created by someone who has loved and who has been damaged by the madness of it but who also uses heavy optimism to communicate just how much joy she gets from the rush of rejection and connection.

On “PDFC” post-dusk proves that depth, intensity and atmosphere are more important to the successful communication of pop music than the emptiness of one hit wonder world domination. I feel privileged to be able to review this song because it provided me with so much personal comfort and I’ve only lived with it for seven days. I look forward to what long term listening will do and how “PDFC” will soundtrack the many more adventures I plan to take into the landscape of broken hearted disco dancing and new romancing. This is a flawless song from a true artist who has successfully entered the realm of being one of the few modern contributors to the timeless dialogue of beauty, honesty and truth.”

By: Dan Newton

Useful Links:

https://www.facebook.com/postdusk | www.soundcloud.com/post-dusk
www.instagram.com/postdusk | www.triplejunearthed.com/artist/post-dusk

‘Sacrelige’ by Yeah Yeah Yeahs – A Video Review Conversation

Sacrelige (Mosquito)

Sacrelige Single Art (Mosquito)

By Ariana Pelser & Bec Wolfers

In celebration of Heavy and Weird’s ‘Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ tribute week, Ariana and Bec decided to have a joint review conversation about the video for ‘Sacrelige’ – the first single from the new YYY record, ‘Mosquito’.

WARNING: Spoilers ahead! Watch the video below.

Bec: Hello Ariana! So what did you think of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ new video for ‘Sacrelige’?

Ariana: Hi Bec. Why, thank you for asking. I have to say that I am a definite fan of the new Yeah Yeah Yeahs video for the song ‘Sacrilege’. It was a rather intense video which struck an emotional chord.

How about you?

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Bec: I’m in agreement – it was a really confronting and artistic video. Unsettling and mysterious, it left me with more questions than answers – which I often find is the mark of good art.

What did you feel were some of the themes present in the video?

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Ariana: Well, as you said above, ‘it left me with more questions than it did answers’. I had to view the video a few times in order to make sense of it all.
It touched on quite a few thematic concepts, however the most prevalent for me would have to be the religious theme (ie, the priests and the various religious symbols scattered throughout the video) along with the exploration into the dark and sinister side of human nature.

Speaking of the dark and sinister side of human nature, there seems to be some intense imagery focused around this motif. How did it affect you and what are your thoughts on the subject?

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Bec: Thanks for the interesting question, Ari. I found the imagery very expressive…yet open to interpretation. It all left me with a disturbed feeling, but I also felt satisfied with its artistry and depth – I didn’t feel the creepiness and intensity of it was gratuitous. It felt like it was making an important statement. We begin with the protagonist (model Lily Cole’s character) being burned at the stake, which is a jarring image. I find it very difficult to separate myself emotionally from things I watch (which is, I guess, why I don’t enjoy horror movies). To me, the thought of being burned to death is one of the most horrible things in the world. The look of shock and terror on Lily’s character’s face, combined with the jeers and smirks of the townspeople, is the kind of moment that leaves me with a sick feeling in my stomach.

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There is clearly a lot of blame in this scene – Lily is the scapegoat for the townspeople’s collective shame. Nothing like mass hysteria to turn a group of people into monsters. The religious imagery also brings up further meditations on shame, blame and redemption. This video asks “what is ‘sacrilege’? What are people capable of when they want to defend the concept of sanctity?”. This video shows the hypocrisy of people fighting for ‘morality’ – ironically, in persecuting a woman for sleeping around, the townspeople wind up committing murder – which is kind of a far worse crime, no? Does the bible not say “judge not, lest ye be judged”, and “let he who is without sin cast the first stone”? The townspeople are far from without sin; we see them all in sexual trysts with Lily’s character throughout the video. All in all, the video (and song) both strangely struck me as darker cousins of Madonna’s “Like A Prayer”. Something about the lyrical content, gospel harmonies and clapping (in the song), and sexual imagery and fire (in the video).

Although, after the second watching, I picked up on the fact that events were happening backwards, I find myself still in some debate and confusion over the video’s story. What were your thoughts on the plot and how events unfolded, Ari?

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Ariana: It’s certainly a very intriguing video and unfolds more like a feature film than a regular music video. I felt like I was witnessing the story of an intricately woven crime thriller set in both modern and ancient times. The narrative is initially difficult to grasp as the video plays out in a rather stunted and inconsistent way. In the opening scene we see a group of silhouetted figures in a dark and isolated field walking towards the camera while a fire rages in the background. We see a young lady sitting over a masked man in the centre of this ring of fire with tears rolling down her cheeks. Fast forward to the final scene of the video and we see a beautiful and serene looking bride adorned in a delicate white lace wedding dress walking through a set of church doors (made evident by the large cross painted on them). The plot doesn’t seem to make much sense at all until you figure out that the story actually unfolds in reverse. Once you come to this realisation all the pieces fall into place. I think it’s a highly effective film technique and in a way portrays the sordid tale of the main character’s (Lily Cole) decline from what can be considered to be ‘holy’ or ‘sacred’ into the animalistic realms of desire, lust and sexual promiscuity – displayed through the various erotic sexual encounters she has throughout the video.
Overall, what’s your star power rating out of 10 Bec Wolfers?

Bec: Ari, I felt this was a really well done video – it asks some interesting questions, it looks great cinematically, it has a unique creative slant, and it evokes an emotional reaction from the viewer. ‘Sacrelige’ gets an 8 out of 10 star power rating from me. I’m strict with my star power 🙂
What would you give it?

