“I had no feeling, I had no past, I was the arctic, I was the vast, Spaces without reprieve”.
It’s clear in the thematic approach he has taken on his new album ken that Dan Bejar is not fucking around when choosing his metaphors to describe the diabolical state of the world after 30 years of reductive right wing led neoliberal nastiness. After rounding on the greed is good and to be selfish is not only ok its natural ideology that has produced massive and growing inequality on first single, ‘Sky’s Grey’, he enlisted KC (Karen Zolo) to direct the video for the gently propulsive ‘the elite party while the world burns’ follow up, ‘Tinseltown Swimming In Blood’. She immediately set about recreating La Jetée, the classic 1962 short film shot almost entirely in still images by secretive French director Chris Marker.
It sees Bejar take on the role of dystopian protagonist who, imprisoned by a repressive regime in post-apocalyptic Paris and obsessed by simultaneous childhood visions of a young woman and a man’s death is chosen as a time travelling test subject to ultimately enlist past and future to rescue the present. Trapped between the choice of the love he finds with the woman in the past and the ultimate safety he found in the future, he eventually elects for love and returns to the past only to discover the death he witnessed was his own and that the whole exercise was his planned execution. And with that death comes his ultimate freedom.
On so many levels, the plot, symbolism and images are allegory for the illusion human beings have that they are in control of the natural world and are free to take from it at will. At the same time it can be seen as representative of the real lack of ultimate freedom and choice we have under a monolithic corporatist system and the omnipresent sense of helplessness that abounds to be able to effect its overthrow. Whichever it is, death on a both a micro and macro level is inevitable and seems to be the only way to achieve that freedom from an unforgiving, unkind world. Listen to ‘Tinseltown Swimming In Blood’ below and pre-order ken here.
Tinseltown Swimming In Blood
From the forthcoming album, ‘ken’, Merge/Dead Oceans. Out Oct 20.