love, hate what difference is made

such wasted potential all in your hands

Sign o’ the times. Brooklyn’s coldwave maestros  The Mystic Underground delve deep into classic Cold War paranoia vibes with their chilling new single, The Fixer, featured on their upcoming record Wrapped In Riddles (out 13 November 2020 via Stereosonic Recordings).

The duo, which has made regular rounds in the NYC music scene, is comprised of lyricist Vladimir Valette (lead vox) and Benedetto Socci (synths, production). Valette’s voice is warm, mournful and full of emotion, which brings to mind vocalists like the Human League’s Phil Oakey, Dave Gahan of Depeche Mode, and Ian McCulloch of Echo and the Bunnymen. It is a startling juxtaposition with the iciness of Socci’s spectacular synth tapestry. The Fixer is sinister, hushed, sullen, and a record of a desperate time in western society. “The song is about paralysis through analysis, and the perils of inaction,” says Valette. In short, “Put up or shut up.”

According to Valette, the first line of the chorus determined the direction of the song’s message. “I was trying to fall asleep but my mind was racing…when that line popped into my head. I ran to my phone so I could enter it into my note-taking app, and from that point, I had a point of reference. I think it worked out quite well in the end.’

Photo: Alice Teeple

The video, directed by longtime collaborator William Murray, follows Valette through a somnambulistic episode after a rough night, causing him to meander through various parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn. The vast emptiness of Covid-era NYC infuses an apocalyptic isolation into the production. Valette finds himself in an abandoned Oculus at the foot of the World Trade Center, Green-Wood Cemetery, Battery Park, and Broadway Junction. “The video hopes to capture and present the feeling of feeling out-of-sorts when presented how life can come out at you quickly,” says Valette. (The surrealistic quality immediately brings to mind the classic video for Heaven 17’s equally timely and foreboding track, Let’s All Make A Bomb.)

Valette describes the video filming as an interesting Sunday morning. “Given the current state of affairs related to COVID, we were still taken a bit aback with how desolate the Oculus and World Trade Center were. It definitely served to heighten the vibe we were looking to capture. I only wish that we kept the shots crossing a busy street nearly getting hit to show how oblivious I was. The things one must do for art…!”

Check out the premiere of The Fixer here:

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