Tori Sparks, known for always seeking own artistic path, released a new music video for her single recorded in quarantine: a highly personal version of David Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold the World.” The video was premiered today in a special first look by rock magazine Mondo Sonoro.
The video, directed by Sparks herself, is unlike any video she’s made for her previous seven albums: it’s a mini-movie constructed like a Russian doll, with worlds within worlds, screens within screens, and a semi-apocalyptic ending that will stick with you. The project mixes video with illustration and animation, thanks to talented visual artist Oscar Perales of OYEME! Studio.
It plays with the concept of duality, with the feeling of being fractured that is all too prevalent these days. With everything that is going on in the world, it feels like we’re living in an Orwellian universe — 1984 in 2020. The video is a social commentary: on our slavery to technology; on the paranoia generated by our constant need to be plugged in and turned on; on the cage we construct around ourselves when we buy into a twisted system.
Using a song from the year 1970 as a vehicle to comment on modern society, Sparks has purposely utilized images of technology from that same era to illustrate the simultaneous timelessness and timeliness of these ideas.
Click above to watch “The Man Who Sold the World”
Part of the reason for launching a complex and ambitious project during a momento of global crisis was to underline the importance of creativity and of community in these difficult times. Tori wanted to involve and promote the people she works with, at a time when many professionals in the world of culture — and in the city in general — are struggling to keep afloat.
For that reason, she chose to record the video in an iconic Barcelona setting — The Cotton House Hotel in the neighborhood of Eixample — and counted on the creative contribution of many of the incredible professionals with whom she has collaborated in recent years, such as fashion designer Philissa Williams of Thembe Fashions, who created the dress that “grows” to have a 10-meter train. OYEME! Studio is the same production company that shot the video of Tori Sparks and her band for the bonus track “Wade in the Water” from her album La Huerta in 2017. The sound was mixed by Andrés Giraldo from Panaba Studio, who worked with Tori on her live album, Wait No More.
The song itself was recorded in the middle of quarantine, and the musicians — Javi García, Ramon Vagué, Francisco Guisado “El Rubio” and Ignasi Cama — were filmed by Tori with her mobile phone in their own homes when the city was still in Phase 1 of the lockdown.
In keeping with the idea that all the components of the video needed to be tied into the local community, the “making-of” online event for the music video that Sparks presented on October 4th was a vehicle to raise money for the Banc dels Aliments de Barcelona, contributing towards the local food bank’s fight against hunger exacerbated by the COVID crisis.
Vindicating creativity in a time of crisis, using technology to comment on the danger of technology itself, struggling to bring something different to the world of music — this is a timely and visually stunning project that sharply reflects the moment that we are living in.
Watch the “making-of” of the music video “The Man Who Sold the World” here.