Grimes roams Europe with friend/collaborator HANA in the duo’s campy, lo-fi video series “The Ac!d Reign Chronicles.” Grimes’ brother Mac assisted on the 38-minute project, which strings together clips for four Grimes tracks – “World Princess Part II,” “Butterfly,” “Scream” (featuring Aristophanes) and “Belly of the Beat” – and three HANA songs (“Chimera,” “Underwater” and “Avalanche”). The musicians self-produced the videos during Grimes’ European tour behind her fourth LP, 2015’s Art Angels.
Grimes maximizes her low budget in this cell phone-filmed “trashique adventure,” contrasting that crude technology with the beauty of her surroundings. The singer, wearing a mask, dances around a courtyard in the video for grooving electro-pop track “Butterfly.” In “World Princess Part II,” Grimes parties on a private jet, soundtracked by the song’s jazzy drum breaks and whirring synthesizers. Taiwanese rapper Aristophanes stars in the clip for metallic “SCREAM.” And melismatic sing-along “Belly of the Beat,” Grimes’ most visually vivid clip, is filled with artful interpretative dancing on expansive hillsides.
Hana Gabrielle Pestle, the singer-songwriter who performs under the moniker HANA, contributed a triptych of videos to the collection. Each is similarly forlorn, with HANA shot in various settings, always alone. The songs are also similar musically. HANA sings ethereally over paced studio-generated clatter on “Underwater” as she twirls down the bannister of a gorgeous, albeit empty home. “Chimera” balances its atmospheric production with sewn-in quirks (a la Grimes) and here, HANA does more twirling, but in a park, on a stoop and in a leopard print long coat.
Her final video in the series, “Avalanche,” is the most decadent. In a billowy wine-red frock, HANA sings longingly among classical marble statues and mirrors. “Say you wanted me to hold onto you,” she sings. But like the other clips, it’s clear no one’s home.
The “Ac!d Reign Chronicles” project came together between shows and during off-days on Grimes’ European trek, and since the trio “felt done after a couple days,” they continued to shoot material for HANA.
“These seven videos were shot over a two-week period throughout Europe,” Grimes tweeted about the clips, which are also viewable individually. “They are guerrilla style vids, a la realiti, so there was no crew, makeup, cameras, lights. Just us and a phone, so maybe don’t expect anything too fancy. That said, we’re really proud of what we made.”