Los Angeles-based Cleopatra Records and artist-run cassette label Practical Records present Rachel Mason ‘Heart Explodes’, the second single from the forthcoming ‘Das Ram’ album, which has premiered in The Big Takeover and initially shown at a screening of new video works by women artists at Red Bull Studios NYC. This follows up the single ‘Tigers in the Dark’. The full long-play releases November 18.
‘Heart Explodes’ is a metaphor for allowing oneself the freedom to destroy one’s old identity and to find a new paradigm from which to dream. ”Women are often offered a set of limitations from an early age, and these restrictions determine so much of one’s destiny. Yet, there can be great things that arise from limitation, but controlling one’s own set of rules, one’s own box, one’s own destiny is the key,” explains Rachel Mason.
Mason wrote and directed the song’s video with Aksel Stasny, a cinematographer who shot her recent rock opera feature film The Lives of Hamilton Fish. The character in this new video references Edith Piaf, singing an art song in the blinding light of a single spotlight. The character morphs and eventually corrodes until she is splayed out and dissolves in a pile of flesh as her heart literally explodes.
The song begins “I made a box, just for dreams, to set ablaze and fly into” and then leaps finally and triumphantly into the end chorus “My heart explodes with too much love, and this love explodes with too much light”.
“Heart Explodes is a glorious crucifixion and the best cabaret you’ve ever seen. A mix of tragic glamour and inscrutable beauty. This is a feminist anthem as powerful as a performance by [radical feminist art icons] Carolee Schneemann or Judy Chicago,” says William Simmons, art historian, critic, curator and editor.
Comprised of eight tracks, the ‘Das Ram’ album conveys the stories of specific characters who define and delight in their own realities and cosmologies. Individuals who create their own world views, their own religions, and fantasy lives. “Das Ram” is an inversion of the name of renowned healer Ram Dass, and also a play on Mason’s own initials, Rachel Ann Mason. The tracks were produced by Los Angeles based writer, artist and musician Jeff Hassay.
Touted as “one of the most creative forces in the world” by Impose Magazine, Mason is best known in music circles for delivering fantastical narratives which interweave musical, theatrical and narrative elements into unexpected operatic journeys. Through her wide-ranging portfolio of mixed media work, she instigates fantasy and harsh realities through scripts, sculpture, rock operas, live performances and compositions that span over a decade.
She has recorded 13 albums and created many music videos. Her feature film The Lives of Hamilton Fish toured the world in 2015 and recently released on VOD. Mason has exhibited her visual art and performance work at museums, film and performance festivals internationally and at many of the country’s leading art galleries. Her work has received praise in VICE, Interview Magazine, The New York Times, Artforum, LA Weekly, The New Yorker, The Los Angeles Times, Art in America, and Flash Art.
On select dates from October to December, Mason also performs during her Hammer Museum Residency (In Real Life: Studio 4-6pm). She is also currently co-directing a documentary feature on Circus of Books, the notorious adult bookstore chain, which played a critical role in the Silver Lake and Hollywood music scenes and gay culture.
The ‘Das Ram’ LP will be released digitally and on limited edition CD by Cleopatra Records, whose roster includes such wide-ranging acts as Ministry, Wolfgang Flür, Christian Death and Iggy Pop to folk legend Judy Collins, as well as on limited edition cassette by Practical Records.
The Cleopatra album release party takes place on November 27 at Los Angeles’ Bootleg Theater (2220 Beverly Blvd) with performances by Rachel Mason and The Starseeds, as well as beloved Los Angeles bands Egrets on Ergot and L.A.Drones. Ahead of that, on November 13, Practical Records hosts the cassette release at Human Resources Gallery, Los Angeles.
TRACK LIST (‘DAS RAM’ LP)
2. Love Explodes
4. Tigers In The Dark
5. Marry Me
6. Queen Bee