We introduced you to Alpenglow with their debut album Callisto earlier this year and today have the pleasure of delivering the world premiere for the VR video for “Flicker Flutter” from the group’s guitarist Peter Coccoma, oka pierre_xoxo. Coccoma is part of the Swimmers art collective that have been making some rad videos, like the recent visual treatment for Pavo Pavo’s (who are also part of the Alpenglow, San Fermin, Lucius family/collective) single “Ran Ran Run“. The Brooklyn group takes you on an exquisite visual trip into a suspicious looking establishment called the “VR Palace”, Alpenglow furthers their grand, sophisticated-aesthetic visions through a view at what the new internet cafes of the near & not-so-far tomorrow might be like. From the band’s own hypnotic & vast sound to their mix of the contemporary & believable sci-fi realism in the visuals and vibe; Alpenglow remain one of our favorite things about the stormy year of 2016.
In the pierre_xoxo video for Alpenglow’s “Flicker Flutter”, we are first treated to the logo for the nevulous VR Palace lit up in the kind of pink neon streaked style of a Nicolas Winding Refn touch, that could also be said for how the rest of the eerie futuristic-yet strangely familiar video is carried out. The opening & closing of the video is both seen at the entrace to the VR Palace where patrons outside take a breath of with attire that shines with rave-y glowstick lightt. Insight we see patrons embarking upon the virtual reality trip, seen through a variety of kooky contraptions that stem from Google-Glass wear like devices, wired glove things, to more archaic forms imagined by cyberpunks. The band is seen in a variety of scenes where visuals from banquets, vacations, to the reality of folks seen strewn about the inside of a dank dystopia lost in the eye popping visuals seen through the lens of their own head-sets. “Flicker Flutter” is an epic deep-end dive into the remarkable interplay between the blurred boundaries where our own enjoyed realities are observed & heard as being inextricably linked to the virtual & manufactured worlds of augmented existences. Everything in the song & video builds up to the epic lyrical recitation of “oh my god I’m waking up…into a new life” where something of a spiritual & personal rebirth occurs from the portal that leads deeper into the digitally enhanced & altered void. Read our following interview with Alpenglow’s own Peter Coccoma that further explores “Flicker Flutter” & more.
How was the Alpenglow summer & what are you all stoked about for this fall/winter?
We spent a lot of the early summer writing new material that we are starting to record this fall. We spent a lot of time writing as a full band, so it really is our most collaborative batch of songs. It’s one of those things where it doesn’t sound like any one of our particular voices, but a collection of all of them, which is resulting in this really cool new sound. We’re all seeing how collaborative projects take a shape of their own over time, and that’s been fun to be a apart of.
Interested in hearing about the development of guitarist & creative auteur Peter Coccoma’s (aka pierre_xoxo) video for the neon-VR dance party world of “Flicker Flutter”.
I’ve been thinking a lot about VR, screens, augmented realty and how all that will play out in changing us as individuals and a society. The lyrics of “Flicker Flutter” deal with a lot of the same themes.
In comes the “VR Palace” in the video. It’s a place with the feel of an underworld-neon-warehouse where people pay to have varying levels of VR experiences. I worked with my collaborators in Swimmers, and we created this dark, dirty, red light district feeling facility where clients pay to live out their fantasies. The narrator is a technician at the facility so he sort of has the perspective of the singer in the song who is a bit of an outsider commenting on the world he sees around him and wondering what it all means. All in all it has this cinematic sci-fi feel that I’m really happy with.
Any favorite anecdotes from the video shoot that you all care to share?
Michael Hili and Donna Phibbs are two really talented designers who I work with in Swimmers. They came up with all the costumes including these amazing head pieces for the VR goggles that are all made out of salvaged materials and have these glowing neon lights built into them. It’s all those little details that the two of them, Elori Kramer our editor, and Owen Donovan who worked as the DP, have such a talent for focusing in on that made this video come together.
Tell us about the October 16 launch of Swimmers joined by Pavo Pavo & Uni Ika Ai at Brooklyn’s 153 Coffey Street.
We’re throwing a big party to celebrate all the music videos Swimmers made this summer. It’s sort of a concert/film screening/theater piece/party all in one. It’s actually at the warehouse where Flicker Flutter was shot. There will be an opera singer in a kiddie pool, a brass quartet with feathers boas, a tinsel tunnel made by artist Aya Rodriguez-Izumi, live sets by all the bands, and of course we’ll watch some of the videos. It’s free so what more can you ask.
Any other things brewing from your collective (San Fermin, Lucius and Pavo Pavo) family?
It’s great to get to work alongside so many talented artists. It shows me how New York still has a thriving arts community. I know a lot of articles have been written about the demise of New York’s arts scene, especially in comparison to the downtown scene of the past, but in my experience it’s just taken a new shape. Now there are a lot of small arts scenes spread throughout different neighborhoods across the whole city. It can take some effort to meet new people, but once you do you sort of uncover this giant web that strings together a larger, city-wide community. Despite all the difficulties of making art in such an expensive city, I’ve grown to really value all the people here who keep making inspiring work.
Alpenglow’s debut album Callisto is available now from Chizu Records.