Many rockers and electronic musicians like to dabble in dark magic. But true sonic sorcerers aren’t easy to find. True magicians are those unafraid of dangerous alchemy – artists willing to mix gritty guitar with machine beats, capable of matching the attitude of punk with dance grooves, ready and willing to conjure the ghosts in the machine. The wizards of GelaX are, above all else, powerful spellbinders, and their “Voodoo” is sleek, dangerous, intoxicating, and difficult to resist.
Their instruments of enchantment are primarily sonic: synthesizers, drum machines, treated voices, state-of-the-art digital recording software. But there’s a visual component to their spellcasting, too, and the dizzy, disorienting, thoroughly entertaining clip for “Voodoo” doesn’t just reinforce the hallucinatory quality of GelaX’s mesmerizing music. It amplifies it.
Credit for that particular bit of magic goes to GelaX singer, multi-instrumentalist, and video director Gelareh Keyvani, whose peculiar vision is on bold display here. Keyvani is a master of light and shadow – she knows just when to shroud a subject’s body in darkness and when to flood it with sudden illumination. She knows how to angle the camera to create maximum intrigue and how to pace cuts to unnerve and excite the viewer. Most of all, she understands the expressive power of the human face – and she and her GelaX bandmate Tareq are particularly expressive.
She’s done it all before: Keyvani was also behind the camera for the band’s thoroughly mind-scrambling winter 2020 clip for “Mr. Square.” Just like “Mr. Square,” “Voodoo” is a song that pays no attention whatsoever to genre restrictions or boundaries, and Keyvani has once again matched its shape-shifting music to restless images that make the musicians’ creative defiance manifest. Some of the footage is sped up to create a feeling of acceleration and confinement, as Gelareh and Tareq are captured in a box too small to inhabit comfortably. They appear and disappear; they’re twisted and folded, but they remain unbroken. Gelareh’s head is shown on a bed of lettuce – and if that isn’t destabilizing enough, she manipulates the image, so it appears to bend and melt like wax. Most bewitching of all are the sequences where Gelereh and Tareq switch places in the gloom so quickly and seamlessly that you’ll lose track of which is which. That’s intentional. They’re single expressions of the same defiant idea – two dark conjurers, sending the Toronto underground into an enchanted delirium.