On their latest video, "Chant," Italian experimental group Machweo explores the hypnotic effects of contrasting movement. The song is loosely structured into two parts—one almost orchestral, the other solidly in the realm of trance—and the liminal spaces between them offer an opportunity to unify two sounds that seem irreconcilable on paper.
The music is accompanied by an understated performance from dancer Anxela Malo. By playing Malo's simplest movements both forward and reverse, director Nicola Galli encourages us to pay attention to the details—the twitch of a muscle, overlooked on the first pass, becomes obvious when it's reprised a moment later. The effect is subtly surreal.
As Machweo's acoustic instrumentation builds to a slow crescendo, an electronic beat begins to simmer beneath the surface. At first, it's quiet, only clearly audible when the other instruments take a brief rest. But as the song continues, it starts to dominate the mix, transforming the track into something altogether more propulsive and jagged. Malo's dancing evolves to match the music, culminating with her entire body twisting back and forth, hair splayed with centrifugal force.
"Chant" is an aptly named and utterly mesmerizing video that highlights the dynamic textures Machweo have become known for. As the opener on their forthcoming album, Primitive Music (out 3/23 on Portland, OR label Lefse Records), it bodes well for the new project.