iamamiwhoami; sever


Category : Entertainment, art

That’s why I am one and I am many,
I am two, three, I am four
I am honey and jar, I am sun and shade
I am light tear and uncontrolled passion
I am a figment of your imagination


sever - (v.t.) 1. To set or keep apart; divide or separate. 2. To cut off (a part) from a whole. 3. To break up (a relationship, for example); dissolve. (v. intr.) 1. To become cut or broken apart. 2. To become separated or divided from each other. Detach, disconnect, part, divide.

Lyrics (approx.):

My look so grand from a distance that you need to touch.
It gives a vision of the simple but it isn’t much.

I won’t be fooled by its touch,
an emotional supply,
The scent of a fail
in heavy love we dry,
The cold and the bare grass
so delicate by one’s eye,
It’s why we can’t ally
and elope tonight.

Almost forgotten the way we used to live for play.
To be accepted, I must blend into convention’s way
and sing the universal ways.

I won’t be fooled by its touch,
an emotional supply,
The scent of a fail
in heavy love we dry,
The cold in the bare grass
so delicate by one’s eye,
it’s why we can’t ally
and elope tonight.

The beginning of the track/video is quite interesting because it reminds me of the wailing part in the In Concert, right before Y, where MO was entering some sort of trance. It’s such a great parallel because it immediately tells me how this woman in sever feels. She’s distraught. She seems sad, anxious, close to being mentally ill. Actually, anxiety and depression were the first things that came into my mind when I first watched it. Her expression depicts a sense of loss and this is beautifully rendered by the lack of make up, clothes and of reference points. Her sight is void, if there’s something she looks at, it’s definitely not something from this world. Her mouth is half open, her lips are sometimes shaky, as if she’s trying to utter something. If there’s something she says, it’s definitely heard only in her mind. Her face is pale and it looks drained, a clear sign of exhaustion (mental), the lack of facial expressions – a sign of apathy, indifference.

There’s also a sense of pride and understanding. She raises both her eyebrows and her chin, pushing her jaw out and she starts nodding her head along the beat, in a disturbing, yet self-comforting ‘alright’. She understands the situation she’s in, she knows there’s now way out of it besides creating another situation, of her own. Because with sever, we’re dealing with two realities again, just like in B: objective and subjective.

While sever could mean so many things, including cutting the umbilical chord of a baby to detach him from his mother, at birth, the predominant feeling I am given by the images in this video is that of being confined, being separated from the outside. I see the verb used in both transitive and intransitive form. The woman is clearly trapped in this flat by someone. And she clearly separated herself from the subjective reality by entering the realm of her own imagination. Signs of separation:  she’s alone in the flat, the flat is empty, no furniture, so she could not use it to escape; lack of freedom, suggested by the antithesis outside (birds flying – flying birds are a sign of freedom and to place their imagery next to the one of the closed blinds is definitely an intention to portray an antithesis destined to enhance the feeling of being separated, confined. If you want, compare this image to the one in ‘kin‘, with the  white sheet of paper enclosed in the announcement box and the flight of the birds outside; trees) – inside (blinds being drawn)/ inwards (she keeps herself away from reality by escaping it via her imagination).

When she starts singing, her face begins to give away feelings. If you want, she looks as if she’s hiding the intention to run. By the way she moves her eyes to the left and right, keeping them down most of the time, she seems to have a secret plan. But where will she run?

The clump of hair is an instrument to me. It’s part of her imagination, of course. She first sits on it, as if on an armchair, playing indifferently with the strands of its hair. When it comes to life, there’s an easiness on MO’s face. It’s almost as if she’s aware of the power her imagination has and she’s sort of unleashing it, releasing it from the grasp of her arm.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what this clump of hair stands for. After watching the video for the first time, I thought it stands for her fears, for depression and anxiety themselves. As in at the beginning, she feels fear surrounding her, but doesn’t really sees it; then when she sees it she denies it, thus making it disappear trough the door, but only temporarily, because just when she thinks she’s free of it, it comes behind her and hits her hard, grabbing her in a dance. She first rejects it (pushes it away from her body), but then she learns its steps (dances along), then she acknowledges it (literally embraces it), after which she gently disposes of it (she dances by herself in the end). If so, it’s a nice allegory which depicts the inner fight of a depressive individual.

There’s an unexplained softness characterizing this monster. Apart from its size and lack of human features, it’s quite gentle both in texture and in movements. There are no sudden moves in its kinetics. When it runs, it seems to be flying, when it dances, it flows. It’s quite harmless, even when he jumps at MO and forces her into dancing, he’s still not harming her. He even has one side conversations with her, ha! It’s so like Carol from Where the Wild Things Are!!! MO’s best (imaginary) friend. And there’s the explanation. When one fears a monster/anything, the only way to get over this fear is to portray that monster/anything by diminishing its negative features, thus imagining it as being… well cute and cuddly.

