The art pop musician releases a DIY video for her Paul Institute single ‘Masquerade’, featuring a cameo appearance from A.K. Paul
REINEN is one of the new artists recently introduced by the Paul Institute, Jai and A.K. Paul’s record label and creative platform. Her track “Masquerade” is a distinctive and dramatic debut, an art pop song a la Annie Lennox, Kate Bush, or Klaus Nomi that draws on her love of theatre, film, romance, comedy, and tragedy. As REINEN explained to us recently, she envisioned the song as “a masquerade ball in a far-off land”, an idea she brings to life in its newly released music video, co-directed with Patrick Chamberlain.
“‘Masquerade’ painted itself as an abstract movie scene in my mind from the moment it was written back in May 2016,” REINEN tells Dazed. “I had a feeling of being submerged in a pulsating, kaleidoscopic ballroom.” This imagined ballroom’s mesh of cyclical pattern work, movement, and silhouetting mirrored themes of “parallelism, dualism, past and future lives colliding, and the idea of two worlds running alongside one another” that run in the song. “This ballroom flits between both and often lands in-between,” she adds. “For this reason, it also has a trigonal theme, with the mandalas being made up of triangles representing past, present, and future. Even the masks I made for each character were customised with triangular mirror pieces.”
There was no budget for the video, and the result is a great exercise in DIY creativity. After shooting some test scenes around late 2016 and early 2017 with long term collaborator Anthony Reed, REINEN contacted her local school’s drama department, who let her use a recently refurbished theatre in return for hosting a two-day songwriting workshop with the music students. She then pulled in friends and family to play the ball’s attendees, creating her own archetypal characters based on Ancient Greek comedy and tragedy ideas. The characters appear both in the music video and in the song’s prologue, which debuts on REINEN’s website tomorrow.
The characters include ‘the Joker’, ‘the Timelord’, ‘the Mothership’, ‘the Mysterious Prince’, ‘the Ballroom Jesters’, ‘Captain Glyph’, and ‘Esmeralda’. The role of the Mothership goes to REINEN’s actual mother, while Captain Glyph is played by Anthony Reed, so named because his Glyph-branded hard drive stored all of the video’s footage. Esmeralda is “the ballroom sorceress” and REINEN’s alter ego, while the Mysterious Prince is played by none other than A.K. Paul (who produced “Masquerade” with REINEN), doubled with Andrew Hampshire on the choreography.
Having small moments of choreography was important to REINEN, as the song’s lyrics “speak of the fleeting moment where two worlds meet”. “It’s also a visual homage to the traditional courtly dances of the ballroom’s past, and those synchronic waltzes that create their own pulse and hypnotic weaving patterns,” she adds “As our duets meet during this courtly waltz, they have their chance encounter: ‘as we weave and part, did we brush past chance’.”
After capturing the footage, REINEN wanted to work with editor Ciarán Wood to create something “arresting, confusing, and immersive” that used non-traditional editing techniques. “I wanted to remain loyal to the groove and sound design, which was why it was important for me to sit in throughout the edit process,” REINEN says. “The initial edit didn’t quite capture it enough, and the footage still didn’t stick together. When we started from scratch, we knew we’d have to do something drastic to make this thoroughly confusing, heavily layered piece of work communicate.” They ended up reshooting the footage through a vintage camera, “the same camera used to film all the acts performing at The Haçienda throughout the 80s”.
Finally, REINEN created a prologue, created with web designer Nelson Vassalo, which takes the form of a poem, read by Graham Thurston (aka REINEN’s “uncle Gray”, who also plays the Timelord in the main “Masquerade” video). “The journey of completing this video taught me more than I can possibly communicate about what it means to be an artist,” REINEN says. “The visual accompaniment is as crucial as the sonic structure in creating worlds around each song. Though there were many obstacles and complications, I would do it all over again.”
Watch the “Masquerade” video below.