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Daniel leah vast habitat amorphous

Video Premiere: Daniel Lea’s ‘Amorphous’ by Odd.One, altered states of mind & consciousness

Text by CLOT Magazine

We are premiering the Amorphous video track from Daniel Lea’s most recent album Entheogen, directed by Mario Hugo (aka Odd.One)

Daniel Lea is a composer and producer with a long trajectory releasing under monikers such as L A N D, Heliochrysum and CURA MACHINES. Lea is also the co-founder of Vast Habitat, a Los Angeles-based experimental record label that he runs along with Michael Deragon (also Heliocrysum).

The track from the video we are premiering today is from Lea’s latest solo album Entheogen, released on Vast Habitat in October last year. True to the artist’s interest in landscapes of sound and pushing analogue and digital processes to their limits, Entheogen mirrors it in its production. With a name which refers to something used to alter the senses (often for ritualistic or sacred reasons), it sees Lea’s analogue synthesisers heavily processed throughout an array of effects, cinematographic freeze-framing moments in time, and creating shifting spatial mosaic with soundscapes, which makes the album a velvety, intoxicating and hallucinatory experience. 

Amorphous, the second single of the album, probes like a swooshing breath into new, expanding universes, something that has been perfectly captured in the video that visual artist and director Mario Hugo (Odd.One) has created for it. Playful soft forms and textures are created and reversed backwards as if made of a substance of interdimensional properties; pulsating teardrops and fluid drippings expand across oceans of time, dancing to the sound of space-travelling brainwaves, an extension of the track sounds. For the video director, the reality isn’t what it seems, and he believes we’re breaking through our umwelt. Some of that change may feel very strange — alien perhaps, but inviting, as the blue and orange universe recreated in the video entices.

Daniel, how did the collaboration with Mario happen to be? And what attracts you the most from his work?

Daniel: Mario and I have been working together on visual and commercial projects for the last 10 years, most recently with Mario’s project Odd.One which is now Mario’s alas. The project resonated with me on a textual and immersive level, and I created textual-based musical responses normally with a single piece of equipment or modular-based pieces. After that collaboration, I knew Mario would be the perfect collaborator to bring my recent album Entheogen alive through visual and textual language.

I don’t technically know Mario’s exact process of visual execution. However, I’m assuming it’s very similar to my own in terms of materials going through a textual process, much like collage, painting, processing, and re-processing. Through this process, we find the atmosphere we are in search of. The album is very focused on carving shards, matter and pieces of sound and texture, so carving elements into other carved elements with that sense of morphing helps create these environments.

Mario: I agree with Daniel’s comments regarding texture. I was so near-sighted as a kid that I spent all my time an inch away from a sheet of paper or a foot away from a TV. I became so familiar with the magnetic sizzle of CRTs — the burn of phosphor, edge halation and the electrochemical mixture of image and media. I think it’s a surface-level ethos we share, whether sonic or visual, and it is something I love about Daniel’s work. I find our collaboration runs deeper, though — it has an emergent property and is born of a specific spirit of play.  

What were the initial steps for the video conceptualisation? And what were the main inspirations or ideas behind it?

Daniel: Entheogen is very focused on altered states of mind and consciousness; I wanted to feel like the visuals were almost like how the world looks on A rainy night, being gasoline in a puddle with the world warped and distorted being reflected back on itself, an almost euphoric distorted warp sense of reality. An Entheogen is something used to alter the sense, often ritualistic or sacred. This is mirrored in the production; manipulation and depth of field perspective are constantly changing, sometimes within harmony and often against itself, to create the sense of arriving at a destination and also facing uncomfortable times of unease; that journey is part euphoric and part struggle.

Mario: In the darkest period of my life, consciousness winked at me. Call it source, ether, the unified field or Venus as a boy — we are one. This isn’t a platitude. It has a sense of humour. I had an experience in stone sobriety that changed the course of my life. Odd.One is a step in starting again. 

I believe we’re awash in the energy and cymatic resonance of all things — it is hiding in plain sight, and I’m just engaging with whatever I feel. I create artwork against small segments of music at a time, often starting somewhere in the middle and bouncing from song to song. It isn’t a linear process; it spirals outward and feels almost like memory. I feel best when I’m turning over rocks, and I’m grateful for the things I find. The Amorphous film is a small section of a much broader piece, a kind of 45-minute viscera fantasia, and I’m excited to be a part of the experience. 

What is what you most enjoy about these types of collaborations?

Daniel: I always love working and collaborating on albums, projects, artworks, music, visual concepts, and other musicians that I love, and I mainly talk about the album concepts and themes that have been driving the work to a destination. Through that I talk about materials, ideas, textures, or just concept. I always want to be surprised when I get something back from someone, especially if they are in a different place, which is mostly the case.

My record under the name L A N D Anoxia, instead of giving Ben Frost the mix as I last heard it, I zeroed the whole mix and took off any bus´ or effects (that weren’t a part of the sound), so he had no idea how any of my levels were, and there were many layers. There were some sounds I thought Ben had added, but that wasn’t the case. It was just a sound I had way down in my own mix.

So I love letting people approach the work through their understanding of the materials and concepts at play. I find this expands the work itself and the concept’s scope further into further unimagined worlds. Mario sent over an idea at first, and despite I liked it, it felt too designed almost for this world of matter, decay and texture. I said it had to be more alien-like, morphing between states, and he really went with this idea of alien for “Amorphous”.

When he sent back the idea, I was blown away by it. I couldn’t stop watching, all I said back was a few words, and I believe I sent him “Pas De Deux” by Norman McLaren, where there’s a dance all made in camera and at the end, it becomes very multi-framed and almost alien, I’m not sure if he watched that, it wasn’t a reference of sorts it just has an alien-like quality when it starts to multiple it starts to warp reality.

Mario: I love meditating with other people. That includes Daniel, an audience, and strangers. Connection is reason enough. It resonates, or it doesn’t, but I believe we are all communicating without words. I want to tap in and find myself in someone’s story, their music and their poetry. I want to be transported, and I want to be transportive.  

The video looks like a mix of live shoots and digital manipulation. What materials or techniques were used?

Mario: This piece uses a base of footage shot by Roxana Bazgoneh processed through node networks in Blender. I think I’ll put some setup files on gumroad for those interested. Each of the pieces in the Entheogen performance will have a unique physicality, choreography, and patina, but a red thread runs throughout. 

The artists will be performing an AV live show on 5th March at 2220 Arts and Archives in Los Angeles. More info here.

Websites: Daniel Lea’s Amorphous/Antidote Single is out now on and all streaming platforms. From the album Entheogen.
(Media courtesy of the artists)
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