We are very honoured to premiere the brilliant accompanying video for the shimmering new single ‘Body’ from New Zealand chanteuse Isla Noon.
The project of Shani Sauerman, her vocals are stunning – soft, velvet and diaphanous with a shimmering warmth, heartbreakingly yearning over an instrumentation that is contrastingly thumping, bombastic and dramatic at times, crashing in like a wave, receding into something dreamy and sparse at other times.
Noon says of the track:
From such an early age we are flooded with input and commentary on what is and isn’t ok about our bodies. It’s such an overwhelming intrusion on what is really a private relationship. Writing ‘Body’ was a step toward excavating some of that unwelcome noise from my own mind and extending a quiet peace offering to myself.
I think of ‘Body’ as reclamation of self. I put it forward in all its messy self-contradiction and intensity, in all its cautious intimacy, in all its strength and light .
The lyrics are a personal and expressive look at self-image and vulnerability:
What do I do to make you my home?
I know I’m grown now but I don’t feel it
I walk around like I’m still alone
Directed by Oshara Ardelean, the video presents Noon in a desolate building – a small figure dwarfed by decayed walls. The camera closes in, following, almost haunting and stalking Noon as she backs away through the darkened rooms, sometime closing in tight, sometimes drawing away. Noon’s performance is mesmerising and enigmatic, with an intensity that burns the retina.
I knew from the outset that I wanted to work with a female director for this video and approached Oshara Ardelean (who had co-directed the video for my previous single I Need To Go Home) with an idea for a follow-shot style video that I had in mind for ‘Body’. We heard through the grapevine about a mysterious location – a storeroom building at the now closed, and for the most part abandoned, Kingseat Hospital. It is considered the most haunted place in Auckland, and there’s a lot of history, so it was a pretty unforgettable experience shooting the video there. The building we shot in really shaped the final storyboard, which Oshara and I wrote together.
Throughout the video, I wanted to play with the idea of making the psychological space physical. The camera functions as a reflection of self that I am at first curious about and questioning, then hesitant to trust, and later fearful of and trying to outrun. The building I travel through represents a headspace, a place where I am alone with myself and that doesn’t always feel safe. Ultimately I find a way out of this place but instead of leaving, I turn back – thinking maybe it doesn’t have to be like this, maybe I don’t have to run from myself any longer.
It’s a fittingly theatrical and beautifully shot video that captures the vulnerabilities and anxieties of the lyrics and yet has an element of defiance and resilience about it – with the last shot a possible exit from the nightmare and one last defiant look back at the camera: