Ava Mendoza, “Shapeshifters”

JP Basileo

The new video for Ava Mendoza’s “Shapeshifters,” off her album Unnatural Ways, is the kind you don’t want to watch in the dark, but you kind of have to watch it in the dark, as the camera is so dismally lit that even the simplest amount of light would cause too great of a glare. The lighting is as flickered and chaotic as the construction of old-style film reels, coincidentally enough opening with a decrepit looking film clapper, and playing out like an old Ed Wood monster movie. Grotesque masks and UFOs made out of take-out tins flutter in between horrific images of suffering; toes curling and eyes and fists clenching shut, while the camera strobes all over the bleak scenery in rusty hysterics. The images hop in veins similar to the music, the pace starting slow and heavy, brutalized by Mendoza’s static wailing on guitar, and suddenly breaking into the track’s main theme. Notes come in twos, bopping along in demented succession and the bass keys overtaking the new melodic weirdness enable her to navigate the guitar neck in fervent soloing style that lasts for nearly the entirety of the remaining six minutes. More disturbing images take the screen—knives stab, guns shoot, a figure basked in shadow licks the insides of the tins (and then takes a baseball bat to his own creations), and bloody flesh is freshly plucked and cooked and eaten. All of this while another man sits and edits footage on an ungodly Final Cut computer program. It’s like a snuff film for the ugliest of puppets.

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Unnatural Ways is out now on New Atlantis Records.

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