Los Angeles based conceptual multimedia artist Laura Callier, aka Gel Set, drifts off into her inner sea with the video for Where The Ocean Meets The Land.
In creating this inner exploration through music, Callier thought about self-defeatist behavior and how that can feed into feeling bad but also feeling right and in control about self-fulfilling prophecies and one’s beliefs. The narrator of the song stands on the edge of the ocean, writing a name in the sand as the ocean disintegrates her text, wondering why the ocean won’t stop…a futile eternal cycle. She reflects on the power of the ocean, and then lets it take her under. Does she even try to swim away, or just murmur that the ocean was too powerful? She’s so ensnared in depression that she passively allows the ocean to sweep her away as it did her writing in the sand. This song is about depression and the cycle of distorted thinking which it creates, and which also creates it.
“Can a reflected sun still burn?” “Will the surface break if I dive in?” These aren’t the questions likely to come up for the average beachgoer when lounging by the shore. Luckily for us, there’s nothing average about Gel Set (AKA Laura Callier). Where The Ocean Meets The Land takes inspiration from the sea to consider patterns of self-sabotage and surrender.
As for the concept of the video itself, Director Sam C adds:
“For this video, I wanted to play with the blurring boundaries between digital and physical life. Covid-19 has pushed us into a world of remote connectivity, video conferencing, and bad virtual green screen backgrounds. Meanwhile, everyone’s trying to make it to the beach. There’s never been a better time to stay at your house and pretend you’re somewhere else, so we shot this video entirely in my backyard, largely by drone, and with a crew of two plus Gel Set.” (Drone artist Sherri Johnson @sherrijphotography)
Watch the video for Where The Ocean Meets The Land below:
A follow-up to August’s pulsating It Has Come To Our Attention, Where The Ocean Meets The Land is moodier than its precursor, anchored by an ominous synth that offsets Callier’s ghostly vocals. The song’s narrator is locked in a Sisyphean battle with the sea, repeatedly writing a name in the sand, only to watch it get erased by the tides. Eventually, she allows herself to be washed away as well…a metaphor for depression and self-defeating cycles.
Despite its heavy subject matter, Where The Ocean Meets The Land is buoyant – this is a Gel Set song, after all. Callier’s voice is clear as water, the melody almost hypnotic. The accompanying video (shot entirely socially-distanced in director Sam Congdon’s backyard) pokes fun at the gravity of both the song’s content and our current global situation. She lounges on a green-screened beach, floats in a virtual ocean, and cruises down a digital highway in a toy Jeep. On her tongue-in-cheek escapism, she notes, “there’s never been a better time stay at your house and pretend you’re somewhere else.”
As the song progresses, the languid synth gives way to a bouncy slide guitar contributed by co-producer Noah Anthony (AKA Profligate). It acts as a sort of aural floatation device; the promise of survival after surrender. It’s not a message of hope, per se, nor should it be. On Where The Ocean Meets The Land, Gel Set isn’t interested in being rescued, but delivered.
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