Exclusive Premiere: The Dystopic Push and Pull of Ludodowwn’s Hazy “Polar”

Ludodowwn © 2017
Ludodowwn © 2017

It’s getting harder and harder to stay grounded and self-aware. We have so many distractions all around us, each one a looming opportunity to lose focus and divert attention away from what matters most – whatever that means. As Ludodowwn’s “Polar” music video opens, the out-of-focus image of (what looks to this writer like) clouds shot from above is a reminder that very few of the innumerable things that consume our daily lives really matter.

Watch: “Polar” – Ludodowwn

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering Ludodowwn’s music video for “Polar,” the debut single off the emerging Perth artist’s forthcoming Mirror/Bleach EP. The Australian music entertains all shapes and sizes, but as far as unique artistry is concerned, Ludodowwn is a needle in a haystack: The soundscape maker/electronic producer blends “melancholia with surreal experimentation” to craft a vast, yet cohesive psychedelic haze grounded in both abstract and real concepts.

“Polar” is the first test of that controlled chaos, and the glove fits: Like an early Pink Floyd song or any part of The Flaming Lips’ ever-increasing catalog, initially disparate sounds eventually fit together like puzzle pieces to form a mesmerizingly colorful collage. The introduction seems to incorporate some backwards tracking, an effect that succeeds at stimulating an out-of-body experience. Sometimes, we need to experience the unknown and alien in order to re-anchor ourselves. Clouded piano chords add to the mysterious haze, and just as the camera seems to focusing outside the window on the horizon ahead, Ludodowwn’s vocals enter…

It’s getting kind of dark out
It’s really quite a blackout
Running underwater
A colder night than ever
It’s getting kind of dark out

… and an eye is superimposed over the scenic sky.

Ludodowwn "Polar" still
Ludodowwn “Polar” still

Like a reflection in the glass, that eye is both familiar and foreign. It is so large in the screenshot, yet beyond the pane, we are small; when faced with the immensity of the Earth (let alone the worlds beyond it), a singular body can feel utterly meaningless. Indeed, that anxiety is felt in Ludodowwn’s reverb-soaked, consciously dysphoric singing:

We’re filling up with concrete
For underneath our nails
Layers of new bark
Creep underneath your skin folds
It’s getting kind of dark out
"Polar" - Ludodowwn
“Polar” – Ludodowwn

The words are barely distinguishable, but there’s something to be said for shrouding one’s lyrics in layers of sound: It masks the vulnerability of exposure, casting a sense of Ludodowwn’s withdrawal from the developing scene. The artist affirms this: “‘Polar’ was initially written when I was in a sort of apocalyptic mood, and so the lyrics were blatantly in a dystopian vein,” explains Ludodowwn. “As it was based on a mood, it’s all a bit ambiguous, but I think the mood of the music and lyrics are basically about the feeling of things moving, with an anxiety about the direction in which the movement and motion is headed. It has quite a political vibe. The title ‘Polar’ refers to the extremes of opposing directions.”

Background scenes change with ever-increasing speed as “Polar” ebbs and flows. New sounds are introduced, constantly driving the piece forward and leaving little time for contemplation. Like the many distractions in our busy days, chaos consumes the screen (and in part, the music) until the clouds return: We find ourselves back where we started, looking at an endless plane of white puffs thousands of feet above the ground, separated from them by a thick window pane.

All the while, Ludodowwn repeats: “It’s getting kind of dark out…

The marriage of psychedelia and melancholia burns a bittersweet flame that is not for the faint of heart. Those with an open mind and willingness to engulf themselves in unexplored territories can find a home in Ludodowwn’s attractively otherworldly tapestries. “Polar” is a prime opportunity to immerse the full self – mind, body, and spirit – in deep thought and sound. Maybe, just maybe, getting a little bit lost in the unknown can provide focus and balance.

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cover: Ludodowwn © 2017

Watch: “Polar” – Ludodowwn

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