Seven Lions ft. Ciscandra Nostalghia – “Serpent of Old”

Image via Seven Lions
Image via Seven Lions

Seven Lions has had an adventurous last few months touring with EDM’s best known trio, Krewella, on a stacked lineup that also included Candyland and heRobust. He has been taking the world by storm, showing large audiences his distinct sound and amazing stage presence. Rocking out to his melodic sounds was more than a warm up on this tour, and although no one could devalue this tour for Krewella, it was almost as if there were two headlining acts. Our homey (and the best cinematographer in the electronic music industry), Jason Ano, recently on the Skrillex small club tour, was on the Get Wet tour following Seven Lions. For anyone who missed the awesome show, and those who want to relive it in all of its glory, he has released a mini documentary for your viewing pleasure.

Between his long hair whipping around and the placement of his arms on the tables, he makes electronic music look more like playing an electric guitar. His sound is just as melodic, also powerful and moving with a spiritual element that is quite infectious. The man is certainly gifted, making even the most played song sound new with his chillstep vibes. He continues to make a name for himself in the electronic world, and he shows no signs of stopping. His most recent release on OWSLA is just one more example of that.

Jeff Montalvo, better known as Seven Lions, teamed up with vocalist Ciscandra Nostalghia, whose sound is like a zombie version of Tori Amos. She is dark and raw, ugly in the way that dubstep noises are. A necessary evil, appealing because it is truth, it is real. Artists like Seven Lions recognize the filth, can see the uglier side of the world; they know what it sounds like, but balance it out with powerful rays of natural light. However, the track released on OWSLA “Serpent of Old,” lacks warmth. It isn’t soothing or even moving. Actually, you sort of stop dead in your tracks listening to it, as it creeps up your spine and looms, beckoining you to a darker reality. Not the kind of chill you’re accustomed to.

Not a criticism, just pointing out how different this sound is. In fact, its intensity speaks to the talent of Seven Lions, packing power in his tracks no matter what the sound. I imagine the collaboration with Nostalghia has something to do with it, but Seven Lions himself notably brings versatility to this game, so nothing from any good artists should ever be a shock. That being said, this is a far cry from the melodic, flowy, chillstep we are accustomed to hearing from this artist. It’s somewhat braisen of him to step outside of his norm to make this track, termed moombahgoth. My opinion of genre may be shifting, and titles like that are the reason why.

In any arena, high art is the result of going against the norm. Everything about this track screams different. The vocals literally shrill, belted one word at a time, coming through as sounds not speech. The lyrics accompany this track, meticulously placed like a printed poem, even using white space to give the text a feel of its own. Also an intricate, detail which contributes to the track’s artistic value is the cover art, remnant of an old painting and having all kinds of connotations with snakes and naked women, sure to spark discussion if seen by a group of art history majors. Each of these things are their own piece of art.

Poetic lyrics, the painting, and the sheer sound of this track make it a piece of art, unique if nothing else. There is an implication of a much larger story as this seems part of something larger, something called The Gathering of Darkness, Part 1. It is hard to find, but there is an astounding beauty in the dark, empty sorrow that embodies this track. And just as it is unique, I imagine so will be the reactions from listeners.