Video Premiere: SYD KEMP – “The Horror” & “Marble”

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London’s frisky art-rock foursome SYD KEMP, the brainchild of a singer-songwriter and musician also named Syd Kemp, make mesmerizing, deceptively straightforward music. They’ve mustered up some definite intrigue around 2014’s magical and multifarious The Horror EP, a four-track release that explores a curious middle ground between ambient shoegaze and swirling, solipsistic psychedelia. We’re incredibly honored to premiere this twelve-minute, super-cut visual for “The Horror” and “Marble,” the second and fourth track, respectively, featured on SYD KEMP’s The Horror. The EP was initially self-released last year for Cassette Store Day; the band is now signed to imprints Structurally Sound and Little League Records. 

Directed by Pierre Bouvier Patrondutifully assisted by Blanca Regina, this twelve-minute music video marries the juxtaposed forces of “The Horror” and “Marble” with grace and restraint, an artful subtlety that never indulges itself in the notion of excess. The absence of light, a recurring theme throughout, serves as a kind of blank canvas for the brief, sometimes brilliant, brushstrokes of motion and color. The most glaring, and patently meta, moments take place in the video’s first half, during “The Horror,” as projected footage beams upon the band, uncannily similar to scene unfolding in real time. The effect is strange, displacing and satisfyingly understated (see 1:45 as a couple dance in their underwear, while the same couple is projected onto their bodies, dancing fully clothed).

The tempo is severely reduced on the video’s second half, “Marble”; palettes change from dynamic technicolor to a tinny monochrome. The syrupy ebb and flow exchanged between the scampering guitar lead and that lethargic bassline is steady and methodical, reeling, roiling and mirroring shots of the video’s subject (played by Saskia Amelia), who alternately enters and exits the frame in an endless string prodding pirouettes. This closing track abandons the listless groove of the preceding one, unconcerned with structure or strictly defined substance. The most stark musical movements occur when William Cunningham’s squelching saxophone is queued into the mix, glossing this sensual mood music in radiant swoops and swells. The visual imagery departs just as it was introduced: a tight close-up revealing one mascaraed eyeball, a shade of aqueous azure. Stream The Horror EP in full below (download for free here).

Angel E. Fraden

Head Editor | Photographer | View all post →