Written by: Dave Cantrell
Sometimes you dream your stories, sometimes you live them. Sometimes the rare opportunity arises to do both simultaneously. And sometimes, even when that latter option arises, it turns into something closer to a shadowy, menacing nightmare. So it was for Swiss/American band Crying Vessel, the now-duo that comprises the once EDM-maestro-turned-darkwave artist (and erstwhile Midwestern American) Slade Templeton along with Swiss native Basil Oberli. Joining at the conceptual hip with Venezuelan director and renowned sculptor Fabio Rincones, the band’s track “The Second Sleep,” from their album A Beautiful Curse released exactly a year ago today on October 13, 2017, resonated so strongly with Rincones that a joint artistic venture of the most daring kind was conceived and carried out under extraordinarily dicey circumstances and is released today to honor the one year anniversary.
Some background: Venezuela, under the regime of leftist populist (which is to say, ‘not-leftist-at-all-but-flagrantly authoritarian’) Hugo Chavez, descended into a Dantean dystopia of so-called populist progressivism that was, in effect, little more than textbook, kleptocratic corruption. Defined, as are all such regimes, by a merciless suppression of any and all voices of dissent combined with a rampant militarism, a once proud, once oil-rich country fell into tragic (and still current) disarray. From that morass, and at no less than constant great peril to the director and his crew alike, Rincones, having connected viscerally with the emotional terrain of Crying Vessel’s work, fashioned an astonishing piece of work that combines an aesthetic brutalism with an ironically shadowed, fascistic perspective to create a video of existential, if minimalist beauty, the imagery and flow reflecting, unflinchingly, the absurdist pain under which everyone there must exist. While the beauty is in itself almost excruciating, the honesty and courage that it represents demands our attention. Herewith, we present, “The Second Sleep,” a work that, like it or not, echoes the reality into which every democracy, liberal or otherwise, is beginning to slip. We here at SEM are grateful not only for the opportunity to present this work, but as well the opportunity to lend our voice to those that would resist the move toward rampant dehumanization. Thank you Crying Vessel, thank you Fabio Rincones. And now, the video…[feature photo: Spring Florian]