New Video for Divide & Dissolve’s ‘Far From Ideal (Chelsea Wolfe Remix)’ is a Fierce Love Letter to Indigenous Women
Anyone familiar with both the darkly enigmatic LA songstress Chelsea Wolfe and the fierce female noise-metal duo Divide & Dissolve (Takiaya Reed and Sylvie Nehill) would surely realize that bringing them together would have explosive consequences. And today we are made aware of just how explosive, with the release of the former’s haunting remix of the latter’s utterly ferocious ‘Far From Ideal.’
Divide & Dissolve’s third album Gas Lit was released earlier this year, causing NME to enthuse, “despair and destruction have been crafted into a remarkably life-affirming experience, and it’s never been more needed.” Indeed, their grinding, droning sonics require genuine commitment, but will reward tenfold with ardent intensity. And Chelsea Wolfe has been a zeitgeist of one since releasing her 2010 debut The Grime and The Glow. Her stunning 2019 album The Birth of Violence notably contained the single ‘The Mother Road,’ one of the most chill-inducing tracks in recent memory.
For the accompanying video, D&D chose Wellington based Indigenous director Amber Beaton, who has crafted thought provoking visuals for the likes of Morningwood’s Chantal Claret and New Zealand songstress Emma Dilemma. For the record, Reed is Tsalagi/Cherokee, and Nehill is Māori.
Wolfe’s addition of her ghostly howl to the remix brings a mesmerizing eeriness to the proceedings. And Beaton’s imagery appears rife with metaphor, especially quick-cut shots of birds taking flight. A traditionally attired Māori woman-as-goddess, whose eyes are whited out for a reason not revealed, appears to be ritually sanctified the ground around her, whilst also threatening to guard it at all costs.
Beaton explains, “My main goal was to match the energy both artists brought but to also turn it into a love letter to indigenous women, particularly Māori women, who are still feeling the effects of colonization and forced religion today. Our spirituality was made illegal and this video calls to summon back our own Indigenous gods, many of whom were human like Hine Nui Te Po depicted in this film.”
But Wolfe sees the collaboration as a way to stand up against a long history of white supremacy and injustice, and explains her choice of lyrical musings within that very context.
“’Scarlet threads’ refers to biblical blood, ‘entire nations built and forged in cruelty’ acknowledges the horrors of colonization, genocide, and forced Christianity on Indigenous peoples. The part after that is head held high, a ‘fuck you’ to those who feel that there is any semblance of that being okay.”
And God help them if they should.