Let me begin by telling you that you’re in for a feast today – for the eyes and the ears, as you will soon discover. This premiere is an audio-visual delight, trust me. It’s all thanks to German electronic music artist Christoph Dahlberg that we’re afforded such a treat on this fine day, so let’s see what exactly this is all about.
Back in December, Dahlberg released his second full-length album Blackforms via TELESKOP. Tying together strands of ambient electronica, noise, and neoclassical music, his latest work proved to be emotive yet fiercely experimental through and through. Perhaps owing to his non-musical influences (Dahlberg cites Paul Celan and Anselm Kiefer in particular) and the subject matter discussed by those, there is an omnipresent weight to the compositions on Blackforms, an almost oppressive sense of emptiness that was sparsely illuminated by empathetic flickers of optimism.
In the present, on this very day, we are happy to be premiering the music video for the album’s title track “Blackforms”. Built from glitchy electronics and traces of industrial, the song sees cellist Tobias Unterberg, who was enlisted as a collaborator for Blackforms by Dahlberg, emoting through his instrument of choice atop these unsympathetic waves of sound. What really sells this package, though, is the music video you can find below.
Conceptualized and shot by Dahlberg himself and post-produced by Hannes Wichmann, the video is assembled from various nature shots (most of them involving water in some way), which are being presented in quite dramatic fashion. The cinematography is on point; through this meticulous sequence of (at times edited) footage, Dahlberg and Wichmann are able to project a certain atmosphere that bounces off “Blackforms” quite spectacularly. There is no action, no obvious plot to latch onto; only movement, form, and color are given the chance to dictate the cinematic potential of this music video.
My favorite moment would be the very beginning, where footage of waves has been treated in a way that makes them look unreal almost alien; a writhing unknowable mass instead of an elegantly flowing body of water. It’s unsettling in its unfamiliar familiarity, taking a view most of us have enjoyed before and turning it into an uncannily distorted déjà-vu. To be quite honest, though, these gorgeous shots all have their own undeniable merits, like the waterfall made to flow upwards or the bird’s eye views of lakes and landscapes.
Photo credit: Sven Marquardt
Together, music and visuals become an inseparable unit that evokes feelings and memories. Because both are kept purposely vague, the viewer/listener can project their own thoughts and feelings onto the content presented to them, although the song’s bleak mood will inevitably draw similar reactions from their (sub)conscious. “Blackforms” generously benefits from this music video, gaining not only a stunning accompaniment but also new layers of abstraction and interpretation.
As I mentioned earlier, Blackforms by Christoph Dahlberg was released on December 2; you can stream it on Bandcamp, where you will also be able to purchase it, either digitally or on limited vinyl. Be sure to follow Dahlberg on Instagram to stay updated on his endeavors.
Header image courtesy of Sven Marquardt