Video Premiere: Mei Ohara channels Blade Runner in a quest for control in ‘Bystanders’

Last night, a few Hollywood stars came together for a film premiere in Coolidge Corner. Further down Harvard Avenue, past the point where Brookline morphs into Allston, there was a different galaxy on display at Wonderbar, where experimental electronic-pop artist Mei Ohara unearthed her latest video aesthetic, “Bystanders.”

As the sun rises this morning and peeks through the September clouds, the video, produced and directed by Jesse R. Sherman, completes its galactal-pop transmission through a lens inspired by the dystopian science fiction of Blade Runner.

“There’s an idea of who we each belong to, if not ourselves, and to what degree one runs from themselves or others to fulfill their own identities,” Mei Ohara tells Vanyaland. “The Blade Runner elements show up in the glowing eyes and dystopian visual scheme: city-line, dark color palette. Also, as a general nerd of space and science, I made sure to include make-up with a Neptunian trident — my home planet! — and a Saturn-esque silhouette on my forehead. The third of the make-up looks includes a third eye, which ties in to identity, psychological perception, and also just a futuristic/alien/non-human feeling.”

Sonically, Mei Ohara’s electric violin is distorted and processed using Native Instruments software Guitar Rig, supported by the electronic soundscape fleshed out in Propellerhead’s Reason. It adds up to a chaotically beautiful sound that sounds like nothing else. But the message underneath is inherently human.

“The song in its most direct interpretation is about escaping a toxic relationship, but like most of the tracks on the album [2013’s Inverse Energy] is also focused on the concept of the role of willpower in actively finding one’s path in life,” she adds. “Again, how much one can control the outcome of their own life.”