Thor Rixon inserted himself into many people’s lives through a very strange and bold music video in April 2015, for his single, ‘fuk bread’. The video came out to mixed reviews. Many praised its technical execution and fell in love with its (and Rixon’s) absurdity and commitment to one-take realness and live tattoo pain. A few dance music purists were not so convinced.
As can often happen, the scepticism and the soul-searching that followed that release had Thor putting some serious thought into what he really wants to be doing with his music and what his performances, in videos and for live shows, needed to be.
Since then – between a few trips to the European techno capital Berlin and some hard work on his song-writing and message – he has steered his sound and his subject to more inward-looking, serious territory. His experimental habit and persistent weirdness seems to have become more and more refined, as I explained in detail in the Mail & Guardian.
One thing that he kept from the approach to ‘fuk bread’ was his commitment to an honest and truthful depiction of his surrealism – something that is literally painful to watch in his latest video performance for a brand new song, ‘The Clown’.
The song itself is a continuation of his techno-ish-centric approach to eclectic pop, with this track bringing out a fairly fabulous eeriness, darkened only by the depressing, self-aware lyrics repeated throughout the track, and the terrifyingly tense visuals.
Rixon returns to us in the ‘fuk bread’ fleshy unitard, and is seen walking through an abandoned and broken building with few signs of life surrounded by a similarly barren wooded area, brilliantly graded to evoke Dr. Seuss-like dark comedy. Thor co-stars with a group of side characters who could be parts of Thor’s own mind, or members of a red-toga’ed cult of which we might be witnessing a sadistic ritual.
We won’t say what happens in the video, because it’s a journey you have to see for yourself, but the repeated refrains of “Why must I have a cold heart? Why must I have a stone mind? Why must I live under a rock? Why must I keep my eyes blind?” point to this being a depiction of internal battles that Thor endures or has endured in the past.
Is he beating himself up for feeling like he doesn’t engage with the world compassionately and with his full attention? Is he providing a soundtrack and visual prompts for us to ask ourselves those exact questions? He refuses to clarify any of this, as he has insisted that the piece must speak for itself, so we’ll just have to figure it out for ourselves.
‘The Clown’ is out on German label, Get Physical, this Friday with remixes by Few Nolder and Lord Of The Isles.