Dripping with vividly-acidic synthetic analog textures that wash in and out of shot footage, the new music video for Maryland, USA artist Maxmillon Dunbar is a dreamy reverie of light and image. It’s a bath in color, swept up in the warm glow of the single “Loving the Drift.”

Brooklyn-based, DC-born artist Aurora Halal is the director. I caught a terrific live set by her earlier this winter as part of her tour with DC’s virtuoso ITAL (see video below), so I can attest that she’s as at home in performance as in the studio. The video here has that live performance feel, a loose, improvisatory rhythm that belies the amount of layering and editing going on. But make no mistake: Aurora tells CDM that she heavily edited the results in Final Cut. The result is a true digital/analog hybrid, combining the LZX Industries analog synthesizer with high-def footage of the dancers and digital editing. (Michael Potvin collaborated with her to produce the video synth content; it’s well worth checking out the fine hardware from Texan/Australian maker LZX, who do analog video modules in Eurorack form.)

The process is worth the effort, in my mind. The dancers, Angela Chambers & Angelina Dreem, are visible only in fleeting moments, as though their movement and the sweep of abstract textures are indistinguishable. That’s a welcome change from the sometimes-blunt impact of choreography in many videos. (See also Juno’s write-up.)

Aurora’s other work follows similar threads, in a simmering stew of layered media.

Brooklyn-based filmmaker and visualist Aurora Halal mixes a range of digital and analog techniques in live shows, music videos, and av collabs. Photo courtesy the artist.

Brooklyn-based filmmaker and visualist Aurora Halal mixes a range of digital and analog techniques in live shows, music videos, and av collabs. Photo courtesy the artist.

For ITAL’s “Boi,” she produced a frenetic combination of textures. Visuals are piled on top of one another in maximalist exploitation of the color spectrum, mirroring ITAL’s dynamically-saturated sound.

Ital – Boi (Planet Mu) from Planet Mu on Vimeo.

In an interview for Dazed, Aurora described her process on the ITAL video (and her philosophy in general):

My videos are dream sequences mostly.. either a sexualized fantasy like ‘big coast’, a half dream like ‘shadow disco’, or in this case a psychedelic trip, the images u see burned in ur mind after a weekend of music & perhaps a somewhat dark encounter w a lover..
I reach for whatever mediums help me create that subjective trip feeling. I love my analog setup (video mixers & other hardware) because it’s so chaotic & fluid, creating unexpected almost subconscious flows of video that I can later edit & recombine w more care. The digital / analog path is going back & forth many times. There’s HD, VHS, samples from YouTube & tons of reprocessing going in all directions.


Her video for Protect-U’s “U-Uno” is lovely, too; it seems like the sort of trip you’d have if you could lick hallucinogenic VHS tape. I’m generally a little wary of the endlessly-nostalgic retro popularity in this music scene – my own personal bias or fears – but Aurora’s latest work feels spontaneous and free.

PROTECT-U “U-UNO” from Aurora Halal on Vimeo.

From: www.igetrvng.com / find the single

Aurora’s site:

While we’re at it, let’s enjoy some more Maxmillon Dunbar in this live set:

  • http://www.facebook.com/ted.pallas TJ Pallas

    “plunderdelics” – beautiful work, but it’d be rad to credit those youtube links somewhere outside of an interview, too…

    • itsallhalal

      @facebook-10901434:disqus thx for the comment. yes this is something ive definitely thought about! I began as a video editor, so when i started making videos i was using samples from VHS tapes and DVDs, and manipulating them into new forms like in the Protect-U video here. It was stimulating for me but I knew that what i really wanted to do was direct from scratch. Since then I use all original footage & animations, like in the top two videos posted here. Those are 100% me with a camera or other techniques… except in my video for Ital – Boi, I used a short snippet from Beyonce’s Baby Boy video, which the Ital song also samples, so i think it makes sense… haha. :)