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Melba's Call Up-Close

Melba's Call unpicked

Bok Bok breaks down the slick aesthetics of his tech-jungle video with Kelela

While running things with Night Slugs, Alex Sushon - aka Bok Bok - has built an unmistakable aesthetic that relies on meticulously precise, clean imagery that comes with a dose of chaos. His latest video, for the Kelela-featuring jagged funk jam “Melba’s Call”, runs wild with this theme, ending up being more about what’s not there than what is. Pristine equipment sits untouched, the lead vocalist appears via Skype from LA and sprawling jungle greenery sits at the heart of the image, cruelly encased in glass. The world Sushon’s created doesn’t really have any people in it – just plants, technology, and digital interfaces – but it’s magnetic. Step inside it via the hi-def details in our exclusive gallery, and read Sushon’s own take below.

Dazed Digital: Tell us about the world you created around "Melba’s Call"?

Bok Bok: The whole of the forthcoming EP as well as "Melba's Call" is in my mind set in this space - you can hear the drums reverberating off the raw concrete. It's a studio/living space, full of hard facts - a rigid structure with bare walls, racks full of military technology through which electronic instruments are processed. The only chaotic, non-rigid, fluctuating, organic part of the set is the micro-jungle contained inside the glass greenhouse in the centre of the room, which acts as a source of emotional fuel, like the samples in my tracks being rendered bionic through process. But not all is right because a puddle is forming underneath the console, because emotions aren't always so easy to contain.

DD: How does Kelela’s Skype-like appearance fit into this idea?

Bok Bok: If the space, particularly the studio console and its relationship to the plant enclosure, is an exploration of a masculine modality, Kelela's beaming in to deliver some real talk is the feminine counterweight to that, restoring the balance of warmth and humanity versus replicant repetition.

DD: How did you go about creating the set and how long did it take?

Bok Bok: I don't want to give away too much but Nic Hamilton created the set to my spec, and it took quite a while!

DD: What visual references were you drawing on?

Bok Bok: Mainly some found architectural images which were key to my initial concept, and the film Green Card, (1990).

DD: You’re a designer as well as a musician, and aesthetics are so central to everything you do – do all your productions evoke images and worlds like this for you?

Bok Bok: Yes definitely, I always think about what spaces each track can play out in and have a strong synaesthetic connection that makes me think vividly about forms, spaces or places when I listen to music. I also like to play with really obvious visual metaphors.

DD: Can we expect more lush visuals like this from you in the near future?

Bok Bok: Definitely, yes.

"Melba’s Call" is available to buy in the UK this week on iTunes.