Iman Lake’s comic-book single ‘Stranger Days’ captures our uncertain reality
A captivating offering from conceptual music artist Iman Lake in the shape of a comic book, animation and new emphatic single, ‘Stranger Days’. Iman Lake narrates the beginning of his comic book in sonic motion with the line, ‘inspired by imaginary events, that may in fact still occur’. This speaks to the way that life has felt so much like an accruement of events that we are increasingly losing control of.
It would be interesting to trace the relationship with celebrity culture and the mass apathy around figures such as Trump (depicted in the comic & video), and how sonic and visual representations of this have entered a more fantastical space as we try to adjust to and process these ‘stranger, stranger days’. Talking about his release, Iman says, ‘it’s very easy to resign to apathy in a world constantly bombarding you with bad news and negative intimation’. This is something he explores in the single, with a call to become alert to our surroundings, ‘you're all too busy scratching posts to ever know’. That line in particular brings to mind many images, but one that stayed with me was the idea of scratching posts in the woods so you don’t lose your way – perhaps more focused on your own journey than to see the bigger picture around you.
The production by Hotel October and Kakigori Club is sparse, EQ filtering out in the low end before samples of a ‘screaming blond’ veer into nature-laden soundscapes, birds tweeting against an acoustic guitar backdrop reminiscent of ‘Pretty Sweet’ by Frank Ocean. At this moment, the visuals become sweeter still, two lovers reaching towards one another dressed in white before his partner turns to him, her face half-skeletal. It’s such a jarring juxtaposition, handled in a fascinating way as the world erupts into more flames. Lake sings, ‘We set the world aflame / These are stranger stranger days’ before the world falls away, and we see it was all a virtual simulation.
Satria Wahyu, the illustrator behind the comic gives an almost James Reitano take on a Silver Age comic book, complemented by an inventive animation by Director/Visual Artist Azeez Bello. It’s very meta, making references to 2001: A Space Odyssey, along with Don't Dream: science fiction, fantasy and horror stories by Donald Wandrei. What’s particularly of note here is how referencing these older science fiction stories show how we’ve passed the point of what previous generations imagined for us, and now we’re living in more unfamiliar and indeed, unimaginable times.