The London Music Blog Vid of the Week is: Joakim - In the Cave.
Joakim Bouaziz is a French electronic musician who has recently released his fifth album entitled Nothing Gold. Bouaziz has noted his own spontaneity of creation “I jump from one idea to the next. I simply have to try everything and see where it leads.” This is evident not only in his musical progression but also in isolated songs. Joakim introduces far more original material into his songs than most. While the norm is to reuse certain patterns and maybe develop them slightly, harmonise them etc, Joakim introduces unrelated and often clashing sounds in his song In the Cave. The result is something of a hybrid between electro pop and experimentalism. This is not always an ear-friendly
approach but it is inventive and uncompromising.
The video for In the Cave seems a condensed, crossbreed of 2001: A Space Odyssey and The Lord of the Rings. The underlying theme is one of discovery and betrayal. The song opens with a pedal note that is joined by an oriental sounding three note sequence. At the entry of this theme the video lights three cave dwellers gathered around some sort of a hovering prism. The cuts get quicker with the entry of the cow-bell and drum beat and then bass.
It’s all a bit creepy really, something which the lighting has a good part to play in, that and the “Orc” like cave dwellers. The three note sequence dictates a few cuts before the shot turns from black to total white light, revealing a crack in the cave. The illuminated dwellers are blinded as the low, monotone, vocal begins; “hope is gone.”
One brave dweller however wanders into the photo-negative, new-world inquisitively. This part is one which seems to pay homage to the black monolith of Space Odyssey as well as the apes that discovered it, leading them to discover violence, something mirrored in Joakim’s video. Upon the discovery of a substantially prettier prism, an independent, frequently clashing piano riff enters the already dense mix of looping musical material.
As he returns to his two friends with this new prism the music grows more agitated and harsh before launching into a huge synthesized blast (a sound reminiscent of connecting to the internet in the good old days) as one cave dweller overcome by some possession, strangles the one who discovered it. There are some uncomfortable close-up shots that work well. The camera shifts from the victims face to the perpetrators face, the throat being strangled and the other man who seems disturbingly enraptured by the whole thing.
The synth blast dies out entirely after the violent act ceases and the music strips down to the bass before being built up again with some unnerving piano clusters and the re-entering rhythm section. The discoverer has not died and makes a final crawl towards the light in which a flash of synth coincides with the temporary manipulation of film into a negative style, ending as his hand outstretches for the light.
It is an odd video but one that has an interesting narrative in it that could be interpreted in many ways. It also appears that Joakim is as keen to experiment with film as he is with music. There is a wide range of musical material in his work but also of texture. Each musical idea introduced has its own distinct, almost heightened texture. This corresponds to the different textures of film that feature in the video. The overall audio-visual relationship is an artificial, ominous yet intriguing one.