It would be hard to miss the dreaming surreality of a band like Mice On Stilts, a point which was driven home beautifully on their recent release Khandallah. An atmospheric slice of doom folk from the New Zealand six piece, the track evokes a beautiful melancholy and has all the ambience of a film score. A film score it became as the track has now been realised in accompaniment with a poignant music video.
Travelling through majestic, snow kissed New Zealand landscapes, Mice On Stilts warm us with the gorgeous transcendence of Khandallah
Much like the track, the video for Khandallah explores vast scenery and thought provoking imagery. To listen to, the song paints epic soundscapes that stretch between the instrumentation and the lyrical content. In turn, the clip captures the epic New Zealand landscape; cinematic and elemental.
Khandallah takes its title from the Wellington suburb of the same name, which itself was taken from the ancient Indian town Khandela. The meaning of ‘Khandallah’ is ‘the resting place of God’, an idea that struck a chord with the band’s vocalist and writer Ben Morley. Inspired by the sort of peace that the name suggests, the song was written around the theme of a place in which two or more people could exist in peace, free from anxiety or expectation.
As the footage throughout the video travels between changing scenery, there is a sense of exploration and of searching – perhaps for that peaceful place. From wild mountainsides, to rivers and snow edged lakes, the clip follows a lone female figure (model Chantelle Taylor) through sun and snow. Mirroring the peculiar emotion of Khandallah, this girl is somewhere between hopeful and melancholy; her presence hints at a narrative that fits with the film noir feel that Mice On Stilts create.
Directed by Alex Hoyles, photographer and cinematographer, the clip draws between the painted images and the earthbound reality of the artist. Underlying all the natural beauty is live footage of the band performing, weaving in an out forming a double exposure. Ghostly black and white silhouettes that haunt the background, Mice On Stilts are inescapable as the architects of this dream.
The visual Khandallah is a mesmerising realisation of how the song itself sweeps you up into Mice On Stilts’ world. Showing your eyes the same misty, swirling ambience that fogs up your brain, listening to the track brings to life the epic, cinematic soundscapes. it portrays After listening to Khandallah, I theorised that with a little more dream time, I could find the right description for Mice On Stilts. Unfortunately, I haven’t had enough sleep recently so I’m still working on it.
The long awaited debut album from Mice On Stilts, Hope For A Mourning, is also now available through Aeroplane Music Services.