Poet Suki Vita brings words to life in her latest single ‘The Underpass Lover.’
Suki Vita, member of Japanese punk band Babe and Dusters and experimental post-punk duo Auto Portrait, has now set her sights on developing her rich discography as a solo artist. Throughout Babe and Dusters’ unapologetic Sukeban energy and Auto Portrait’s calculated chaos, Suki’s flair for poetry cracks through each band's musical surfaces to reveal her control over words.
In keeping with Suki's identity as an intuitively-driven artist, the inspiration for ‘The Underpass Lover’ emerged as a vision from her imagination. Much of her poetry resembles intimate glimpses of a diary which captures fleeting moments and scenes, and her latest single is a musical extension of this. Suki's album engages with a dream-like vision by combining art forms in an almost Surrealist way.
The narrative of the song centres around a protagonist and their long-distance lover who have temporarily united at an underpass. It describes how both of them live in detached worlds, despite feeling a perfect connection. Suki has been able to pin down an intangible scene using concrete words which speak directly to the listener. Without falling into ornamental and abstract language, she writes with stunning lyricism. Her direct prose style is showcased through her penchant for simple sentences: “My raised heels clicking / Your bullet teeth / Dances in an underpass / All day you’ve waited / For me to land / And tend to you, your tender hands”.
Photo by Luca Bailey
Acknowledging how certain feelings can only be understood through music and poetic form, Suki elaborates that her artistic ethos is to connect with listeners through frankness, by tracking capricious desires and thoughts with resonating clarity. The lack of gendered pronouns in the lyrics gives the song a universal dimension, putting less emphasis on the characters themselves, for favour of articulating the feeling of a perturbing encounter which rejects logical explanation. The narrative, like a dream, seems to take on a subconscious life of its own.
Suki’s narrative finds sonic form through a dark cabaret waltz. Her deliberately simple word choices parallel her pithy vocal line, which reminds me of Japanese Showa melodies. The melody is hard to get out of your head, like an ominous circus theme song or macabre nursery rhyme. Her attention to detail when creating atmospheres is evident in the moments of scratchy noise which tastefully enhance the track, reminiscent of early electronic classic film scores. The broken organ pressed along the drum machine beat, the motif of a distorted mellotron flute, or the intimacy of the castanet-like minimal percussion are just a few other sound design choices worth noting.
Evocative sensations transcend distinctions between art forms. The soon-to-be-released music video which accompanies the single cements Suki’s multidisciplinary approach, drawing upon a variety of film references and surrealist elements. With her distinctive combination of soundscapes, poetry and tenacious visual direction, Suki Vita is one to look out for.
Edited by Talia Andrea, Editor in Chief