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  • Writer's pictureMolly Davies

We Recommend | t l k - Next To The Mirror

t l k | Location

Capturing the essence of reconciling with the psyche’s inner child is no mean feat.

Through swelling synths and layers of repeated vocals, Bristol-based producer and vocalist t l k has created a stunning soundscape, exploring an emotion self-described as ‘born of a feeling’. In latest track Next To The Mirror, she confronts her our own trauma as a form of empathy, culminating in a striking watch.

There has been a shift in collective consciousness recently around what it means to be strong, and Next To The Mirror perfectly showcases that in order to reconcile with past trauma you must find the strength to be vulnerable and tender. In the words of t l k, 'the more we meet with our former selves, the more able we are to honour the strength in tenderness.’

The accompanying video, an intricately choreographed and expertly executed one shot, adds to the emotional turmoil that comes with the process of healing. Lighting shifts from natural daylight to fluorescent and erratic. Movements transform from expressive to chaotic. The three dancers (Georgia Rose Stewart, Leikaysha-Rae Reid, Kristina Raidma) who represent the ‘adult’, ‘inner child’, and ‘middle self’ who yearns for reconciliation, fade in and out of focus. Each has a role to play but one never overshadows the others. All three remain in balance with each other throughout a journey of rationalisation and reconciliation. The camera work is exceptional, with exposure length used to create abstract distorted delayed images of the figures during the climax of the track. The end result is a video that moves from dream-like to nightmarish, with the final shot, although almost identical in composition, showing the protagonist to have transformed from serene to panicked.

The cyclical nature of both the track and accompanying visual feels like a perfectly suited artistic choice, expressing the nature of confrontation with ourselves. "The needs of our inner children surface in cycles, which is something I wanted to capture in the track’s ‘round’ structure," explains t l k, "and again by following the protagonist from the false comforts of the adult world to the chaos of childhood, returning to soft blankets and ambient lighting when things become too heavy. While we see the adult struggle to process her trauma, the inevitability of the cycle repeating brings a familiarity and acceptance to the process of confrontation."

Watch Next To The Mirror here.


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