Chris McLaughlin is a singer/songwriter, producer, sound engineer, multi-instrumentalist, who has worked with Kanye West, Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon and Fabrizio Moretti’s machinegum collective. McLaughlin is also the creative mastermind behind the solo recording project Cigar Cigarette.
Cigar Cigarette’s debut EP, Cigar Cigar Cigar Cigarette is slated for release at the end of this year, and the the EP’s material is an industrial-tinged soundscape seething with the anxiety and urgency of our age and guided by McLaughlin’s wide-spanning ear and expansive vision.
Cigar Cigar Cigar Cigarette EP’s latest single, the swaggering “Video Age” icentered around an expansive song structure featuring boom bap-like drumming, reverb-drenched horn samples, buzzing and distorted synth arpeggios, distorted, acid dipped guitars, handclaps and squiggling electronics paired with McLaughlin’s seemingly disaffected delivery. Sonically, the song sounds like an apocalyptic synthesis of Midnight Juggernaut, Beck, and Tobacco but while being a dystopian love song about how much we should loathe late stage capitalism and social media — and how much our reality is distorted by both.
“Whether we all merge with machines in the future or end up destroying the planet and fighting with sticks and stones, I imagine people looking back at this time as the era of the screen,” Chris McLaughlin says about his latest single and video. “‘Video Age’ is about surveying our current period from the next one and recognizing how our reality became fuzzy, distorted and warped. I wrote ‘Video Age’ a long time ago, but it’s surprising because now many of us find ourselves truly living most of our lives via video. We’ve moved into the hazy and distorted world of video conference weddings and funerals.
Directed by Elyse Winn and Kelli Mcguire, the recently released video for “Video Age” encapsulates the song’s overall theme through the use of screens upon screens upon screens. And every screen serves as way to place viewer and subject at a distance, while distorting our sense of reality. What’s real? Who knows?