I’m on the train as I write this. I look down on the neighborhoods I pass over, which shift from yuppie-ish to middle-class to really not great, and I think that I’m not scared of any of these places, right? This is all part of my “home” or something, right? Like, in the big picture I mean. But I’m thinking now that maybe I’d be in deep over my head out there alone at night trying to find my way around in some places of the city, cutting through zones at once close to home and entirely foreign in the darkness, following the train tracks above my head or at my feet or waiting one more hour for a bus in the doorway of a closed church. It’s not about the people, in this case. It’s the character and atmosphere of the city itself. In a moment of vulnerability, I wonder if it’ll offer me its blessing or continue to obstruct my way home.
San Francisco residents Barn Owl (Jon Porras and Evan Caminiti) have tuned into the terror in the city landscape. In collaboration with filmmaker and projectionist Paul Clipson, they offer us six minutes of prismatic urban claustrophobia with their video for “Void Redux,” a track from their forthcoming album V (due April 16 from Thrill Jockey). A fixture of the San Francisco scene, Clipson has crafted stunning film accompaniments for some of the West Coast’s experimental elite, including Grouper, Gregg Kowalsky, Golden Retriever, and Jefre Cantu-Ledesma. In “Void Redux,” he presents a kinetic montage of overlapping Super 8 footage filmed in Zagreb, Geneva, and Berlin. Clipson’s kaleidoscopic abstractions develop and multiply alongside Barn Owl’s layers of processed synths, guitars, and percussion until we turn left into the most glistening type of hallucination and rush dizzy down a series of more and more alien avenues.