Musician, artist and poet, with a specific brand of surrealist humour: Devendra Banhart releases the music video for his latest single, Kantori Ongaku. Colourfully directed by Juliana and Nicky Giraffe, the title translates to “country music”, and the song is an ode to Japanese culture and electric musician Haromi Hosono.
The video is an absurd three minutes and 42 seconds, that first glimpses Banhart in a studio painted the truest of reds, gently combing a pony’s tail before a Japanese ceramic vase smashes on his head. No reaction from Mr. Cool, of course. There’s dancers wearing red full length body suits and floor length extensions, an inexplicable sauna scene and a red-carpet worthy turquoise dress (that, honestly, Banhart looks quite dashing in), alongside an infomercial-style call out for donations to the I Love Venezuela Foundation. It might all seem like too much, but there’s something about his blasé attitude hat makes it seem like this is just another day in the life for the Houston, Texas native.
This single, perhaps, also shepherds a more self-assured sound from Banhart. Where earlier work experimented with sonic exploration, Kantori Ongaku sees a more straightforward, storytelling approach to his song writing emerge. The new stripped back style suits Benhart’s voice to a tee - if you ask us, he’s never sounded so good.