Operating in the same dark and subversive corners where Fever Ray, Jenny Hval or Bjork may find solace, ‘Flesh it Out’ is a track that arrives shrouded in a mystique all its own, with a strident confidence to defy conventions.
Written while gazing into the flickering flames of an open fire in her current base of Nashville, Proteins of Magic found herself caught in the daze of a flashback in which she had seen a young couple openly having sex during the day on the beach in Aotearoa / New Zealand. As Kelly Steven AKA Proteins of Magic remembers: “The hope and the idealism, the youthful sheen on their skin, being unaware of what life lies ahead for them. That is what triggered the start of the lyrical process. I think the song lays out an emotionally treacherous life for them, a day in the life spanning 10 years and 2min52 seconds.”
Surrounding surrealistic lyrics with hex-like incantations, tribal rhythms, sinister synthesiser trills, and haunting woodwind sections, PoM creates an unsettling ambience and intimidating presence to send shivers. “If I give you a smile will you resuscitate me?” she coos through gritted teeth. Building to a hypnotic climax, ‘Flesh It Out’ couples brooding instrumentals with a litany of foreboding vocal textures, each representing a disjointed voice of differing lost souls. Foreshadowing a bleak future, these spectres emerge to erode the wide eyed innocence of youth and replace it with existential questions and hollow false promises.
As its title may suggest, ‘Flesh It Out’ was born from within a jam to evoke a spirit that is discernibly raw and immediate, before being layered and moulded repeatedly to find its current recorded form. The finished song spawns, regenerates and severs over its three-minute course, summoning a sense of self determination out of the chaos.
Directed by Ranger Garrett, ‘Flesh It Out’ arrives with an art-house style official video intended to capture a ‘day in the life’ in Nashville. Showing another side of the fluorescent glitz and glamour of the music city, it was shot around various alternative landmarks using a vintage Sony PMW-F3 and Sony Handycam DCR-SX45, including footage of the Dragon Park that was featured in Harmony Korine’s Gummo.
“I liked the idea of it being lo-fi and raw, and I wanted the filming to be like the recording process,” says Kelly of the video. “Less formulated. The cameras were actually literally held together with tape and things were falling apart. I wanted it to be a ‘day in the life’ in Nashville, in a manic, irregular, fractured way.”