Iamamiwhoami seem to be on a roll with the promotional campaign surrounding their debut album Kin (slated for a June 2012 release via Cooperative Records). It’s almost as if they’ve planned something little to happen just before the release of a new song and this time it’s the announcement of their spot at the 2012 Stockholm Music & Arts Festival, held in Sweden from August 3rd-5th. The band’ll be performing a set on the last day and have been put on a bill with Buffy Sante-Marie and legendary Icelandic artist Bjork. Not a bad gang of artists to be affiliated with, Huh?
Best of luck to the band and we hope they knock it out of the park just as they did during their live debut at Sweden’s 2011 Way Out West festival. (Click here to watch the entire 45 minute show via YouTube..It’s amature camera work, so it’s even filled with some great “Oh my God! Oh my God! JONNA!!” moments).
While we’re all anticipating Iamamiwhoami to play their second official show, we’re also busy chilling out to their highly infectious, March 28th 2012 released single “Play”. Move over Toro y Moi, shut up Neon Indian, and step aside Alternative Hip-Hop producers because “Play” has continued their approach to coming completely out of left field. The song is debatably their most pop influenced track to date, complete with urban, ethereal, and glorious Chillwave influences.
The first thirty five seconds of the track contain an eerie, ambient beginning that flourishes into a noisy, industrial build up. It’s full of panned beeps, effects, and heavily equalized effects to distinguish low-end sounds from high synth-rhythms that setup a start that sounds like it may clear into another densely layered epic like “; John” or the dark Electro territory covered by “T”. But, instead “Play” completely drops off it’s appendage.
After the introduction, the sonic landscape is left with not one instrument from the first segment of the track, but a completely new set of them and luscious step into the world of chillwave! The band has been experimenting with more of a trance/electro sound recently, so it becomes another breath of fresh air that this new magnificent direction has been thrusted full forced upon us like those amazing pelvic movements and booty shaking featured in the unforgettable “; John” video.
One main melodic synthesizer repeats it’s phrase through the first verse while a trickling drop-synth that pans occasionally left and right and record crackling quietly creates a life-like vibe in the background. A minimal Hop-Hop percussion track accompanies the relaxing production and succeeds in creating a lazy rhythm that compliments the tripped out vibe chillwave and Alternative EDM strive for. It starts sparse, builds into a euphoric world, and flips back and forth between them for the song’s 5+ minute duration.
Lyrical content is simplified glory and hits the aurally emotional spot just right. “Take off your hat and pull a rabbit out for me” Jonna sings through thick reverberation implying that though someone or something has grabbed ahold of her, she still expects a lot more from it if it wants to completely win her over her mind, body, and spirit. It’s one of the only inklings of confidence because though the track is strangely optimistic sounding, the track itself puts together a folklore and mass conglomeration of emotions. “I’m like a lion now, I play on my back and on my knees” is the follow up line that elegantly implies vulnerability, strength, and weakness all in one bold statement.
“But I can dance tonight and make up songs for us to sing/You hold my heart because it’s cheap and to your rhythm I will shout “my love for play!”
The oppression and fight to break free from it is becoming overwhelmingly crucial to the Iamamiwhoami concept and is a heartbreaking subject that’s being vastly and accurately explored visually, aurally, figuratively, and literally.
The true meanings of the lyrics and themes are still extremely clouded in wonderment, but though all of these Iamamiwhoami video theories continue to thrive throughout the comments section of their YouTube videos, Iambountyfan’s discussion chat room (pictures in this piece are credited to them), and other various outlets – oppression seems to directly, or indirectly relate to the majority of the inquiries fans and critics seem to be fighting to find answers to.
Play’s video is obviously a continuation of all of the short films we’ve seen from Kin so far, but seems to be one of the most boggling videos of all. Loads of theories surround it, and of course everything ForsakenOrder types up makes for a fascinating read (a tip of the fedora for his David Lynch quote). It’s the overall feel direction of it that makes this music video one of the more captivating watches from the band yet! Jonna Lee’s facial expressions continue to send us into fits of giggles (this time, at 0:59-1:03 where she gives a cheekily cocky expression before getting struck by lightening), the bird’s nest of a hairstyle quirkily works, expressive dances with oversized mop looking clumps wind up cinematic charm, and the warm colors are faded throughout the video to seem cold which lends emotional depth in regard to the entirety of the shockingly catchy visual experience.
The most shocking aspect of all is how pop sounding the song actually is. In fact, the “Play” structure seems to be the band’s most straight forward, simplified production to date. If the experimental vocal production wasn’t present, you could hand this to nearly any Electronic or daring Dream Pop artist, ask them to sing it, and it would come out just as lovely as the version our ears are currently listening to.
But, this is not an M83 Dream Pop production and as much as Jonna reminds us of something Alison Goldfrapp would visually put together and melodically cook up, it’s not her either. “Play” is pure Iamamiwhoami. The experiments are there, they’re present, and they truly make the track one of a kind amongst the critically branded Hipster genre of chillwave. This creative twist in “Play” most certainly proves that this project is not shy about broadening a horizon of any aspect involving their motives, which makes them all the more nobel and more inspiring than any of us could have ever imagined they would become.
Track Rating: 5/5