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M.E.S.H.’s New Video Is a Descent Into an Unsettling Underworld

The creepy journey in the clip for “Search. Reveal.” is a perfect accompaniment for the ungainly movement of Jamie Whipple’s music.

Colin Joyce

Even at its most abstract, the music that Jamie Whipple makes as M.E.S.H. suggests movement. Over the last half decade that he’s been working on the moniker, he’s immersed himself in herky rhythms and busted-up takes on electronic music tropes—often loping along in an ungainly gait, but moving nevertheless.

His twitchy debut LP Piteous Gate came out in 2015 around the peak of a mainstream fascination with a group of producers who gnawed at the conventions of club music and presented something a little stickier and malformed. Last year’s Damaged Merc was a collection of four absurdist dance tracks made in “gratitude for all the amazing dance music other people have made” over the last few years—but even its motions were deliberately unwieldy. He proudly announced in an interview that “Kritikal Thirst” had “one of the dumbest basslines ever.”

The second M.E.S.H. album, Hesaitix, came out last month, further stretching the project’s connections to dance music. There are extended passages of dreary drones, drums are few and far between. It’s not quite an ambient record, but its a more subtle, slowed-down effort from Whipple. And still, you can sense the motion it prescribes. Tracks like the opener “Nemorum Incola” punctuate the stillness with synthetic swoons, whirling like a music box ballerina that’s slowly losing momentum. More percussive numbers like “Signal Ride Drum” gallop ominously, like mech-gazelles running awkwardly through open fields.

In all of this, he never really sits still, which is what makes the video for “Search. Reveal.,” debuting here, so fitting. There’s no flailing figures on a dancefloor but the Michael Guidetti-directed clip features its own unsettling movement. Starting with a drone-shot of an alien-landscape, the clip’s a constantly moving descent into an glitchy underworld of intersecting pipes. It moves at a strange pace, flying by and creeping along in unison with the cardiac arrhythmia pulse of its off-kilter snare and wheezy instrumental. The track offers an inhuman rhythm, so the video responds in kind, bleak, beautiful, and devoid of life altogether.

Whipple, for his part, describes it as “an abstract narrative from geostationary orbit to the archaic tunnels, into the final chamber.” And if that vagueness causes you to feel some amount of foreboding, well, you should.

Watch the clip for “Search. Reveal.” here and check out some of Whipple’s upcoming tour dates below. Hasaitix is also finally available on vinyl, which you can find over at the site of the esteemed experimental label PAN.

M.E.S.H tour dates:
December 14 - Seattle, WA - Kremwerk
December 16 - Portland, OR - Liquor Store
December 22 - Tuscon, AZ - Monsoon Collective
December 23 - Phoenix, AZ - Threshold
December 29 - Mexico City, MX - Ensamble