Blackstate Presents “The Arsonist”

On the shores of ancient Lake Ohrid in Macedonia, an extraordinary building stands. The Hotel Drim was built in the mid-seventies, but it embodies the aspirations of the era. With its curved design, its magnificent central spiral staircase, and its broad windows and concrete terraces, it looks a little like a cruise ship, a little like an international tribunal, and a little like a spaceport. This landmark is still fully functional, and still welcoming travelers. You might call it a perfect place to stay — or, perhaps, an inspired spot to shoot a music video.

Filip Tasevski-Fitz thinks so. The artist behind the Skopje, Macedonia electronic dance project Blackstate has set the video for “The Arsonist,” the sizzling single from While the World’s on Fire, in the sinuous corridors of the old and magnificent hotel. No setting could match the feel of the song any better than this one does. The Blackstate track is sleek, propulsive, futuristic, easy to inhabit, and it marks Tasevski-Fitz as a producer who leads with his imagination and sense of play. The curves of the architecture and the rhythms of the interior design amplify the wonderful weirdness and subtle defiance of the song. It’s liberation he’s singing about: Blackstate encourages us to dance through disaster and misfortune, move to the machinery, and express ourselves to the fullest, no matter the obstacles.

“The Arsonist” demonstrates Tasevski-Fitz’s daring, and his mastery of melody within the electronic music style. The track is full of gripping synthesizer textures, tangled melodic threads, and beats that stutter, stop, switch, and mesmerize. The aggression in the production hints at Blackstate’s backstory: before dedicating himself to the dancefloor on “The Arsonist”, Tasevski-Fitz fronted a punk rock band. Though he’s moved to the disco in this song in particular, he hasn’t discarded anything he learned in the underground rock clubs. Instead, he’s woven those ideas into his sound, his stance, and his attitude.

It’s visible in his clips, too. The trip to Hotel Drim is beautiful to see, but it’s hardly trouble-free. Dancers Anastasija Danchevska and Dejan Bitrovski move like they’re trying to shake something off. The choreography by Adrijana Denchevska emphasizes erotic and physical power, and the cinematography and lighting (and the design of the Hotel) imparts a powerful otherworldly feel to the footage. It’s all tied together by director Aleksandra Kostadinovska, a Macedonian photographer with an impeccable sense of balance, color, and composition. Every single frame in the clip is a stunning shot; taken together, they’re an unforgettable sequence, captured in a one-of-a-kind location.

Follow Blackstate