16 Dec 2014 — Andrew Darley
For their third audiovisual album, BLUE, iamamiwhoami move into the clearing. Centered on the metaphor of water as the technological medium in which art exists today, the collective fronted by Jonna Lee push forward their vision of the multimedia album experience. Continuing the lineage of their kin and bounty series, BLUE is a collection of songs accompanied by videos that together tell a story. Under the name of WAVE, Jonna Lee co-directed the videos for the first time, alongside cinematographer John Strandh and set designer Agustín Moreaux. We witness Jonna’s character being pursued by black disguised figures, referencing her kin era, through the glaciers of Iceland, the deep ocean and white sand beaches in her journey to progress.
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Jonna and her music co-producer Claes Björklund have transitioned from their shadowy, reverb-laden arrangements to compositions more assertive and brighter in texture. Once again, their songs experiment with traditional pop song structures in a thrilling way. "Hunting For Pearls" meanders before taking off into its lilting, life-affirming chorus about the thirst for change. "Thin" disintegrates halfway as its tempo drops and beckons with a sing-along refrain. "Chasing Kites" bounces and claps, heralding “A brighter forecast, New winds will blow”. With their expansive and aquatic-leaning synths, Jonna’s vocals come out from under the mysterious haze of previous records with her more transparent, direct delivery.
iamamiwhoami are of the few artists who fully grasp the intent of multimedia album. Their visuals and lyrics construct a story around references of their own progression and relationship with their followers. The facets they incorporate exist to establish and further a narrative. Creating the music in time with their videos, they encompass a dialogue with their listeners in the series’ telling. They generated personalized message in bottles that we see her making in the videos. They also created an interactive "BLUE Island", based upon the locations of the videos, to connect with their followers and offer additional content, including an alternative version of the record with segues. They are not playing catch up with the Internet platform, instead they have created their own arena and invited it into it. They map out and thoroughly consider how people will experience their songs.
BLUE is a celebration of how the digital experience no less than the physical – it’s simply different. Made of effervescent and sensual electronic pop and visuals echoing their pursuit of change, iamamiwhoami are in a league of their own regarding how to communicate in our digital era without losing a drop of creativeness.
Get BLUE over here.