Wednesday, November 22

‘Her’ Is An Electronic Project About Femininity In 2016

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Madame Gandhi wants you to appoint her.

Summery synth meets the social circumstance of femininity in Madame Gandhi’s “Her,” a new music video released first on The FADER. Gandhi worked with other female artists, coproducer and sound engineer Alex Riner, and art director and graphic designer Wendy Figueroa, to bring this project to life.

In this music video, she says “We take over the TV and soundwaves of an alternate universe in which we implore the members of that society to put aside their prejudice and appoint the right person to lead them this year.”

It’s a deeply political concept, one that is rooted in Gandhi’s feminist activism, as well as the political election and atmosphere of the current time in this country. Not to say, of course, that its political foundation makes the video lose any artistic quality.

Gandhi is a vastly talented drummer, and has come a long way from being known as M.I.A.’s former drummer. The beats she creates, the control of the song through the drumming, is really what makes the entire song different from other electronic songs.

Gandhi’s vocals, occasionally sung softly but not melodically, are more like a conversation. The lyrics are about an unnamed subject, about “her.” They are a repetition of the same few lines: “If you feel it in the air then appoint her / If you want me to obey then I’ll join her / Leaving it to them, that disappoints her / We are living in a world that will spoil her.”

Perhaps it isn’t too obvious what the subject is. But once the political nature of the project is uncovered, there’s less nuance to the meaning of the lyrics. There is a strong sense of “her” throughout this, a reverberating femininity that is strong and authoritative. Gandhi on the drums, Riner creating sounds.

The video itself is a kaleidoscopic experience of black and white illustrated patterns interposed with visuals of Gandhi on drums. Riner is sporting chunky headphones and moving, entranced, to the music she’s also creating. Then it’s back to Gandhi singing against a background of yellow and pink visuals.

The video isn’t overtly anything: not overtly political, not overtly didactic, or feminine, or raunchy. It doesn’t even indulge in the Joan Jett brand of punk rock anger that strong feminist music is saturated with or even expected to be. But it is really good music.

It has a simple enough message that bears a repetition of one verse.

That’s it, that’s the whole idea. In those 4 lines that end in the same word like in a ghazal. This is why it’s so enjoyable — it is still able to be so much and have significance in the current political climate, but is subtle enough to be an art project above all else.

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