This past Saturday, Brooklyn producer Octo Octa performed an afternoon, pool-side DJ set at upstate New York festival Sustain-Release. Aside from the pastoral setting, above which floated smoke-filled bubbles, what made her set special was its free and easy manipulation of time: I got lost in her loops, and that felt good. Dancing, in itself, is a kind of curious suspension, centered on ever-evolving motion enacted in a single location.
In the video for Octo Octa's acid-flecked techno track "Adrift," which is taken from her March 2017 album Where Are We Going on San Francisco label Honey Soundsystem, the themes of motion and suspension also take centerstage. Made by director Ray McClure, who runs San Francisco creative agency Dreamboat, it stars the producer lying near-motionless in an alien, industrial setting. Yet as the camera moves across her face, her expression conveys the internal journeying at work.
"'Adrift' is an intentionally dour song compared to other songs I have written as I don't have a lot of hope in the wider scope of the world at the moment," Octo Octa told The FADER over email. "I often find myself personally gravitating towards sadder moments when I have time alone to reflect, versus the hyped energy of being in a club with others. I wouldn't want to call it escapism for me personally because I don't see the club as an escape, but more as a place to gather and uplift each other. But those aren't eternal moments... The video encapsulates those times alone and my feelings of attempting to process what is happening around me."
"The video for 'Adrift' was created using photogrammetry and Unreal Engine," video director Ray McClure told The FADER. "Photogrammetry is the process of capturing 3D content by taking pictures from every angle. We photographed [Octa Octo] thousands of times over a couple days in San Francisco resulting in a handful of detailed 3D meshes. The process is labor intensive but it was exciting once we were designing the world of 'Adrift' around the 3D image of [Octa Octo]. The lighting and environments of Unreal Engine can be tuned for otherworldly effect and using a game engine for 'Adrift' means we can create future versions for virtual reality and live performance."