Video Premiere: Oiseaux-Tempête – ‘Black elephant’, cinematic Sci-Fi psychogeographies
Oiseaux-Tempête, a French experimental group who have been consistently pushing the boundaries of contemporary music for over a decade, are presenting the video for the track Black Elephant from their latest album, What on earth (Que Diable), published last November on Sub Rosa.
Previewed at the 2023 Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival, Black Elephant is the continuation of an artistic collaboration between Ala Eddine Slim and the post-everything collective. The band tell us they shared the track Black Elephant with Ala Eddine Slim a few months before the release of WHAT ON EARTH (Que Diable). As the collaboration they built with the acclaimed Tunisian director in 2019, soundtracking his last full-length movie TLAMESS (Sortilège), was a total bliss – in their own words- they had a strong feeling he would be the perfect director to imagine some small sci-fi film for the opening track, which is also their first collaboration with Ben Shemie from SUUNS as a singer.
The video evokes a perpetual alarm that keeps warning of near danger. A strange female figure, guided by a psychopomp dog, travels through different geographical and mental territories at night. An ignored/forgotten prophet, she symbolises the first/last survivor of a disappearing/appearing world. The music is pulsating, disconcerting, and fierce at the same time. The melancholic abstractions and haunting reverberating voices give way to sinister synth lines that drive the cinematic narrative.
They first discussed with Ala Eddine the vibes included in the album, from collapsing future perspectives (ecological, political, social, economical…) to post-whatever mood and intimate or collective struggles in a not-so-far now. The «Black Elephant» theory, they continue, is a cross between a black swan — an unexpected event with enormous ramifications and perspectives— and the elephant in the room — a looming disaster that is visible to everyone, yet no one wants to address. And then Ala Eddine found his own and so specific way to bring life to his perspective; the characters and spaces in the film appear very much as symbols, almost mythological ones.
A few months after the release of the album now, Ala Eddine’s film, they think, will bring some new eyes and quite an unexpected technicolour sci-fi vision to this track. The shooting was quite intense and fun; Yeri, the actress, was fantastic as Hazem, the director of photography, and there were, of course, loads of challenges in the making. Hope people will enjoy it and dive further into Ala Eddine Slim’s cinema, they conclude.
Oiseaux-Tempête are currently touring; check the dates here.