Detainee, the new LP from Orange County’s fragmented synth-pop duo VVAQRT, is one of my favorite local releases of the year. With songs that suggest phantom remnants of bygone commercial jingles laced around excerpts of old advertising copy and rueful wallflower observations, Detainee dances along the lines between the surreal and simple, between the illusory and actual, between the hooky and hazy.
The new video for “Cul de Sac,” a short bit of prismatic poetry and beat-machine discourse, perfectly captures that feeling. Created by Boston film artist LSDV, the clip funnels recognizable features into a kaleidoscopic system that transforms familiar sights into inscrutable chimeras and cut-ups. A tongue and teeth, an owl’s face, cell division, a mustache, an eyeball, folks working out in spandex: Those are some of the things I think I see in these two minutes of bent-and-blended footage, but it’s hard to be sure. That same vertiginous mix of ease and pleasure makes Detainee continually intriguing. Here, it’s synesthetic.