Usually, I post songs or info on artists I’ve known for a while. Today, I present Ioanna Gika, who I really don’t know. I first saw her on an episode of Stumptown and then recognized her on the web page of the label of another band I like (Helms Alee). I’ll be looking into the full Sargent House catalog in the future, for sure.

Anyhow, I don’t know her body of work, but I do know she’s an okay actress (not much of a stretch for a musician to play a musician, but the role required some range). The video on her Sargent House artist page is what really caught me:

The song is already interesting, with a chord progression I don’t recall hearing in the past, plus ethereal vocals and atmospheric harmonies. The imagery in the video amplifies the feel of the song exponentially. It’s almost silly, two grown people sloshing around at a waterpark in goth gear, but there’s more to it.

The framing of the shots uses the huge, boxy architecture to create an interesting balance. The dreamy, surreal sounds and Ioanna’s expressions influence the scenes, making it not evil, but definitely darker than a water park in feel. This is an interesting juxtaposition, because so much natural light is incorporated in a structure where the roof is all glass.

The surfing demon wearing black and a mask is a perfect foil to Ioanna cloaked in a white gown, standing in the dry foreground. There’s one scene where their arm movements are in sync, and it’s really impressively done, considering that one of them is standing perfectly still on a torrent of rushing water. There’s probably an allegorical connection between the demon flawlessly navigating the waves and the artist’s travails.

Nearly the entire video is shot to look like it’s in slow motion, even though the song (and Ioanna’s lipsync) is playing at regular speed. This adds another layer of unreal. So, add the camera tricks, shot framing, slow motion effect, and surreal sounds, and you have a captivating bit of film.

Maybe the most impressive thing is that Ioanna is the director. Obviously, I’m impressed by her ability to write interesting music, and also her apparent understanding of visual media, but mostly, it’s impressive to see someone put it all together. The imagery enhances the music and vice versa, and the effects are subtly unnerving, not overdone or overused.

I’ve watched it a bunch.