Text by Ed Harrington
Panghalina are an improvisational musical trio from Australia consisting of members Maria Moles, Bonnie Stewart and Helen Svoboda. Along with video artists Danny Wild and Olympia Wasikowska, they have released the video for their track Glass Lake from their debut album Lava (Room40).
Danny Wild and Olympia Wasikowska experimented with various liquid materials to create a truly connective and sensorial depiction of the trio’s composition, The video for ‘Glass Lake’ was made with a series of filming experiments with paint, dye, milk, oil and detergent. The elements come together to evoke the slow, morphing movement within the music as it gradually expands to reveal a collage of fluid colours and textures.
As searching synths slowly fade in, you are presented with patchworks of vivid colours bubbling into different shapes and spaces. The singer’s echoing wails and resonant hums overlap and cry like they are trying to connect in an alien language that somehow feels ancient and familiar. As these unconfined choral summonings soar around this unset space, the messages in these chants seem to rise and fall as if finding a place within the undulating forms that slowly make their way into deeper dimensions.
Sections of clear white are juxtaposed with swirling galactic abysses that sometimes look like water and sometimes like sky. In these reflective and boundless masses, ever-expanding billows appear to be constantly moving the substance of the space into different landscapes. Droplets of ink fall into milky pools next to cascading nebulae, putting the viewer in a state of limbo and reflection.
Set upon this are solid blotch formations that could be rock-like or even human – some of them egg-shaped and some like nuclei joining together. They seem dormant yet conscious, as if there is an importance to their solidness like they resemble our existence whilst begging us to pay attention to the vast tumultuousness surrounding it.
It is almost as if the chantings in the music are calming us and urging us to see things from a different species’ perspective, evoking a thoughtfulness about our relationship with ourselves and nature as well as our instability, telling us not to be scared by it.
Some of these blotches and bubbles could also resemble planets in a solar system that are observing and adapting to a neverending magnitude. This piece seems to be all about inviting us into the unknown and admiring the beauty in the turbulence of everything around us. A microscopic view of the macroscopic.
Towards the end of the piece, the singer makes delicate percussive utterances, making the message more brittle and clear, as if communicating a point of meditative certainty and freezing this notion in time whilst the landscape seems to settle into an eternal place.