Last fall, Julia Holter released Aviary, a lush and riotous album that took its name from a quote from writer Etel Adnan: “I found myself in an aviary full of shrieking birds.” It was her fifth record, and throughout it, we found Holter taking us on a near-anthropological sonic expedition, as she explored “how one responds to that feeling as a person – how one behaves, how one looks for love, for solace.”
Today, Holter has released a music video for “Les Jeux To You,” the album’s twelfth track. The trippy, obscure black-and-white short film of sorts is a fitting partner to the song, with its more melancholy subject matter manifesting visually as a scene of commotion among lovers. It arrives just in time for Valentine’s Day, when love is, for the most part, in the air – but for many, the holiday triggers uneasiness, forcing us to reckon with the various versions of love we’ve come to know: all of the challenges, chains, and chaos. Holter herself holds a forgiving definition, saying that “it’s about a seeking for compassion and humility in a world where it feels like empathy is always being tested.”
The visual is directed by Geneva Jacuzzi. About the video, Jacuzzi said:
After I heard ‘Les Jeux to You’, images from Fando Y Lis, a film that has always haunted me, flooded my mind and I knew we had to reimagine it. Set in a dystopian future past, the two lovers escape to a mythical city and along the way are confronted with both terrifying figures of the unconscious and joyful memories of the past that accelerate a descent into madness. As a female artist, I felt the need to explore the anima of this myth and reinscribe the imagery as a mode of empowerment of the feminine directorial gaze.
I knew it would be a challenge because it is a controversial film, but it was particularly unsettling to read the recent allegations against its director Alejandro Jodorowsky shortly after we made the video. It made me think more about the project and ultimately reinforced my original intention of reframing the work as a complex and nuanced take on the psychology of self-destructive relationships.
There is a mysterious essence to this story, a sort of psycho-spiritual unravelling that I connect to the surrealist poetry of Julia’s lyrics and music.
Watch the video for “Les Jeux To You” above. Holter is embarking on a North American tour with the 6-piece Aviary band. Catch the show at one of the dates below.
02/19 – Washington, DC @ U Street Music Hall *
02/20 – Philadelphia, PA @ Underground Arts *
02/22 – New York, NY @ Warsaw *
02/23 – Boston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall *
02/24 – Montreal, QC @ La Sala Rossa *
02/26 – Toronto, CDN @ The Great Hall *
02/27 – Detroit, MI @ El Club *
02/28 – Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall *
03/01 – St. Paul, MN @ Turf Club *
03/04 – Vancouver, CDN @ Imperial ^
03/05 – Portland, OR @ Doug Fir ^
03/06 – Seattle, WA @ Neumos ^
03/08 – San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall ^
03/09 – Los Angeles, CA @ Lodge Room ^
03/10 – San Diego, CA @ The Loft, San Diego State University ^
* Support from Jessica Moss
^ Support from Tess Roby