‘Among a sea of purple, we get a poignant reminder of our impact on the world.’
Music Video Feature
Increasingly, music releases are being used as a way of highlighting important points that affect many people. And sometimes within them, there is an angle on altering the views people have. This though, isn’t in a brainwash tinted way that can so often occur underneath complex and conflicting topics as they make their way across social media, but instead in something that actually offers much more: a sense of artistry that serves a greater purpose. And at four releases in, the affect both the audio and visual elements of MALMØ’s prediction centred series ‘The Inevitable End’ have on listeners and viewers is being ever-enhanced.
This, of course, isn’t the first time we’ve featured Listen to Discover mainstay MALMØ. Nor, with us introducing you to the series way back in 2019 with Frostbite, is this the first entry for this series. However, with us finding a particular, if unexplainable connection with the purple drenched visuals for release ‘No Words’, it was high time to delve even deeper into the project.
“I had an image of a synthetic purple haze of plastic in my mind” says Maria, “A prediction of synthetic plastic that could come true – after plastic has swallowed the world and we live in an artificial version. Purple has that vibe to it as it rarely occurs naturally in nature, yet at the same time it’s a sacred colour that helps to restore imbalance – a silent prayer for the world to restore its balance. I wanted to portray disconnection and our disconnected approach to nature, the ugliest side of plastic, but in an aesthetically appealing way.”
Perhaps in that very approach to the visuals lies the answer to why there really is such an appealing side to them. A greater meaning than is first observed. An extra richness that enhances the artificial while grounding us and making us realise what is happening. However, it isn’t just the tone palette and the treatment of the underlying content that generates this sensation but the content itself too.
‘A tremendous beauty lies in decay.’
Unlike the other videos within the series – such as Part II: Bleed Me Dry with its sandy, desert infused imagery, and Part III: Farewell Roaring Ocean with its blend of crashing waves and sealife – here the messaging is more subtle. An approach of showing the impact plastic has on our lives and the world would be too literal, off-putting, distracting even. Yet, below the purple tinted spectacles, the combination of cityscapes and accelerating traffic makes us think about how prevalent plastic is in our lives: It’s everywhere.
Achieved to an equally effective level, in contrasting these pacy clips with slowly transitioning underwater-style shots, we are subliminally drawn to where most of it ends up. As I said, it’s subtle, but like the micro-plastics in the sea, it’s most definitely there. Look a little deeper still, and you’ll find yourself wondering if the mirrored processing is a visual metaphor of the vicious cycle the world is stuck in. The rewound footage a reminder that we may, possibly, hopefully, be able to reverse things before it ultimately gets far too late.
Among the aforementioned inference-filled footage though, there are also moments where things are much more blatant. Around the midpoint a drone shot of waste heaps highlight their blight on the landscape. Likewise, early silhouettes formed below plastic sheeting transform to reveal Maria fighting with them in a way that beautifully links to the concept, while utilising her inimitable stage presence to truly enhance the storytelling. As you would expect, like every other part of not just this release but the whole series, these always retain the level of artistry only MALMØ can deliver. Of course, as you would also expect, there are very good reasons for this being the case.
“The atmosphere and the track itself work hand in hand, inspiring each other throughout the process.” says Maria, “Being very much a holistic person, I love to keep things simple and coming from the same place. Through the process of creating a song I already have a visual image of what the song would “look like” in living pictures and colours, and the atmosphere and the story of the track are in a way the visual statement for me in the predictions.”
Continuing on, Maria explains just why the inclusion of physical performance elements is so important. “I love that you think movement is a great part of my live performance – thank you! I wanted to be able to make the predictions not only audible but also visual. To let people into my aesthetic world through these predictions, one by one, and thereby hopefully move something within them: Change, hope, anger, aggravation. Any emotion and reaction that would eventually lead to a change of behaviour.” It’s certainly fair to say that you do feel compelled to change things after watching not just this visual, listening to not just this track, but experiencing those that have come before too.
“I’ve loved working with a visual concept and an overall frame.”
With this being the penultimate release of the series, it’s little surprise that there is this level of impact on us as viewers and listeners. To be fair, right from Pt. 1: Frostbite – which Maria describes as her favourite visual due to loving “the turquoise colours, the sharp edges of ice, and the sculptural ice landscape of the arctic from a drone view” – is as strong a starting point as you could wish for. What is perhaps surprising though, especially when you experience ‘The Inevitable End’ as a sequence is the sheer level of diversity showcased in both the visual content and the musicality. But then that comes down to working with the right team for the project.
“For the whole project I’ve worked closely with Video Artist Noemi Müller who edited the art videos. We had a lot of long skypes and calls before we landed the ‘No Words’ prediction. We also worked with graphic designer Kasper Vindeløv on the artwork. Unfortunately, there were some music centred delays to some of the releases due to Coronavirus – we had to fly in our main producer Christian in from Germany and at some point that just wasn’t an option.”
So, while what is sure to be a very special final instalment of ‘The Inevitable End’ is in the works, and no pressure, but it has a lot to live up to, can we expect this combined approach to go beyond this five-part release? “I don’t know the impact on future releases yet, and that’s the beauty of it. That’s what makes me do what I do – the unknown and learning from it. I don’t know before we venture off into the next voyage, but as a very visual person, it was a great joy to combine my love for both music and visual art.”
Thanks Maria for chatting with Listen to Discover