The music video for Chicago-based composer and ONO-member Jordan Reyes’ “Rebirth At Dusk,” directed by Eryka Dellenbach, is an avant-garde Man With No Name fever dream — stark, sandy colors accompany cowboy hats and jerking dances that gradually transform into darkness. No one speaks, they just move. There’s lens flare and smoky visions, like a distant memory or the hazy remnants of a fantasy. Reyes’ music hums and vibrates alongside the vivid images; prickly guitar floats between reverberant synths and relaxed percussion. The song is cathartic and individualistic, a momentary release of bottled-up energy. Watching feels like stepping into a desert’s heat wave, sun beaming, nothing to feel but the present.
“Rebirth At Dusk” is a selection from Reyes’ upcoming album, Sand Like Stardust, out November 20 on American Dreams Records. You can watch the video and read more about its concept and creation in the artists’ words below.
“Shit hit the fan for live music while I was on the way back from an East Coast tour in March. I had played Now That’s Class in Cleveland on 3.12 and was expecting to debut a piece that was part concert, part theatre, part lecture with my ONO bandmate travis at Elastic Arts in Chicago on 3.13. While en route to Chicago, I began to get frenzied messages from friends. Within the next handful of hours, every live gig I had booked/planned for 2020, including a full ONO tour I had booked through the South, was canceled. Not only that, but I was unable to collaborate in the flesh with my bandmates and close friends.
The creation and filming “Rebirth At Dusk” was the first time a few of us ONO members were able to interact with each other in five months, and it was a breath of fresh air. Director, choreographer, and co-conspirator Eryka Dellenbach had created an evocative framework from which we channeled our individualities prior to our assembly, and she let us run with it once we began — she opened up the portal to playfulness, surrealism, disorientation, and community. There’s a parallel between the “rebirth” in the song and the reconnection with those I cherish. It felt like a baptism, and now — seeing the final product — I think perhaps it is; a baptism into some sand strewn, dreamlike world from which I’ve yet to return — possibly from which I never will.” — Jordan Reyes
“The experience of making “Rebirth at Dusk” was like a non-linear, acid-folk [mid]western heroes’ journey, with an emphasis on reckoning and transformation rather than a singular victory. The film essentially traces the conversations Jordan and I had in development. We started by looking at the complex, many-layered history of the vaquero, and how the North American cowboy of contemporary imaginations descended from that through colonialism. The cowboy also symbolizes an eroticized hyper-masculinity. Through talking with friends, pulling from my past life as a horse-girl and background in Butoh, I felt inclined to imagine the cowboy as an ecosensual outsider, someone scrappy and magical with an amorous love of the land but who is reckoning with their identity’s legacy and ancestry.
These juxtapositions had strong, resonant intersections with other elements, such as Jordan’s Tejano heritage, the syncretization of the Aztec goddess Tonantzin and Our Lady of Guadalupe and the psychogeography and total history of the sites of industrial ruin in Chicago’s far south that we worked with…Our performing collaborators shaped their characters through their wardrobes and personal reactions to the open ‘cowboy’ prompt and we moved from there between a choreographic script and improvisation. One of my favorite moments was when travis opened his suitcase full of clothes and props and said ‘this is an interrogation.’ The open creative structure combined with a distinctive group of powerful sites and formidable personalities created new avenues of collaboration and world building that felt really organic. I shot the whole video handheld on digital and 16mm expired celluloid mediums to emphasize the feeling of being in-the-world with the characters and locations and evoke the feeling of shifting in time and context.” — Eryka Dellenbach
Sand Like Stardust is out November 20 on American Dreams Records. It is available for preorder on Bandcamp.