Ulver: Russian Doll

Norwegian avant-gardists, Ulver, from whom we’ve heard everything from extreme black metal to transcendental ambiance, have just released a surprising new track which sounds like a lost new wave classic, while closely flirting with synthwave and retropop.

The very impressive Russian Doll comes with a great looking video shot in Thamesmead, London, an iconic place where A Clockwork Orange and Aphex Twin’s Come to Daddy were filmed. The clip was directed by Marek Steven, featuring and choreographed by young dancer, Annija Raibekaze.

As Ulver’s own Kristoffer Rygg reveals, Russian Doll draws influence from a superb European film from the early 2000s which comes highly recommended.

He elaborates: "Although this is pop music in our heads, the images and connotations in the lyrics are probably far away from what one usually associates with this genre. It actually began with some images and memories from the movie Lilja 4ever by Lukas Moodysson, which arrived in the early 2000s, and hit us like a brick. A dark and disillusioning film about human trafficking in the Baltic. Russian Doll refers to the babushka, we began to think about this figure in the extension of Lilja 4ever and Eastern Europe. The doll became an object, an object of desire, which we mixed with mise-en-abyme – a composition technique that places pictures, or stories for that matter, inside each other. In this context we see it as a kind of vicious circle, unfolding inwards."

"A young filmmaker tipped me off about Thamesmead, where parts of A Clockwork Orange was shot," director Marek Steven comments on the clip. "We did a couple of location scouts and realised that although the part Kubrick had filmed was currently rubble, nearby was still a huge estate with loads of similar and consistent concrete locations. We roughly planned a pseudo linear location routine with Annija, coming back a third time to shoot on one cold and short November Sunday. It was a small crew of four and two Sony A7’s. Annija is a young Latvian from the border of Russia. She recently moved to London to study dance and we felt she that fitted our idea perfectly, with her suitably aggressive urban dance style."

Russian Doll will be part of an upcoming album with more details to be revealed, while Ulver have also announced a series of live dates.

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