G. Brenner is gearing up for his debut album, Brushfire, out on August 20th, featuring his previously released title track and its follow-up, "Dee Dee." Today, the Los Angeles artist — whose experimental sound is comparable to names like Arca, Björk or ANOHNI — premieres what he describes as the most "embodied" of all his Bushfire videos thus far: "Mudslide."
Named after a natural phenomenon "endemic to California," Brenner's latest drop is about a rainy period of time "after the fire season" where "all the burnt brush can no longer uphold the integrity of the soaked mountainsides it once held together," as he explains.
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The result is an unruly track that flips between the artist's low, bellowing vocals — at first entirely a cappella — and electronic bursts of "acidic raindrop synths" that roll out like a sonic flash flood. The chaotic production is at odds with Brenner's singing, interrupting his peaceful melodies and trapping them inside a twirling underwater current — juxtaposition that intentionally highlights the helplessness between humans and environmental disasters.
"Like most of the songs on Brushfire, 'Mudslide' is about many things — anxiety over climate change, destruction of oppressive systems of power, death and renewal," Brenner says. "It's difficult to feel like microscopic individual action can result in concrete, material pushback against climate disaster, and so we watch quietly as all things recognizable are washed away, drowning under the weight of the waves."
For the "Mudslide" music video, premiering on PAPER, Brenner wanted to "situate the viewer in the first person," so it felt like they were "experiencing the images real time." The Brenner and Amara Higuera co-directed visual brings you underwater, as if you're inside the turmoil, before we see the artist himself — eyes closed and covered in dried mud, seemingly at peace with his surroundings.
"For most of 'Mudslide,' we feel as if we're drowning under waves of harsh noise — thus the rolling, rushing underwater shots that anchor most of the video," he says. "The muddy ash I'm covered head-to-toe in is a signifier of recent destruction, tarnishing the emergency-blanket-inspired suit that's intended to protect me from the elements. I rinse my hands and suit in the river at the end of the video, washing away the trauma of the mudslide and renewing the suit's condition."
Ultimately, Brenner reiterates that "helplessness is not hopelessness," and hopes "Mudslide" can get that message across. So check out the video for "Mudslide," below, off Very Jazzed Records, ahead of the release of Brushfire — and "watch as new green growth starts to emerge from the loamy ruins." You can pre-order everything, here.
Photos courtesy of G. Brenner