WL//WH Video of the Day: TOTEM “Figment”

Video Of The Day Totem

Integral and active part of Copenhagen‘s underground post-punk / darkwave scene of the second decade of 2000s, as frontman of dark punk act Metro Cult, Christoffer Bagge, relocated to Berlin, started his solo electronic post-punk project under TOTEM moniker with a more than promising two-tracker demo at the start of last year.

After a long rehearsal stint, he has finally shared the poignant and immersive darkwave hit and first single from the forthcoming debut album, “Figment”, along with the accompained videoclip. 

Deep ominous drones and effects of impending doom introduce ritualistic, heavy bass, syncopated bumping kicks and crashing hypnotic snares synchronized with restrained, evocative, elegiacal soaring synth lines usurped by strong, dense, prominent male vocals, utilizing an expansive pitch variation fluidly to shift from wailing laments to rejected, angry, shouts of injustice. Profoundly dramatic piercing synths drift throughout and conclude the tragedy of harmonious discordance together with a heavy wind blowing, sand lashing, cyclonic howl. The mysterious ending is interpretational, has a wide scope of relatability, and shifts gears with a blunt blink of an eye.

The death of a loved one leaves a man with bleeding wounds too raw to feel hope or find peace. When he sees physical manifestations of her such as “thunder becoming a beam of light,” he becomes afraid, uncertain, and filled with doubt. Wishing it all to disappear he constructs an alternate reality built on a mantra of denial “it is just an image of the mind” that should be forgotten, it is meaningless. Flawed logic and disbelief do not stop the pain, but it does change his chemistry allowing him time to, hopefully heal. For now, he walks alone through a fictitious maze erected in a self deceptive narcotic delirium.

The paired black & white visuals, filmed and directed by Sally Dige, Sanne De Neige and Trina Echidna, shot on Super 8 in Berlin, Stockholm and Copenhagen, depict a haunting, riveting, and dramatic rendition of “Figment” starring multidisciplinary-audiovisual artist Sally Dige and Christoffer Bagge himsef. Stark cryptic tunnels and broken debris represent the unsettled claustrophobic tension of a lost soul in crisis, combine with dimmed flashing lights to cast flickering shadows of a self-imposed prison locked by darkness, depression, and guilt . Accelerated time lapse photography emphasizes the warped duration, ambiguity of space, and inability to see. Above all, acting portrays the passing with penetrating eye contact and facial expressions of agony mourning, and grief.

A triple threat! Beautifully written lyrics about an uncomfortable issue combine with authentic vocals and attention grabbing instruments expressed in an open accepting way.

Keep up with Totem:

Photo by Patrycja Anna Proniewska