Some things just drop out of nowhere into our purview – the hope is that a majority of these things are a net positive to our lives, but the fact of the matter is they aren’t always. Life’s full of surprises, and that’s what makes music so fun because with new artists, you never know what you’re gonna get. Even if you noticed a band has members from other work you’re familiar with, it can still throw you for a loop. This is precisely what happened to me when I heard of Venera this week.
Venera are a dark electronic duo consisting of James ‘Munky’ Shaffer (yes, from Korn) and Chris Hunt. Together, they produce some moody, smoky, atmospheric soundscapes that, with the help of some friends, channel a sort of urban decay the likes of which are ripe for dystopian storytelling – a favorite of mine. Here today, we’re very happy to premiere the project’s latest video for a track from their recently released self-titled debut album which has been out since October 13 via the great Ipecac Recordings. Take a look and listen to “Triangle” featuring Alain Johannes!
Immediately, there’s a familiarity with “Triangle”, a somber, desolate tone. Even as it climbs from open-air acoustics with minimal instrumentation and a throbbing bassline to a reverberant, cinematic crescendo at the end, it always carries a forlorn mood. This is bolstered by Johannes’ dreary vocals that really lean into the emotionality of the track. The lyrics are cyclical, like an ouroboros devouring itself – ‘Into the circle triangling, all we have been is now divided/Into triangle circling, all we can lose is now decided‘. Johannes himself found great pleasure in this collab, saying, ‘Singing on “Triangle” with Venera was a real treat. The atmosphere immediately inspired and guided the melody and mood and I loved exploring to find a resonant vocal quality and imagery. One of my favorite collaborations.‘
The video feels like the intro that plays during a cyberpunk TV show as the opening credits roll. It’s a surrealist sort of technohell showing contorted and altered humanoid forms, shifting and uneven machinery, and tendrils that could either be biological or synthetic wriggling ominously. Shots of heads and faces with glowing red eyes perhaps shows someone – or something – with all humanity lost, enraptured in their new existence where it’s anyone’s guess as to what ultimately controls them. Man or machine? I guess it’s up to interpretation, but I get the sense the answer – if there is one – isn’t as hopeful as we’d want. Video director Samanta García had the following to offer on the production of the video: ‘In the “Triangle” video you are under a spell, being devoured, stripped down, inevitably modified by strange technology.‘
James Shaffer also added:
‘We were so excited to hear that Alain was going to be contributing to our album. His sense of melody is so unique – it felt perfect for this, and I’ve been a fan of his for years. When we heard what he had done over the track, we were so impressed with his performance. We knew he had captured this moment, and this legend!’
The entirety of Venera is claustrophobic, tense, and synaptic, teeming with synths, spacious drums, and more. It also features VOWWS, HEALTH, and Deantoni Parks in case you needed even more selling points. You can check the album out now on any streaming platform you like, but we of course always suggest throwing bands a purchase on Bandcamp while it’s still a viable platform. You can also follow them on the usuals; Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.