Updating a classical piece: Satie and Scratch22

I have a pretty good ear for music and particularly similarity across songs, etc. Which is almost certainly why I enjoy mashups, and why I got interested in making them a few years back (I mashed up the entire Gorillaz ‘Demon Days’ album for a project at uni). I was listening to some Erik Satie tonight and was struck by a wave of disembodied recognition: I’ve heard this song before…

But at the same time, I had actually never heard it before… instead, what I was hearing was the following track from Scratch22’s (debut?) “Distance from View”. The track has a delightfully strange video, with what seem to be themes of postcolonialism, race (a much, much more prominent issue in Scratch22’s native New Zealand than here in Australia) and, perhaps, also capitalism. The bandit-esque treadmill walker seems to allude to all sorts of apt themes about progress/capital/’onwards-and-upwards’ and finally, through the dramatic reveal of the painted skincolour underneath, race again.

I didn’t think about it this way until I noticed a commenter on the video who says, “I’d love to see the cropped shot of just the torso in front of the black. But I guess that’s the point.” I guess it’s true: the clip foregrounds the material process of music video making by laying bare all these apparatuses and ‘blacked up’ (or whited out)  stage hands. Very cool, very clever clip to go with a clever update of a classical piece.

I feel like I’ve seen the imagery here before, somewhere else, too. The bandit in white, on a black background, with a flag confected from both the union jack and the US stripes… I feel like there might be a painting or something like this that I’ve seen somewhere. Perhaps not, and the strength of the images are potent enough that I’m imagining it! They’re certainly great images. Such an interesting colour palette  and such deliberate use of contrasts. Those pants!