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Tom Tom Club Release a Perplexing New Video for “As Above, So Below”

In honor of the 36th anniversary of Tom Tom Club‘s self-titled debut album, the band has released a new music video for “As Above, So Below.” Directed by Nico du Pouldou, the video features husband-and-wife duo Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth situated on an absurdist beach, where the properties of physics and logic are meaningless. With no context for the assemblage of characters featured in the video, we’re left guessing why, for example, a lithe young woman mounts a horse surrounded by flames, or why Weymouth sings the entire song holding an umbrella and riding a giant mechanical rooster.

The director allegedly chose this particular song from the album due to its “spiritual nature.” The band adds, “The saying ‘As Above So Below’ means ‘as in heaven, so on earth.’ It has come down to us from ancient wisdom older than any of the world’s existing religions. Its mystery as a prayer has been folded into all of them.”

As if throwing darts at various spiritualities, the video sporadically features flashes of Celtic symbols and ancient Greek motifs. Alas, the mix of religiosity and absurdity nullifies the potential aesthetic significance of both. It is totally possible that Nico du Pouldou just really likes horses, as evidenced by his Facebook fan page, and built the rest of the concept around the budget and logistics of having a lot of horses in the video.

The strangest part of this new video, however, is that there is already an appropriately avant garde video for “As Above, So Below” directed by fellow RISD graduate Mary Lambert.

Although that video was never officially sanctioned by Warner Bros. Records, its black and white, grainy filmic qualities and mix of salacious sex and tarot readings seems far more in line with the quirky, kitschy aesthetic of the self-titled album. It raises the question: If the band really wanted to memorialize the album’s 36th anniversary, why didn’t they attempt some kind of restoration of the original video? It is a perfect time capsule of the early 1980s, and is currently only available in 240p on a YouTube account unaffiliated with the band. Their new video may be more in line with current music video trends that feature extravagant, expensive sets and visual effects, but it’s hard to argue that this new video is going to inspire fandom from a younger audience who may just now be discovering the band.