There’s no doubt that digital developments have opened doors to artistic delights. Filmmakers and videographers of the ‘70s and ‘80s could hardly have dreamed of the high-definition cinematic possibilities that lay ahead. And yet, despite the wonders of such advances, we often find ourselves craving the grit and glow of less pristine, dated filmic forms.
London-based musician L.A. Salami shares in our nostalgia. The music video for his single “I Wear This Because Life is War!”—which we’re pleased to premiere below—acts as a time machine, transporting viewers back to the days of VHS tapes and shag haircuts. The video’s static-saturated simplicity is reminiscent of an old home tape, and it reads as authentic, as though it’s clipped from a music documentary. Of his blast-to-the-past stylistic choices, Salami tells us, “Enough time has passed for VHS to go from being a relatively ugly form of video capture, to now being somewhat nostalgic and beautiful, and simply a stylistic choice. Time continues to be the most invisible, most valuable, most dangerous tool for doing this art thing!”
The video begins with an announcer introducing the band and is followed by shots of the musicians and their instruments from multiple angles. This view of their live performance is interrupted quickly by flashes of war scenes and explosions. “It’s supposed to be a surreal, satirical, visceral take on the expressions the song is making,” Salami says of the stock footage. For him, a song is a battlefield; a series of noises and intentions packed into minutes, in which you grapple with your greatest personal shortcomings. “I Wear This Because Life is War!” is just one chapter of Salami’s recently released LP Dancing with Bad Grammar (Sunday Best Recordings), which intends to encourage listeners to take risks—to “do something beautiful despite [their] shortcomings.”
DANCING WITH BAD GRAMMAR (SUNDAY BEST RECORDINGS) IS OUT NOW. FOR MORE ON L.A. SALAMI, VISIT HIS WEBSITE.