Music

Synthpop Duo Small Million Blend Two Tracks Into One Captivating Video (premiere)

Photo: Kale Chesney

Portland's Small Million offer up two new synthpop tracks, "Bullets in the Bower" and "Outro" from their upcoming EP, Young Fools.

Portland's Small Million are at it again with the forthcoming Young Fools, an EP comprised of twilit melodies and passionate, layered lyrics and vocals. The synthpop duo's sound is innovative and darkly captivating, capable of pulling audiences in with pop-accessible hooks only to keep them around for the scintillating stories and sounds that come with them. Richly emotive and produced, Ryan Linder and Malachi Graham's latest Small Million venture is set to release on 12 October.

"Bullets in the Bower" and "Outro (Cathedral)" are the two tracks that comprise the end of Young Fools. The finesse with which the two separate arrangements are so seamlessly blended is impressive in itself, let alone within the interpretive story Small Million tells in the midst of it all. Washed by ethereal yellow lighting, song and dance come together in this nebulous audiovisual journey to explore the profundity of impassioned lyrics meshed with an interpretative presentation.

On the lyrics, Graham says, "the song 'Bullets in the Bower' was inspired by a lot of different tangled imagery— I was listening to a lot of traditional English ballads, specifically the Child Ballads, and steeping in those stories and characters. The word 'bower' shows up a lot in those songs, and it has two meanings— it means both a lady's private enclave in a medieval castle and a shelter made with tree boughs or vines twined together, like a nest. To me, the bower represents the safety and privacy of feminine spaces and the natural world, and this song is about unnatural violence crashing in and disrupting that safe space."

On directing and editing his music video, Linder tells PopMatters, "I studied film production in college and worked full time as an editor post-graduation for a number of years. I also directed and edited music videos whenever the opportunity arose, but this was the first time I was able to fully realize and carry out a creative vision for a musical project I was involved in. The concept for this video revolved around creating a specific mood through the interplay of camera movement, choreography, and practical visual effects. Once we decided that dance would be a key element, we both immediately thought of Uriah Boyd. We saw her perform at Holocene under her moniker One Blackbird, where she danced in a nest she had woven herself out of branches. The performance literally moved me to tears, and we both really wanted her to be involved in this video."

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