“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”—Matthew 11:15
Some say that the bizarre video for Röyksopp’s “What Else Is There?” was inspired by LSD. But the profoundly personal nature of the imagery suggests otherwise. Listen carefully, the sirens of solipsism sing softly and sweetly throughout. What’s more, the storytelling is way too lucid, and the richness of the detail smacks not of the psychedelic but of the idiosyncratic, the eccentric. If it was LSD-inspired, this video wouldn’t feel so forbidding and foreign. If it was LSD-inspired, surely we would’ve run into a few familiar faces among the freaks—you know, those poorly-paid extras that people the crowd scenes in the movie of your life, the usual suspects, those popular projections of the public mind, trusty testaments to our shared cultural imagination, other known as the Jungian archetypes. If this was LSD-inspired, the greasy fingerprints of our collective unconscious would be on every glassy frame. But they’re not. In fact, comforting clichés are few and far between in this filmic fantasy.
Watch it again if you must. Dust it for prints if you will. Doubt you’ll find anything that’ll interest the DEA, but you’ll find much that’ll interest those who place stock in the interpretation of dreams. What gives “What Else Is There?” its preternatural strangeness is that it consists, in large part, of raw dream data which has yet to be refined, filtered, processed, and rationalized. It’s a wild dream, a dream that managed, against all odds, to break free, to spring forth, straight out of a human mind, a wondrously whitmanesque mind. Witness the stunning specificity, the haunting lyrics, the absence of visual clichés. What can we say of the capacious soul that gave birth to this hypnotic hymn? This person contains multitudes.
—John Faithful Hamer, The Goldfish (2016)