The juxtaposition of power and desperation in dub legend Lee “Scratch” Perry‘s 1978 classic “Soul Fire” is as relevant today as it was back then. He croons about a “burnin’ in my soul,” and then a verse later wails with desperation, “And we ain’t got no water/ We ain’t got no water.” It’s heavy.
It’s that juxtaposition that drives and inspires D.C. electronic-dance trio Light Beams‘ “Soul Fire Part II (For Lee Perry),” and its accompanying music video. “‘[The song] is a meditation on the perils of navigating identity in the postcolonial era,” says vocalist Justin Moyer (who, full disclosure is a former City Paper contributor).
In the music video Moyer escapes the clutches of some nefarious characters, fleeing to a TV studio where he and his bandmates Sam Lavine and Arthur Noll perform live on air, only for his pursuers to try and intervene. Music video directing duo Benjamin Epstein and David Combs, of The Max Levine Ensemble,did the project through their company Baby Pony Food.
“I wanted to write a song as joyful and horrifying as Lee Scratch Perry’s ‘Soul Fire,’ and this is what I came up with, and thought David and Ben tapped into these ideas in an delightfully indirect, user-friendly fashion,” Moyer explains.
Light Beams’ self-titled cassette is now available via Don Giovanni Records.