Words: James Frostick
Sydney musician Annabel Blackman steps into the limelight under her bedroom pop moniker Solo Career with a new video clip tucked under her arm. The companion visuals to her lushly languid and ethereal track ‘Feelings’ – crafted by contemporary artist Matthew Griffin – perfectly match the purposeful spiritlessness of the song, which is lathered in despondence resulting from one-sided emotional giving.
Last October, top-notch Sydney-based label Dinosaur City Records dropped the latest in its phenomenal mixtape series – the fourth such compilation to come from the buzzy distributor since its inception. While the mixtape features offerings from established groups like No Sister, Babey and Premium Fantasy, the collection also harbours a treasure trove of tracks from newly emerging artists and musicians dabbling under solo guises. One such artist is Annabel Blackman, who’d be familiar to many as one of the creative forces behind incendiary four-piece Body Type. Annabel has been writing and recording under the pseudonym Solo Career for a little while now, and has managed to carve a comfy niche in the scene with her heady and mood-soaked creations – the kind of soundscapes that are largely the product of nocturnal musings and solitary introspection.
‘Feelings’ is the name of Solo Career’s mixtape contribution, a slow-burn number that gently washes over the senses, all-encompassing but never suffocating. Icy synth progressions, nimble bass notes and lightly warped loops form the foundation, while Annabel’s own vocals are affected and placed in the thick of the mix. The track finds Annabel exhibiting a tenderness to the listener, not so much bleeding-heart earnestness and more a slightly flushed declaration of vulnerability. From what I gather, the song is a pining plea for acknowledgement and reciprocation of feelings or intent, where a simple text message reply is all the soothing balm one needs to remedy bruised egos and deceptively fragile facades. It’s about the unrequited giving, the monotony of waiting, the wasting of breath, and the infuriating one-sidedness of affection.
The accompanying visuals have been put together by artist Matthew Griffin, who has secured tutorial footage of medical dummy assembly and usage. It’s a strangely hypnotising progression of images – a body is put together, tubes are inserted, fluid is pumped. Matthew adds a few animated flourishes, giving signs of life to the dummy as the instructor pieces it together. We see the instructor fiddling with an apparatus labelled ‘Feelings’ as they attach more tubes. Is the pumping of fluid into the lifeless mannequin akin to the futile attempt to evoke emotion from an inanimate object? I’m probably reading too much into it, but the song induces contemplation – it’s the perfect soundtrack for letting my mind wander.