Hailing from Christchurch, New Zealand, The Transcendents are a music project spearheaded by Chris Pole. Their recently-released self-titled debut album – described by indie-music website The Equal Ground as ‘vertigo-inducing’- is a defiantly lo-fi affair, as are the videos which accompany five of the ten tracks. These include the rapid-fire indie blasts of ‘Drug Mule’ and ‘Visitation Rights’, text-infused oddity ‘Glacial Flood’, and the Streets-influenced downbeat stream-of-consciousness mantra that is Circle Unit Document’).
The latest of these video morsels has just been released, for the song ‘Everything Has Proven To Be Futile’, which is referred to by Pole as his favourite song on the album, and he describes the attendant music video as ‘pop-art meets pyromania’. That’s not a bad explanation for the stop-motion graphics which depict five different tones of lighters rearranging themselves in an endless array of patterns as The Transcendents chant ‘Light it up, watch it burn’.
There’s a dizzying sense of the ‘doplar effect’ as the lighters snake their way around the screen, offset by the jittery soundtrack. Hypnotic viewing and uneasy listening, The Transcendents seek to take you places you’re not sure you want to go.
The song is built around a repeating guitar motif and those inflamed (geddit!) incitations, before revealing itself as a character study of a frustrated, and perhaps disturbed, individual. The final section of the video descends into spoken word (a common feature of The Transcendents), as Pole intones “Nothing is ever fair, Everything is futile, Absolutely everything has proven to be futile, Nitroglycerine, A thick paste, It was his time, To lay to waste, He had a short fuse, He liked a slow burn, Everyone of them, Was gonna learn…”
The video is available to be viewed here, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtYiQOz_Ohs or along with several others on their website, thetranscendents.co.nz where their album is also available to download for free (just hit buy now and enter zero dollars). There is also a 12′ lathe-cut polycarbonate record for purchase.
New Zealand’s musical history is littered with underground bands quietly going about their business at the bottom of the world, and The Transcendents continue this tradition.
They plan to release one further video (most likely for the song ‘Weakness Was Always Your Strength’) before some fresh recording sessions which will result in an EP due later in the year. In the meantime, they have lit a flame with this new video – may it burn brightly!