As late capitalism progresses and as the world ends, nothing makes sense anymore except turning to the marginalized for wisdom on how to survive, how to cope, and for insight into what we need and have always needed. The artists behind VEX (Vortex Empath Xen), early groundbreakers and OGs of the Bay Area’s current deathrock and dark experimental music scenes, can offer just that at this moment.
“Deathbird” is the first video from their newest album, Between Worlds. Filmed by RK Schilling by drone, the “Deathbird: Quarantine Edit” video shows Lucifer Gamma Ray and Roxzan Zatan (also of Oakland’s Moira Scar) on an abandoned beach, running over and over and over towards the ocean. Shot in the fall of 2019 and edited in April 2020 by Zatan, the stark imagery is heartbreaking in its foreshadowing of the events to come, depicting the isolation, despair and helplessness that many currently feel as a novel virus overtakes the earth. But in the world of VEX, we can find both beauty and truth in despair.
VEX states, “‘Deathbird’ is a ceremony, a witch’s dance, a cathartic spell, a mourning, an acknowledgment, a falling into the underworld, a rising up from the ashes, delving deep into our tru core and shedding the false self, bringing together the lost souls, celebrating the dead and preparing the living. Transformation is at hand; we are all playing a part.”
Between their artist statement and RK Schilling’s epic visuals, the collaborative message is clear: Our current society is collapsing, and it has never protected us. It is high time to run from a land of madness, from the stifling oppression, from the heat and death that seem to never end. We will use our despair to propel ourselves ever outwards. We must fling ourselves into the sea, and emerge rebirthed and free.
See the video on here:
Check out the rest of VEX’s album, Between Worlds, here: