M.I.A. gets in the middle of the worldwide refugee crisis with "Borders," which puts a massive cast to use in illustrating how the issue only gets more and more gigantic. And although it's not as visceral a video as her "Born Free," it should still make an impact thanks to the timeliness and the scale of what's on screen.
"Matahdatah Scroll 01 Broader Than A Border" is actually two songs/videos in one: "Swords" and "Warriors," both consisting of on-location footage from West Africa and India. As is usually the case with M.I.A., things seems constantly on-the-verge of danger, even when the footage is as potetentially innocuous as a group of kids playing (with swords) and a man dancing. (Also a neat trick? Mainataining that edge and outsider status, while premiering the video with a big corporate partner like Apple Music)
M.I.A.: "I directed and edited my first music video for "Warriors" for my last album, MATANGI, and I held it back until now, because it inspired me to make a whole series of songs and videos on the concept of borders. Making songs and videos at the same time out of a suitcase on location is something I did on my album KALA, but its video, as well as music, made by me in a very ARULAR way.
My new song ‘Swords’ was filmed in a Temple in India and we recorded the clang of the metal to make the beat at the same time as shooting these incredible girls. There's ten more of these countries coming and I haven't chased where to go yet, so who knows where this project will take me. ‘Warriors’ was shot in Cote d'Ivoire with a guy I saw in a youtube video doing the most incredible dancing. I tracked down that exact guy, flew out there and played him the ‘Warriors’ track. He did his thing for me. He is a spiritual warrior and communicates through dancing. It's a lifelong commitment for him to be the designated spiritual body that channels that dance.
The concept for this LP is ”broader then a border" and MATAHDATAH is the journal of MATANGI. Sometimes I move vertical and sometimes I move horizontal."
This apparently leaked teaser for a possibly never-to-be finished M.I.A. documentary looks awesome, delving into the personal, the political and the musical, ending on her telling quote, "I could be a genius, I could be a cheat. It's a thin line. And I'm fuckin' with it."
M.I.A. has a certain knack for thriving upon culture clashes and this first new video in a while — "Bring The Noize," off her forthcoming Matangi album — has all the elements in place, but things never hit the visual crescendo you might be expecting. (aka: No Gingers were harmed)