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WATCH: Elisabeth Elektra 'Obsidian' Video
The Quietus , September 5th, 2019 16:21

New single explores grief and volcanic glass in towering pop

Ah this is what we like - music dedicated to arcane substances with esoteric connotations, reference to John Dee and broken hearts. Scottish electronic artist and singer Elisabeth Elektra has an excellent new dramatic pop song out now, and you can watch the continent-spanning video shot in a storm of "creative meteorological magick" as a collaboration with artist Marina Fini above. You can find 'Obsidian' on iTunes here, Elisabeth Elektra plays a gig for Zebulon in LA tomorrow, Friday 6th September with White Magic and Diva & The Pearly Gates. We dropped Elisabeth a line to find out more.

What does the matter 'Obsidian' mean to you/what significance did it hold that made it into a song?

Elisabeth Elektra: Obsidian is volcanic glass that’s formed when lava cools very quickly after an eruption. It’s historically been used by occultists to form scrying mirrors for divination, some believe these mirrors create portals that allow spirits and entities to travel to and from other dimensions. You can see Dr Dee’s Magical Speculum in the British Museum, I highly recommend it as one of the artefacts there that wasn’t stolen from other countries.

To me, the matter obsidian represents what can emerge after something earth-shattering has happened in our lives. The song is definitely a song about death, it’s about what’s left after a person isn’t here physically anymore. Obsidian is such a beautiful material, and it only forms from a volcanic eruption. Love transcends death and that’s the beauty we are left with when someone dies. Beautiful things can emerge from grief.

What was it about Marina Fini's work that made you want to work with her? What do you think your work has in common?

EE: Marina and I are both in the business of creating worlds, and I think that could be why we resonate with each other’s work. Marina is a real visionary. I found her page on Instagram and I felt a spiritual resonance with her work so i got in touch with her to see if she would be up for working with me on some of the visuals for this record. She got back to me right away and we have been friends ever since. I feel privileged because I know Marina is selective about who she works with. She’s a great artist and a great friend and I’m so excited about the aesthetic world we created together for the video for 'Obsidian' and for the album overall.

Tell us about making the video, the geographical journey, why you chose the locations?

EE: Marina was coming to Paris Fashion Week in March 2017 to collaborate on an installation ‘Minimalist Bedroom: Girls’ with the artist Sarah Weiss. She invited me over, so I flew out to Paris for the week. I performed as part of the installation which was in the bedroom of this beautiful Parisian hotel. There was such a diverse group of performers and creators and I met some really special people there who I’ve kept in touch with.

Marina shot me in the installation and we filmed the bedroom scenes in the 'Obsidian' video inside the minimalist bedroom.

We then flew to Scotland. Marina had 2 days before her flight back to California so we drove to Skye, stayed there one night and shot all the Skye locations in one day. I love Skye and it has a real faerie energy to me. It was my first time there and I think we picked the island intuitively, knowing that there were several magical locations on the island. It was March and the weather was really horrific, I’d checked and there was no rain forecast but I had forgotten to look at the wind. It turned out the wind was so bad that we couldn’t really shoot for very long at any location cause the wind chill was so extreme.

We were driving around Skye just looking for places, getting out and shooting and getting back in the car quickly to get warm. We had nothing in the way of lights so the scene in front of the castle is lit with car headlights.

The part in the video where I’m on the beach against the rolling hail clouds are my favourite shots because of the contrast of light and dark, but shooting those scenes was torture. I look like I’m really emotional in the video but actually I was just fucking freezing and crying because of the cold.

I went to Joshua Tree earlier this year and stayed with Marina in her house which she has made in to an installation. While I was there it snowed heavily, we decided to shoot more images and a video for another single from the album in the crazy desert snow. It’s always extreme weather when Marina and I work on stuff, I think we have some creative meteorological magick.