Wednesday, 23 April 2014

PV Analysis: DEZERT - "Himitsu"

Initially formed as Acid Cherry King in 2011, the Visual Kei band known as DEZERT released their first single in August of 2012. Comprised of Chiaki on vocals, Kira on guitar, SaZ on bass and Sora on drums, the band has released 6 singles to date. The PV for their first single, 'Himitsu' is a dark spectacle of mysterious imagery to accompany a frenetic electro-tinged rock piece.

As the PV opens a figure appears to be shuffling while lit in a red hue. In slowing down the clip, this appears to be stop motion animated using a live actor. The music starts with a strong electro vibe, and we see a brief shot of a shirtless, possibly nude individual seated on a floor, knees to chest, behind a series of bars. Chiaki holds his hands in his face as the lyrics start and we see the band playing.

They're in some sort of abandoned warehouse, performing furiously near a massive puddle. There's another shot of a red-lit figure who looks like they're wearing a white slip; the lighting here makes the actual color of the garment difficult to distinguish. I think this may be Kira in different clothing than the performance area, but I can't tell for sure. The initial lyrics mention a 'voice of a 'SILENCE' is in the bathroom / This voice is looping in the head,' perhaps indicating the solitary red-lit figure is hallucinating voices that aren't actually speaking.

We see Kira leaning against a grimy wall, followed by a red-lit shot of an empty wheelchair. For the most part the shots that aren't of the band in full are so dark that making out what's depicted is a struggle, even with the aid of screencaps. There's a shot of a refrigerator opened, and it seems to be filled with Tupperware containers. The first verse mentions 'an empty 'DISH' in the refrigerator. The taste was a rarity.' I can't make out the empty dish alluded to there, but the next verse says 'But I became vain stares at refrigerators / habit of tatami crazy is too late'. I surmise that the act of reflecting on what food is in the house is considered so self-reflective as to be an act of vanity, and furthering a course of self-destruction through navel-gazing.

Sora is seen eating an apple, pulled from the fridge in the previous shot as it's opened for all to see the contents. He's against the same wall as Kira was seen before, then we cut back to shots of the band again. We get a clearer shot of the puddle where the band is playing and SaZ appears to strike the water furiously in slow-motion to violent effect. There is another shot of the wheelchair lit in red, this time depicted from behind - it may be Chiaki in the chair, but the scene is too dark and ill-framed for me to figure out for sure.

A greenish tinge is apparent in another shot of the fridge, this time seen from the side as someone wearing glasses grabs a drink from it this time. We see blood on the wall across from the fridge, possibly evidence of brutality in this kitchen? This is one of the longer shots in the whole video, and that we don't see the interior of the fridge seems conspicuous for how much time is spent here. We see a shot of Chiaki covering his eyes with bloodied hands, a fairly clear depiction of the repeated verse 'Is allowed to cut your wrist, its eyes fell on this hand / The Yurase the wrist, its hand has disappeared in this eye'. The bloodied hands covering his eyes seem to show Chiaki engaged in the suicidal act mentioned here, or perhaps the lyrics are referring to butchering someone else's arm. I'm pretty sure this is Chiaki, from the color of the lipstick and the length of the hair.

Just past the 2:30 mark, things get even darker, and not from a perspective of subject matter. The lighting gives a sense of the color, but the rest of the shots are so dark that I can't make out what's being photographed. This continues with cuts back to the band until around the 2:50 mark, where we see the wheelchair once again. From the darkness comes a series of abstract shapes, eventually resembling puffs of smoke, and we see a flame erupt on the ground. It looks as though the wheelchair is burning as the fireball comes to life, and we see the band again. Perhaps the vagueness at play in the darkened shots are taking the lyric 'look at dark' from one of the verse's end to a literal interpretation.

A shot that seems to be outdoors is in black and white; the outdoors seems apparent from a tree on the left but there also seems to be a mic stand in the frame. Someone is seen, or rather their lower half is, apparently face down and possibly in a stretcher. This is lit in a paler shade of red, followed by the wet ground in a darkened shot. It would appear the person seen earlier in the wheelchair has fallen victim to some sinister fate, perhaps perpetrated by the party looking in the fridge earlier.

We hear laughing on the vocal track as we see Chiaki, lying in the puddle, seemingly in the outside street, his mouth bloodied and his eyes eerily wide open. Something drops into the frame. It seems to be an apple from the markings but falls more like an upside-down bloom, and it lands next to Chiaki's head. He smiles slowly, the shot flickers and fades from view. This final smile evokes the last line '...I will not be erased anymore already', as he seems to cling to life despite this apparent demise.

The murkiness of the lighting may be intentional to express the tone of the song, but I found it made pulling the sights to go with the sounds slightly confounding. Perhaps the scant narrative aspects presented are designed to keep focus on the sonic barrage over the shock and awe tactics sometimes found in PVs from the genre. For DEZERT's first release, the track is a forceful entry to the Visual Kei field and a strong statement of work to come.

By Josh Campbell

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