Releasing their single "Hall of Mirrors" today on digital via Amazon; VUM debuts the Joel Woodman video that takes you on a ride through the multiple dimensions of the self inside the reflecting glass. Having given us the Laura Palmer + Are You Animal? single last year, VUM brings pure Twin Peaks moods from the lodges that haunt like a carnival ride attraction that David Lynch himself would very well approve of.
Woodman's broken kaleidoscope aesthetic works to express the song's expressive exploration of the self. Working with a framework like the scattered reflectors of a broken mirror ball, Joel weaves the placement and patterns of colors and designs to illustrate the ambiance of the soul sought search for a semblance of internal understanding to match the low burning tapestries of drums and slow simmering synthesizers.
Cryptic and mystic organs sound the way as you enter the hall of lights and looking glasses. Bass notes remain subdued like the shadows cast from the variety of projected colors and mirroring effects. The thoughts on image are brought into the visual 'fun house' hyperbole, where "time is spinning slow", and semiotic readings can be somewhat deceiving and unclear. Here in this carnival cavalcade, the sullen sides from the minor key charms and Jennifer's journey into the exterior and interior alterations of the mirror hall are met with the staged borealis of blues, reds, and television static image distortions.
VUM's Jennifer Pearl discussed the single and video for "Hall of Mirrors" and explores our current obsession with image, the complicated processes of discovery, adoration, disgust and distortion reconstruction we create when confronted with our own image, and other short stories.
How do mirrors affect your own perceptions and creative reflections? What inspired 'Hall of Mirrors' for you?
“Hall of Mirrors” is a song about that last, desperate moment at the end of the night, and at the end of the show, when there is only one person left dancing in the dusty, awkward lighting of a club or venue about to close, and the DJ’s records are slowing down almost imperceptibly. It’s that moment when you think the party is still raging, and that you are the center of the party when you suddenly realize that everyone has gone home, and there is nothing left but a sense of dread for tomorrow. As a musician, I see a lot of this as we often have to stick around until the venue closes. As a human being, I have been there too. I think that the storyline here goes hand in hand with the Century of the Self style culture we have developed, and the 'mirrors' we create for ourselves- always concerned with image, obsessing over our social media profiles, constantly taking and sharing photographs of ourselves, mulling over which new, fashionable psychological or physical disorder we may or may not have. I am just as guilty of these things as the next person and all of this madness finds its way into my songwriting.
Is or was the "Hall of Mirrors" funhouse at any point one of your favorite carnival attractions?
Yes, it’s our favorite ride at Versailles.
How was it working with Joel Woodman on the moody kaleidoscope mirror collision for the visual treatment?
Working with Joel Woodman was absolutely fantastic. Christopher (from VUM) went to art school with Joel a few years back so we were pleased when he approached us to make a video – we felt confident that he would be able to collaborate with little guidance from us. We shared the kaleidoscope idea with him as an inspiration. He took that inkling of an idea and executed the video perfectly, especially with regard to the broken mirror scenes- these are my personal favorites.
While your version is an original, was wondering at all whether or not the ghostly hands of Kraftwerk, a la Siouxsie were involved in any background influence to this track? Something in the far away vocal effects I could almost hear a faint reminiscence of, "…even the greatest stars dislike themselves in the looking glass."
Yes! Exactly. Our track is in no way a cover of the Kraftwerk song and I don’t think that it stylistically resembles their music, however, we are big Kraftwerk fans and the lyrical refrain in our song was, of course, directly inspired by the title of their track. On another level, I thought that the thematic content of our track was in some way also emotionally connected to theirs. In Kraftwerk’s “Hall of Mirrors,” Ralf and Florian describe the instance when we are confronted with our own image and we undergo a process of discovery, adoration, and disgust until we construct a distortion of ourselves that we think better suits who we wish we were. There is a deep loneliness in that.
As for Siouxsie, while I am generally inspired by her music, her cover of the Kraftwerk track didn’t play the writing of this song.