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  • David Bentley

Video of the Week: RULES – Constantia

This particular Video of the Week is selected as much for its bizarreness as its aesthetic qualities. As NMR readers may know from a previous review, RULES are a Helsinki-based synth-pop duo. The lyrics of RULES music are based on characters from world literature.

One of the duo is Iiti Yli-Harja from the 14-year old band Pintandwefall, which is on the same label (Soliti). The lyricist is Sarra Keppola, a graduate of English and world literature. (That sounds one hell of a degree, ‘World Literature’). They teamed up with Oskari Halsti who is behind the production of the songs, as well as the drums of the live set-up.

The story behind the ‘Constantia’ video here, directed by Ansku Nousiainen, is of "Dreams of a time after corona, filmed before corona. I had a party in April 2013. Seven years later, just moments before COVID-19 hit, we recreated the party, while I was living my youth again" she says.

‘Constantia’, a track on their recently released eponymous debut album is, like much of the album, based on characters from world literature to tell the stories within the songs. This time, 'Constantia' mines the New Zealand poet and short story writer Katherine Mansfield for inspiration and especially the short story ‘The Daughters of the Late Colonel’ from her 1922 collection ‘The Garden Party’.

The story is of two secluded ladies who, after the death of their father, are beginning to realise everything they have missed in life, spending it entirely under the will of their old man. The younger daughter Constantia is young enough to wonder if she could still have the life she is yearning. The song is the imagination of her feelings expressed through physical sensations, as is also the style of writing executed in the story itself. (That sounds a little bit like an obscure take on Genesis’ ‘The Musical Box’, in which young Cynthia, kills Henry only for him to return spiritually by way of his musical box when Cynthia opens it, allowing him to experience a lifetime's sexual desire in a few moments before the box is destroyed by his nurse. Or am I reading too much into that?)

There is a sort of dichotomy here which cannot have been intended, I would have thought. ‘Constantia’ concerns making up for lost time while the video represents resigned anticipation of it.

It’s an end of the world party which degenerates into a Tupperware one and in a spin on Sergeant Pepper appears to feature a young John Lennon (0:28). With its mildly sepia-like tone and heard-loudly-through-a-wall-audio effect it is quite arty without becoming arty-farty.

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