The visual work of LA’s own Amir Motlagh is something rivaled only by that of the more auditory variety. Artists come in all capacities and mediums. In a place like Los Angeles, the amount to choose from becomes so plentiful that standing out can be the first and last key step of one’s career. That said, it’s pretty safe to admit that the filmmaker shown off here has done just that. Matching a level of creativity with an equal amount of quality, the films of Motlagh have always fluctuated in style, tone and subject matter. While some tend to be stand alone pieces of cinema, others also have an extra utility attached to their existence. In this case, that utility I’m speaking of is that of the musician’s preference. In recent years, the idea of releasing a full length album or E.P. through the means of a visual counterpoint has become quite popular around specific creators. With Pharrell, Frank Ocean and others leading a charge, it’s absolutely breathtaking to see the same being done by producers of the more independent selection.
Enter MIRS, a musical project co-headed and executed by Motlagh, in which he has released not only multiple masterfully crafted music videos, but now this as well. CANYON is, for lack of a more traditional description, an exercise in dropping the jaws of humanity at large. An expertly captured one-take shot through the hills of Los Angeles, the film does a fantastic job at showcasing MIRS’ newly released CANYON EP. Set to imagery so serene, yet strangely exhilarating in its own right, the visuals bring up the feelings of sonder, calm and humility. It reminds us that those more still moments in our lives truly are a rare case. As we voyeur in on what seems to be one man’s(played by Motlagh)morning routine, we get to see something he gets to see everyday. However, as the viewer, it is up to us to decide if seeing is the same as noticing. As we experience the sun gleaming through the trees, the presence of so much life surrounding an otherwise deserted stretch of hillside and the accompaniment of man’s best friend to potentially share it all with, we are not aware if this beauty is truly beheld by our main subject. In a way, it is not our business. This is his story, and we are only fortunate enough to be allowed a meager glimpse inward.
As said character finally reaches his Point B, this one-take only gets even more impressive with the inclusion of extra players and tighter locations for the camera op. to endure. Much like the Milky Way Galaxy is kept in balance via powerful vibrational waves, the whole piece here is held together perfectly by the soundtrack at hand. If the 4 track’s on the EP itself weren’t as gorgeous as they happen to be, the harmony achieved here would have easily been a much more difficult result to obtain. It’s an effortless final product that makes you think much about one’s own solitude. This seems to mainly be due to a combination of the time it provides for such, as well as a purposely manufactured tranquil overtone that simply grasps and refuses to release. If you have less than 20 minutes to spare for the sake of music and digital video’s divine chemistry for one another, then by all means, enjoy.
For even more examples of Amir Motlagh’s audio/visual work, see both his Website and Youtube Channel. If you enjoyed the music within this brief epic, please support the artist via Bandcamp. There will be to come in the future regarding the spotlighted filmmaker in question, but until then, let us all know what is possible through the power of carefully crafted simplicity.
– The Spork Guy