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Six Degrees Of Separation #1: Breanna Box -> Moss Kena -> Holly Blakey-> Ani Klang -> Gal Musette -> Katy B

We continue our most experimental section, “Discover”, with an idea that came to us on a whim: we started by wanting to showcase videos with great art direction and accompanying tracks to match the visuals, but with the Internet truly being a place for (music) discovery, sometimes just googling an artist’s name can result in an entire ecosystem at one’s fingertips. Taking inspiration from the “six degrees of separation” idea, we explore the world of Breanna Box “connections”, bridging fashion, identity, contemporary dance, youth culture and anti-establishment music videos.

“Six degrees of separation” is the idea that all living things in the world are no more than six steps removed from one another. We have followed a sequence of such steps in an organic, spontaneous way, as follows:

Breanna Box – SOLI5150

Actor/direction/musician/fashion-icon Breanna Box came to our attention after being featured on Kinoscope’s “next generation of creatives” series (her Tanner Krolle commercials on that website rival the Miu Miu Women’s Tales series in atmosphere, creative visuals and inspired song selections, and they’re completely free to watch).

She directs and stars in “SOLI5150”, a video about a woman trying to have a conversation with her multiple personalities regarding her future, and her love for Little Dragon, Alt-J and Julie London is evident. She is truly a part of a larger avant-garde movement concerning fashion, music and style, and since there is no better way to illustrate such a movement than by using the power of example, read on to see other artists that are – in some way or another – connected to Breanna Box.

Moss Kena – Square One

Breanna Box stars in this visceral and captivating video for British artist Moss Kena, an enigmatic figure who has been compared to both Anderson .Paak and Prince. Directed by Holly Blakey, the video explores the sources of power by depicting a group of goddesses and the dancers surrounding them. For a while, Moss Kena’s identity was unknown (he has since done interviews where he cites Elvis as a major influence and meeting Kendrick Lamar as a career highlight), taking cues from musicians who maintained an aura of mystery around them, such as Burial.

With that immense chorus that meshes gospel and avant-garde electronica and benefiting from a production quality that is simply to die for, you can be excused if this is your stop on this six-degrees-exploration bus. But if you’re ready to listen to more, “You Don’t Know” is another great single from Kena.

Holly Blakey – Phantom

We are in awe with the ability of contemporary dance videos to create metaphors and entire storylines out of pure freedom of expression and spontaneous movement. When paired with incredible camerawork and free-flowing music, a pure act of authenticity can result in a – as FACT calls “Phantom” – “dark and dizzying exploration of pain, pleasure, anguish and empathy, a contemporary fertility ritual the purpose of which is felt not in the corporeal world but as a loud and urgent call for togetherness, a rising shout heard as an invocation of a spirit that might look like nothing to the naked eye, but is imbued with libidinal charge, primal affection and emotional honesty“. Holly Blakey directed “Phantom”, a 12-minute dance masterpiece brimming with ideas and just begging to be rewatched again and again. Read the full description on youtube, wait for the claps at 7:00 and for a truly primal release of energy around 9:30. And if you’re interested in more incredible dance performances, check out the next entry, the contemporary choreographies section on Marquee.tv, or the movie “If It Were Love“.

Ani Klang – The Problem

Box was also featured on influential art and fashion website Culted with Moneta – a track about spending money in order to deal with loneliness and failing spectacularly at that. Culted is an amazing website to keep track of, but an even better one for music diehards is Boiler Room’s 4:3, a “Netflix for undeground music videos” (the full website can be accessed here) where you can simply get lost while exploring incredible videos and fresh concepts. (Not so coincidentally, Breanna Box was also featured on 4:3 with “Drink Me“, a song about claustrophobia and feeling boxed in which saw the artist adopt an AI-generated avatar. )

One 4:3 video in particular that truly made an impression was “The Problem” by Ani Klang, an avant-garde producer “armed with frustration, pain, and a little irony“, with accompanying music from an “KILL THE EMPIRE”, an album which “journeys from 145-160 BPM and showcases punchy, fluttery, footwork-inspired kick patterns, layers of heavily manipulated industrial textures and ironically political self-recorded samples (i.e. feminist podcasts, orgasms, and ex-girlfriends crying and singing) bound together by a rave-friendly mentality.” The video for “The Problem” is a true masterpiece, depicting a dancer struggling to free her body and mind from a corrupt ideology, making the case for 4:3 being in the toolbelt of music-overlapping-with-art-discovery fans, alongside websites like Nowness.

Gal Musette – Julia

If we’re talking music discovery and underground music videos, such a thing as the Underground Music Video Festival – awarding monthly prizes for categories such as “best director”, “best music video” and “best director of photography” – really exists, yet another amazing source for discovering underground music and artists.

We’ll just drop the grand prize winner from January 2022, the video for Gal Musette’s “Julia”. We’re not going to take this game one step further and say that the video seriously recalls Julia Holter’s “Fur Felix“, we’re just going to insist on its many qualities. For fans of Regina Spektor, Musette delivers delicate, intricate piano-led indie-pop/folk, and “Julia” is perhaps her magnum opus, a video and song about an imaginary friend that becomes more real with the passing of time, and the the pain resulted from the perhaps-inevitable separation from such a friend. Musette (real name Grace Freeman) says that ““Julia” is a symbol for the person you depend on like a crutch when anxiety overwhelms you- either a real person or an imaginary friend. ” and that “(it) is a personal song, but I will admit it is about an experience with a person in my life.

(As if that weren’t enough, another Gal Musette track, “Ghost“, features a dance performance and beautiful choreography.)

Katy B – Under My Skin

At this point, we want to truly test out that six degrees theory: could we connect Breanna Box to, say, Zola Jesus? We can: Breanna Box directed fashion commercials, and Miu Miu Women’s Tales are examples of such, one even featuring Zola Jesus. Can we link her to Elvis? That’s an easy one – we actually already did. Can we link her to Tinashe? Of course. How about Led Zeppelin? Um…we’re still working on that one?

If we take it from the beginning and insist on the London connection, we can, for instance, settle on popular British musician Katy B (she is also, coincidentally, an artist that pops up when you google ‘breanna box “music video”‘, for some reason). “Under My Skin” was released after a 5-year break, with the artist collaborating with P2J and director Ash Halliburton. The upbeat melody of the track masks the sadness in lyrics and delivery, and the video features kaleidoscopic shots, delighting with its eye-popping visuals and color palette. Katy B has also collaborated with producer and jazz drummer Moses Boyd on “2 Far Gone”, a match made in heaven if there ever was one.

*

That’s it for our first Six Degrees of Separation game! We might have deviated significantly from the original idea, as we weren’t really interested in connecting any two people on the planet as we were in exploring the connections themselves. You can read more about the Six Degrees idea here (it was originally coined by writer Frigyes Karinthy in 1929 – certainly ending up as an instance of “life imitating art”), and you can read the short story from which the idea originated here.

“I believe that the imagination is the passport we create to take us into the real world. I believe the imagination is another phrase for what is most uniquely us.” – John Guare, “Six Degrees Of Separation”

Featured image is “The Six Degrees of Separation” from pinterest user Anrai Macarthy.

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