Another approach to Clump is that it stands for the fans, the main argument being once more the lyrics. Of course they could send to us, iam is known for including such references, look at the previous songs and at the interview in Bullett Magazine. But do I think they’re blatantly telling us we’re suffocating them? Not really… First because it wasn’t the case and second because… well they’re releasing a lot of stuff in the immediate future.

Getting back to the video, when Clump raises from the ground and moves away from MO, we can feel a sense of detachment in her gestures. She sees the thing, but refuses to acknowledge it as it is. And this, in my opinion, is the moment she starts imagining. The cardboard boxes in front of her are a representation of her mind/imagination. Remember u-2 and my post CU’s A-LOC – Down the honeycomb and back ? That’s what he was doing, he was hallucinating, trapped inside his tormented mind, affected by the mandrake poison. When the boxes dissapear, we’re already in another world.

In this world, the Clump is talking to her, its gestures suggest he might be asking her to do something, or he might be trying to explain something to her, with MO refusing to do it (she nods ‘no’) or maybe negating its existence entirely (she turns her face away from it – ‘no, you’re not here’), hence Clump’s disappearing (for now).

When she sits on the floor and bends forward, it’s like she’s resting a little, overwhelmed by exhaustion. When she tries to move, it’s only a crawl she manages to get. But that’s still good. Notice how she doesn’t look towards the door when she does that. The presence of water in such little quantity is the presence of objective reality influence in subjective reality. Remember she just got out of the tub in reality (wet hair, towel around her body). Water is also a sign of the freedom the initial self had (notice how she touches it, trying to feel it, to move on and in it).

The next images are an example of great video editing. We have this sequence of the camera approaching the door, which creates the illusion that the door approaches MO, as if inviting her to open it and run. Yet she would only give it a look and then turn away. This is her safe place. Her imagination is not a thing to run from. As she moves along the corridor, she feels at ease, she lets her head fall backwards, as if relieved. The only time she seems afraid is when she enters the next room. Again, it’s not this place she fears, but the possibility of this place being invaded. Unaware of the movement taking place behind her, she goes at the window and looks outside, hopeful, placing her hands on her womb. In this world, she would conceive a child and she’d be happy.

Nonetheless, the door knob moves and Clump is back again, literally sneaking, running towards MO, grasping her, almost taking her down. This is the realization of the fact that her dream of happiness could be shattered. The dance that follows is such a beautiful metaphor for embracing your fears. Negating the existence of something does not make that thing go away. Acknowledging its existence and learning about it (she learns the steps of the dance) is the way to overcome it. Hence she becomes free of Clump in the end. Not by negating it, not by killing it, but by dancing it away.

Again… I can’t stay away from the Alraune reference, and I will say that MO looks and acts like Alma Raune, the designated wife, Alraune’s mother, the same one in 20101104 and Clump, artificially inseminated with the semen of a hanged man and kept confined in a white room until she gave birth. Until the child was born, Alma would only think of ways to escape, she refused to talk to her let’s call kidnappers (to me the men in B), looking apathetic and indifferent whenever they tried to calm her down, sometimes would scream and smash things around and she often threatened to commit suicide. One important thing regarding Alma is that she fancied the idea of having a child – this is why she agreed (well… she was tricked into it actually) to be a part of the experiment in the first place -, but she soon finds the truth and she knows she would be set apart from it. This is where the sense of loss comes from.

It’s the cover of sever which prevents me from not mentioning Alraune. You can clearly distinguish a woman’s womb if you look closer. This is still about pregnancy. About a child growing inside.


Since we’ve touched the matter of covers, there’s a new trend of releasing images which, when altered, reveal more than the eye can see. It’s so iamamiwhoami! I love it! There are also other changes regarding the covers. They now lack the ‘to whom it may concern’ tag, which, of course, suggests a sense of belonging now, with iam being signed. The good thing is that sever seems to be the first in another series – recently confirmed by the announcement of the kin album in June aaaaand the release of drops on February 29th (what a convenient day!!!). Speaking of which:

drops cover

drops cover

I am not sure what drops refers at. Due to the fact that it looks more like a plural noun, I am inclined it to consider it as such, meaning drips. I could think of the sandals looking bottles in that futuristic image in Bullet Magazine. They seemed to contain liquid. But the verb to drop sends to abandonment, deterioration and even downfall. Another meaning which would be interesting to consider is that of the drops in music, which describe a section where the music will crescendo to a climax, pause briefly, then resume. So what could it be?

Also, here’s kin 20120611:

Purchase ’sever’ on Amazon
Purchase ’sever’ on iTunes
Purchase ’sever’ on JunoDownload (lossless)

Read 2020k’s audio analysis of ’sever’ here
We’re waiting for the first remixes to emerge, as well as for all beautiful unplugged covers.

Sever cover by Unplugged70:

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