"I was having a rough day in June when I grabbed my camera and started making this little video," writes the singer Valery Gore about the music video she made for her song "S.O." The spareness of the song, the focus on the words and the colors of the video, those orange and greens sucked me in. There was also something familiar about the patterns running through the video — I'd seen them before, but couldn't place where.
"I shot a bunch of takes and futzed with the colours and shots in Premiere," Gore writes. "Wasn't too sure what I was going for but I wanted to be honest and candid. I had Hans Richter's 'Rhythmus 21' on hand and wanted to use it at some point, and it made for colourful shifting shapes." It was that Hans Richter film, an abstract short film he made in 1921, that was familiar to me from long ago.
On the song, Valery Gore reminds me a bit of performance artist and musician Laurie Anderson — there's a sparseness there and also the personal narrative. "I wanted to fight the helpless feeling I was having, and figured if I felt 'stuck,' I may as well try to be productive with that underlying emotion," she says. "Like most self portraits I take, I focus the camera on a pillow or a broom stick and then jump into frame. I had to record a couple takes before the tears subsided, which seemed fitting because 'S.O.' is probably the most emotional song for me that I've written. It's about someone you love so much vanishing from your life, and struggling with understanding why. Thinking about them every year on their birthday. Wondering if you'll run into them on the street. What pictures they hang on their walls. What they're listening to right now."
Here are some of the lyrics from "S.O.":
When I was young, I thought fate hung so carefully in the balance
Throwing trash into a can with major reservations for good aim and consequences for missing
Well, regardless, I'm forced to stay the same to you, dissolved
Salt in the tears
You had the most amazing penmanship
The song S.O. comes from her recently released second album, Idols In The Dark Heart.