Shot on empty streets and New York beaches, the video for the final track off the instrumental EP from Moon Kissed’s Khaya Cohen “encapsulates the fast-paced nature of a spinning mind trying to tire itself out”
Given the amount of music released, shows played and immersive experiences created by BK trio Moon Kissed, it’s hard to imagine that the band members would have much time for anything else. But apparently the artists have more creativity than they know what to do with—so much so that frontwoman Khaya Cohen had to start a solo project just so she had a place to put it all.
Originally created as a container for leftover songs, this project soon grew into what Khaya describes as “an essential space for experimentation and catharsis… a glimpse into [her] diary.” These diary entries have since combined to form Unanswerables Vol. I. An instrumental EP written in the wake of a breakup in fall of 2020, it consists of six songs that blend into one another, collectively asking the question How do we exist without wanting from one another? and exploring what she describes as “the passing of hurt, trauma and attachment styles from person to person and the ways they inevitably show up in every human relationship.”
At a Moon Kissed show, Khaya’s primary instrument is her voice, so it’s interesting to note that Unanswerables Vol. 1 is aside from the occasional indistinguishable voice and blurry background chatter, without lyrics, offering Khaya the opportunity to show off a different side—and a different vibe. If a Moon Kissed show is the main event—where people go not just to be seen in the scene sense but in the truly being seen sense— Unanswerables feels like an after party. Where in a dark warehouse or sweaty basement, people might come out not to stand out but to be an anonymous face in a crowd that’s feeling and moving as one. And while these songs offer guidance in terms of one’s natural response to sound—different themes are channeled, moods created and emotions evoked by specific structures and musical cues—because there are no lyrics, audiences are able to create their own story and project their own meaning. (Or more ideally, particularly in the aforementioned late-night underground setting, opt out of any analysis whatsoever.)
To the same effect, the lack of lyrics means the opportunities for visual interpretation are effectively endless, leaving filmmaker Peter McCain with countless creative avenues to explore as he partnered with Khaya to bring the EP’s sixth and final track to life.
Without further ado, from Baby_K and Peter McCain, this is the music video for “Another?”
baby_k — Another? from Peter McCain on Vimeo.
For this video, Peter drew inspiration from both a storybook and a board game: Eric Carle’s Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me and Clue. While a kaleidoscope of neon lights sets an initially serene scene, the camera soon cuts to the scene of a crime, showing Khaya’s limp body splayed on the pavement followed by quick shots of newspaper headlines reporting a slain and disfigured girl. The bulk of the video focuses on what comes next—or, more likely, what came before—and features a jerky/blurry/psychedelic/chaotic/captivating foot chase through the dark streets and empty beaches of NYC as Khaya, clutching the glowing orb that represents her moon, is pursued on foot by maniacal-looking Clue characters (including one played by Moon Kissed synth star Emily Sgouros) before ultimately, while still clutching her moon, meeting her demise in the ocean.
Given this interesting range of influences, it’s not surprising that Peter McCain, who shot, directed and edited the video, has a resume that includes not just music-video production but environmental design, Broadway and experimental theater advertising and publishing (specifically of BATSHIT TIMES magazine, a platform that “explores societal collapse through experimental art and emerging practices like biotechnology, generative art, and counterforensics”). And on the execution note, film nerds might find it interesting that Peter used cheap baby cameras from Chinese eBay that moo and quack when you press the shutter. Along with adding a funky farm vibe via on-set sound effect, the cameras’ low-resolution and digital artifacting allowed the filmmakers to play with shaking the camera, allowing them to produce the unique visual effects that you see throughout the video.
With that, I invite you to check out the vid above as well as all of Unanswerables Vol. 1, the most recent Baby_K EP Birthday and, of course, the newest Moon Kissed album I’d Like to Tell You Something Important. Plus whatever else Khaya has whipped up since I started writing this post. I have no doubt there’s (always) more music coming soon.
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