Friday, 4 April 2014

PV Analysis: Sibilebashir - "Nounai Black Doll"

(From left to right: Yuto, Izumi, Marya and Rei)

Sibilebashir was formed in 2012, featuring Izumi on vocals, Marya on guitar, Yuto on bass and Rei on drums. The video for 'Nounai Black Doll' incorporates some elements seen in other Visual Kei offerings, but also pushes the envelope considerably as it challenges the viewer. The band's sense of the grotesque melds with their unique sound to create an indelible assortment of graphics presented at a breakneck pace. With the help of my pause button and screen caps, I've pieced together a narrative from the clip without the aid of lyrics.

As the song starts with sounds that bring a circus or carnival to mind, the PV opens with shots featuring a light fixture, a close-up of a jar of what appear to be pills, and a fashion doll that’s stripped and charred. The band is shown playing in what appears to be an abandoned warehouse or factory, from the stacks of building materials in view it could be a site under construction. An industrial tone is present in the setting, to be sure.

Dressed in military uniform-style jackets complete with medals, the band is seen playing in a loading dock or storage area perhaps, and Izumi’s uniform also includes a white skirt. He’s wearing false eyelashes that resemble green tinsel, giving the light-hued contacts another level of creepy. His lips bear an asymmetrical yet Joker-like grin painted in a deep purple and he wears plain white gloves, granting him a demented yet doll-like appearance. We’re shown glimpses of scenes to come, as he’s seen seated on a couch with a maniacal leer, in the nude on the floor and with his face stained by a green substance.

The nude images show him holding up the doll seen near the start, and there’s a shot of Izumi against a door at the edge of this red room. The surrounding is painted white at the wall where he sits, and we see him clutching himself tightly, possibly for warmth or comfort. When the lyrics start around the 1 minute mark, there’s a vomitous quality to his delivery, as though he’s retching out the words. Cutting from his seating position on the couch to singing among the band, he clutches his head as though racked with mental anguish. We see his face smeared with green again as he’s naked on the floor, and it looks like he’s eating the slimy concoction.

Close to the 2 minute mark we see the bottle from the opening, clearly some sort of tablets or pills. Yuto is seen taking a drink of water from a bottle, in an all white area, starkly contrasting the industrial darkness of the performance setting. An array of building blocks are being arranged on a grimy floor, and then we cut back to Izumi in the nude. This time he’s facing the door, and he appears to be holding his genitals as though perhaps urinating on the door. This notion is disproven in short order. The multicolored aspect of this area seem to place him at the edge of reason, as though he’s moving beyond to the all-white void past the scarlet edge of the room.

The building blocks are seen further, being arranged by Marya with his guitar nearby. As there’s an array of oddball behaviour on display here, this appears relatively harmless. However, if the clip is taken as exploration of the mental state of the members perhaps the arranging of the blocks indicates some obsessive-compulsive need on Marya’s part, or a tendency to indulge in regressive hobbies. Taking this further, Yuto’s handling of the pills could be indicative of addictive tendencies, or perhaps an urge to overdose or ‘escape’.

A bowl of green slime worthy of You Can’t Do That on Television is seen, with fruit or fish slices in the mix. It’s hard to discern, as the next we see of the bowl it’s well mixed and the portions aren’t clearly visibile. Izumi is seen naked again eating the dish with his hands, and again near the door, clutching himself tightly once more. He holds up the burnt doll once again, and Marya is seen stacking the blocks in formation. Passing the third minute of the clip, it appears that Yuto has taken some quantity of the pills.

Izumi’s previous naked actions start to become clearer, as we see his left palm bearing a pearlescent liquid substance. While I’d like to think this is lotion of some description, I don’t see any packaging that conveys a source for this substance beyond Izumi himself. He holds the doll in his right hand, with his left hand still holding the ejaculate, followed by a shot of him gnawing his hand in the nude. A depiction of someone shirtless and possibly restrained shows a hand fondling the nipples on this bare-chested figure; I presume one of these figures to be Rei although it’s not clear.

The doll is seen again, this time held up by Izumi’s ‘stained’ hand, and the blocks are shown again alongside Marya’s guitar. We see pills taken from the bottle by Yuto, and Rei appears bleeding slightly from the mouth, seated in a throne-like chair, with a chain hung across the room against his neck. Izumi is seen again with the slimy bowl, this time smearing his face with the sickly meal. Yuto appears to be lying down on the couch after his medication is taken to excess, and Marya is seen arranging the blocks and demolishing the construction with his guitar.

As in the first minute of the clip, the carnival-style music starts up again, and we’re shown a black and white shot of what appears to be pocket change scattered on a puddle of black oil. Yuto again appears lying down, and there’s a shot of a cage or fencing. Rei is seen again on his throne with his mouth injury, and the chair is seen empty as though he’s disappeared. If we take his depiction as indicating a mental state or fancy, perhaps he’s a sadomasochistic switch - the sadist position indicated by the seat of power, and the masochism rendered by the blood from his mouth and chain against his neck.

If there was any confusion regarding Izumi’s interaction with the burnt doll, it’s cleared up by the end of the clip, amidst the circus-like tone to the soundtrack. The toy figure is seen amidst an array of wadded-up tissues, and it’s been smeared with the jism from Izumi’s left hand. Izumi is seen lying naked, with what appears to be the doll held against his penis, writhing with pleasure. He’s seen again clutching himself tightly, and the doll seems to be discarded on the floor next to him as the clip fades to black. Going by his makeup, hair and vulgar action, Izumi clearly has some type of doll fetish focused on the object itself as opposed to the 'dollification' of a partner.

Without the lyrics for further insight I may be reading some of the imagery here wrongly, but the array of behaviour on display here seems fairly obvious on close inspection. The slimy meal could be indicative of a wet-and-messy fetish on display, but as it’s not present during the self-gratification itself I don’t think so. The fluid-smearing on the doll would indicate a degree of salirophilia, however. The track is a wild whirlwind with a sinister tone, accompanied here by suitably dark and well-shot imagery, edited with cuts too quick to easily register to the casual viewer. Only time will tell if Sibilebashir pushes the envelope further in their subsequent works, although I'd wager they will based on their output to date.

By Josh Campbell

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