A guide to the New East

The Calvert Journal premieres a new video by Russian electronic band SBPCh. Directed by Moscow-based artist Pavel Samokhvalov, it takes the viewer to the unknown depths of the ocean to sing with the whales and face existential fears.

Psychedelic electronic band SBPCh, which stands for "The Biggest Prime Number" in Russian, comes from St Petersburg, and has over the years become one of the favourite indie acts in the Russian-speaking world. The video for Whale is the latest in a line of collaborations between SPBCh and Samokhvalov (see a surreal trip on an ocean liner he designed for the band last year here). In his new work Samokhvalov comes back to his favourite tool — 3D graphics — and his favourite theme, the ocean.

“In this song I hear a lot of deep sea sounds — viscous, rolling, distant sounds of underwater sonars, dolphins in the bottomless sea. I love the ocean and see it everywhere, and here water is mentioned a lot in the lyrics,” Samokhvalov explains. “It’s not very apparent in the song who is talking to whom so I’ve decided to let the whale sing. I’ve chosen the Beluga whale because it’s weird and mesmerising. I did a sort of casting for different whales, and the animated model of Beluga whale matched the voice the best. Not sure why I’ve picked the octopus for Kirill Ivanov (the vocalist). From a formal point of view I needed to work around his head and shoulders but also I think the octopus suits him — he’s inescapable and hypnotising”.

From a white whale gently asking “Where are you, my friend?”  to a line “We are all going to die” floating in a pink bathtub, the video is a computer-generated mirror held up to our inner fears, longing and love. Enjoy.

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