Every dreamer knows that daylight is far more disorienting than the dark. When the light gets too bright, everything becomes defamiliarized. Should you wake to a day drenched in sun, weird and wondrous, you might think you were still caught in a reverie. Electronic producer Maffmatix knows all about the psychedelic qualities of copious light. He relocated from Los Angeles to a place that’s even more fiercely illuminated than Southern California: Bangkok. The Thai capital is the setting of “Wake Up,” the clip for his hypnotic deep house single. Light falls relentlessly on the protagonist and his partner alike, but no matter how crisp and clear the street scenes are, it never quite seems like they’re fully awake.
Even without the video, “Wake Up” is the kind of track that can generate some seriously altered states. It’s an example of the type of sonic alchemy that has made Maffmatix an indispensable figure in electronic music – not merely in Bangkok (although his hometown fanbase is a passionate one), but everywhere house and trance are appreciated. Though “Wake Up” is immensely danceable, it’s also a song that encourages the listener to slip on headphones and lose herself in fantasy. The bass is deep, slippery, intoxicating, the synthesizers pulse, blur, and shift, the beats are propulsive, the melody is irresistible, and the vocal sample is intoxicating in its otherworldliness.
That voice belongs to singer-songwriter Atiya, whose distinctive combination of Southeast Asian meter, North American jazz, international synthpop, and electronic experimentation is on glittering display here. “Wake Up” was originally a straightforward pop song that Atiya posted to the Internet; Maffmatix took the track, exposed it to light and shadow, twisted it and shaped it, and transformed it into the mesmerizing single we’re sharing today. He discovered a gateway to a strange alternate dimension hidden between Atiya’s verses, shimmied it open, and let the haunted spirits pour through.
The two central figures in the “Wake Up” clip are chased by ghosts: shades from the unconscious, specters from the past and present, and the chill of insecurities that rattle even the best relationships. The main character of the video is a young man pursuing the embodiment of his desires: a woman who floats on the Bangkok clouds, and traces of whom are visible all over the city. But whenever it looks like they’re about to establish a real-world connection, he wakes up, wide-eyed and alarmed, back in his bed. Is this an expression of frustration, or is it wish fulfillment? Does he want the chase without the consequences? And what about the woman – doesn’t she have desires, too? By the end of the video, you’ll know for sure.