In February, experimental composer Kelly Moran debuted her track “Love Birds, Night Birds, Devil-Birds” as the score for new media artist Cassie McQuater’s three-channel video installation at the Frieze art fair in Los Angeles. Adult Swim released the song as a single last month and today brings the entire piece, albeit in less grand form than the three 18-feet walls on which McQuater projected the original. (Unless you have three 18-feet walls and several large projectors available, in which case you’re in luck.) The four-minute visual cycles through a series of glitched natural imagery: ponds, flowers, birds, saturated and layered into a hypnotic and puzzling flow, set to Moran’s prepared piano.
McQuater said in a statement that the piece was originally conceived as an interpretation of Leonara Carrington’s short story “The Debutante,” about a woman who swaps bodies with a hyena after teaching it French. “Extravagant dresses made of anatomical parts, glass, and pink light swirl in pastoral landscapes populated by undulating fluorescent flowers, strange monsters and deconstructed birds, who paint the sky. Part of an on-going series exploring the mythological idea of women’s bodies as dangerous and poisonous gardens,” McQuater said, adding that the piece also references Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story “Rappaccini’s Daughter.”
McQuater also created Moran’s latest tour visuals, the music video for Moran’s song “Water Music,” and the cover art for the pianist’s May EP Origin. Moran’s last album Ultraviolet was one of Spin’s 51 best of 2018. Watch the “Love Birds, Night Birds, Devil-Birds” video below.