Ariana: You certainly don’t give away that star power easily Ms. Wolfers 🙂
Both visually gripping and emotionally chilling, I think that the team from Megaforce have done a brilliant job with this video. With this said, I give ‘Sacrilege’ a pure and wholesome 8.5 star power out of 10.

Fashion, Eggs, Intestines and Gold Lions: Reading the Aesthetic of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs

By Bec Wolfers

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs are many things: pop, punk, rock, electronic, experimental, soft, hard. But at the core of this band is one thing: art.

I can be perfectly content with a band even if all they offer is amazing music. But the Yeah Yeah Yeahs share an additional body of work with the world. This band, and especially lead singer Karen O, have never shied away from fully expressing themselves visually as well as musically.

I finally got to see the Yeah Yeah Yeahs perform this year at Big Day Out, and boy, did they not disappoint. Even from a distance, singer Karen O had a magnetic presence, brandishing her lifesaver-roll mic cord like a whip, and hamming it up onstage.

There is always a great deal of colour and interesting symbolism at play throughout the Yeah Yeah Yeahs art, whether it be: album covers, promotional photos, live performances or music videos. All of this accompanying imagery not only makes the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ works a pleasure to consume, it also adds to the richness and mythology of their band’s story.

The Album Covers

Album art has always been an exciting part of buying a record for me. You can tell so much about a musician’s personality and intention with their choice of album cover – is it humorous, playful, sarcastic, earnest, mysterious, simple, complex, homemade or refined?

The cover for ‘Fever to Tell’, the band’s first LP release, complements the music really well. A raw collage design, it’s boisterous and colourful, speaks of the urban jungle of New York City, and there are a ton of things going on – just like in the music of this body of work.

‘Show Your Bones’, and the single cover for ‘Gold Lion’, show the aesthetic being pared down to a ‘bare bones’ (see what I did there?), simpler look, but  still quite raw and organic – again, similar in feel to the album, with its heavy use of acoustic guitar.

‘It’s Blitz’ has a more stylized and stark aesthetic, and the clean white background and electric-yellow egg yolk hint at a brighter feel. The action shot of a breaking egg is a simple, yet brilliantly effective image – and fittingly, this was the first album where the Yeah Yeah Yeahs really ‘broke their own mold’. The YYY brought in heavily prominent electronic sounds for the first time on ‘It’s Blitz’.

The artwork for ‘Mosquito’ and ‘Sacrelige’ are the most synthetic and basically most computer-generated looking of all of the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s covers. This sits really well with the album’s sound; there is a lot of use of drum samples, and some of the songs are bordering on trance. But the imagery for ‘Mosquito’ is still as creative, colourful, playful and experimental as the music.

The Promo Shots

Promotional images show a lot about how a band chooses to present themselves. A photo in a magazine or on a website, for a budding fan who hasn’t seen them perform live, is often the first window into what a band may be like.

I love the fact that, even in their photoshoots, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs show a great deal of creativity and personality. From being wrapped in toilet paper, to wearing fake lips or attaching pegs to Brian’s glasses, there is never a dull promo shot for this band.

The Costumes

Karen, live and in videos, acts as the band’s shaman, channeling the music through her aesthetic and her passion-filled performance. It’s been suggested that clothes make the man, and Karen O’s fashion choices have certainly helped the band garner a lot of attention. Karen O has always dressed in a perfectly wacky balance – not ridiculous to the point of someone like Bjork, but always with a twist, always relating to the music, and never boring. At one of her first YYY gigs in New York, Karen O was reported to have worn nipple pasties onstage and doused herself with olive oil before performing. A Yeah Yeah Yeahs gig is more like performance art than a straight band show. The crazy outfits and stage props (like Karen’s signature lollipop microphone cable) help turn live Yeah Yeah Yeahs shows into real multi-sensory experiences.

Karen O’s fantastic bubble-sleeved, plastic wrapped dress in the video for ‘Heads Will Roll’ was what cemented her as a fashion icon in my mind. Karen met her longtime stylist and friend, Christian Joy, by happening into a boutique Christian worked in, in East Village, New York. Loving the deconstructed prom dresses Christian had designed, Karen asked her if she would make one for her. Their partnership grew from there. Christian is responsible for one of Karen’s most memorable onstage getups – the skeleton suit (image three, above), complete with detachable intestines that Karen could pull out during a performance.

Karen is the Lady Gaga of the alt world. Like legends such as Michael Jackson and David Bowie, Karen’s look enhances the Yeah Yeah  Yeah’s music, and has helped transformed her into a bona fide rockstar and icon.

The Videos

I’ll let the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ music videos speak for themselves. Each one of them has something special about it, whether it’s playing with the fourth wall (in ‘Maps’; acknowledging the fact that they’re making a music video), showcasing out-of-control children (Y Control), delivering delicious visual feasts (in ‘Gold Lion and ‘Heads Will Roll’), or telling a sad, unsettling story (‘Sacrelige’). The colours, outfits and locations of YYY clips always feel very symbolic and carefully chosen.

Y Control
Maps

Gold Lion

Heads Will Roll

Sacrelige

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs have created the magic of their own colourful world in their aesthetic, and it’s as multi-layered, creative, vibrant and luscious as their music. I look forward to seeing more from them in the future, and can’t wait to see the rest of the videos for this album’s single releases – I have a hunch the video for ‘Mosquito’ could be a lot of fun!