FKA Twigs Plays A Whole Cast In New Video

by Katherine Cusumano

She gave us a sneak peak of what to expect from her forthcoming EP with the clip for "Glass & Patron," a track off the album, earlier this year. But nothing could prepare from the 16-minute short film that FKA twigs released to accompany her new EP M3LL155X, which unexpectedly premiered earlier today. The dizzying visual feat combines influences from across film genres, including noir and creature horror, and purportedly charts the birth of creativity. Consisting of videos for four tracks — "Figure 8," "I'm Your Doll," "In Time," and "Glass & Patron" — each segment could stand on its own, but taken together, the film comprises a creation story that finds twigs undergoing a total metamorphosis.

She's supported by a cast of characters that includes Michèle Lamy as a sort of Pan's Labyrinth-esque creature with a luminous bulb protruding from her head in "Figure 8," as well as a crew of able backup dancers. But it's still the FKA twigs show — she stars as countless different characters, from a blow-up sex doll to a heavily pregnant mother, demonstrating that she is first and foremost a performer. Her music and choreography go hand-in-hand to create wholly new identities. Check out the full film here (warning — it may give you nightmares for days) and a rundown of the different personalities twigs channels over the course of its 16 minutes.

Twigs' Origins

She emerges from the mouth of Michèle Lamy as a sort of floating embryo in "Figure 8."

Terrorized As A Sex Doll

Looking flatly at the screen as the music repeats, "Love me rough / I'm your doll," FKA twigs plays a blow-up doll, her head superimposed on its body. It's perhaps the hardest segment to watch in the whole horrifying but fascinating odyssey, as a man violates her and slobbers on her while she stares right at us. If M3LL155X is a tale of the birth of an idea, this excerpt evidences the brutality of that creativity taking hold.

Twigs Takes Control Of Her Fate

In a parallel story line to that of the doll, twigs seduces a man of her own accord. She sports the same costume that the pregnant character will later on — a sort of creative Stockholm Syndrome, where she's both complicit in harboring this painful idea and its survivor.

Waking Up To "In Time"

In the beginning, she arises, fully pregnant — the same twigs who appeared in "I'm Your Doll." The action in "In Time" takes place on a stark, futuristic landing pad of black and white squares, and she dances across it, pushing her physical boundaries as far as possible. It should also be noted that her pants are streaked with paint, perhaps foreshadowing the explosive birth to come.

She Explores The Confines Of Her Surroundings

Costumed differently depending on whether she's illustrating the chorus or verses, Twigs spins and glides across the floor. She demonstrates different ways of putting choreography to music — the white-clad dancer's steps are more balletic than the contemporary style of the previous character.

The Live Birth Of "Glass & Patron"

While each song's accompanying clip could certainly stand on its own, they're tied together by the constant presence of the impregnated twigs — she's the one who emerges as a chrysalis in "Figure 8," becomes pregnant in "I'm Your Doll," experiences an incubation period in "In Time," and finally gives birth in "Glass & Patron" — to a mess of color and light (even her ruptured placenta leaks swirls of paint). It visualizes how the creative process is beyond conscious control.

Queen Twigs Holds Court

After the birth, FKA twigs reigns over a woodland catwalk populated by dancers (it's exactly as surreal as it sounds). She has come into her own by "Glass & Patron." After 15 minutes spent incubating her creative persona, it finally emerges supreme.

M3LL155X tackles its subject head-on. In a press release, it was described as "an aggressive statement conceptualising the process of feeling pregnant with pain, birthing creativity and liberation," according to Pitchfork. She traces an idea, and perhaps even her emergence as performing persona, from its implantation through to its emergence into the world. It deals with entrapment, sexuality, the male gaze, and the process of invention, alongside compelling characters that FKA twigs convincingly channels. She reportedly composed M3LL155X shortly after LP1 in a sudden flurry of creativity. From the choreography to the candid but dark exploration of where an inspiration comes from, there's no doubt that it's entirely twigs's project.

Images: FKA twigs/YouTube (8)