Created at 180 Studios XR space at 180 The Strand, Actual Objects draw inspiration from Holy Motors and Under The Skin in a sci-fi horror thrill ride starring Martyna Maja, the artist known as VTSS.
‘Notoriously Fast’ is the latest excursion from producer VTSS into hell-for-leather, techno pop territory, arriving as the last of four emotive, vocal-led tracks that make up her debut EP for Ninja Tune, Circulus Vitiosus. With each cut from the project exploring a different side to the multi-faceted character that is VTSS, ‘Notoriously Fast’ finds the artist at terminal velocity, barrelling into the depths of her own speed freak nature without pausing for breath.
Working in collaboration with former Fact Residents Actual Objects for the track’s visual, the artist born Martyna Maja is cast as both esoteric alien biker and the sinister sea siren in the pursuit of which the biker races, a nocturnal chase that sees the roles of hunter and prey becoming indistinct from one another. Drawing inspiration from Leos Carax’s modern classic Holy Motors and Jonathan Glazer’s astonishing Under The Skin, Case Miller, Claire and Rick Farin seamlessly blend live footage, CGI and A.I.-assisted imaging to create a high-speed fever dream steeped in sci-fi horror and visceral surrealism.
“The whole process was fast; it was a fast-forming friendship between the three of us, a fast collaboration that came together in just a few weeks, and the video features me riding a motorcycle, so it’s very on brand with the ‘fast’ narrative,” explains Maja. Filmed using the XR Stage at 180 Studios, ‘Notoriously Fast’ makes use of pre-configured virtual environments, against which physical effects can be captured, often imperceptibly. “Sometimes we like to remind people of how we transform environments and certain spaces by leaving in something that breaks down the illusion and shows our process,” says Claire Farin. “For example, in the ‘Notoriously Fast ‘video, the XR stage we used at the studio ended up being far more realistic than we ever imagined, so we left in a shot where Martyna and the background don’t sync up and it’s obvious she’s not physically and literally riding a motorcycle along a motorway tunnel.”
“With this video, we really tried to play around and blur the lines between what’s real, where things were shot and how things were made,” continues Rick. “We want people to question where things are taking place; is this a liminal space? Is it all CGI? It’s about the push and pull between nature and technology and how they’re not always so separate. It’s all kind of merged together, which is something we do with all our projects.” Seeking to collapse distinctions between the technological and the natural, in ‘Notoriously Fast’, Actual Objects constantly blur the digital and the physical together, as though the sheer speed at which this facet of Maya’s character moves enables her to shift between states, from hunted to hunter, from NPC to avatar, from Martyna Maya to VTSS.
‘Notoriously Fast’ is taken from Circulus Vitiosus, which is out now on Ninja Tune.
Following the extra-curricular electronica of her ‘Projections’ EP for Technicolour released earlier this year, Polish techno misfit VTSS takes another sharp turn as an artist in ascendance with the vocal-led mutant pop of her long awaited and highly speculated debut for Ninja Tune, ‘Circulus Vitiosus’. Across four tracks, her musical character steps further into the light, backed up by razor-sharp production. Today, alongside unveiling with ‘Circulus Vitiosus’’ the meaning behind her alias, VTSS (real name Martyna Maja) shares hypnotic new single “Incredibly Annoying” alongside a striking video directed by Furmaan Ahmed and Vasso Vujovic (who have previously shot Willow Smith, SOPHIE and Dorian Electra).
As a DJ, Martyna Maja cuts an imposing figure in the realm of explosive, hard-edged techno, while her productions have moved from disruptive variations of club music towards a more diverse, highly personal strain of electronica. On ‘Projections’, Maja allowed VTSS to glide between tempos and energies without losing the bite inherent in her sound. This evolution doubles down on Circulus Vitiosus (a Latin phrase Maja took her artist name from meaning an endless energetic feedback loop of cause and effect wherein something negative can lead to something beautiful, or indeed the reverse) as a bold, vocal-led collection which represents Maja in the truest incarnation of her creative identity to date.
Across four tracks she embraces a set of characters too raw and relatable to be entirely fictional, but with enough exaggeration to leave you wondering how much she’s really given away. In this period of semi-confessional pop exploration, she emerges as an empowered, fully realised version of herself from the fiercest dimensions of her ego to the gnawing flaws and threads of self-doubt. “There are many ways to tie Circulus Vitiosus to my lyrics and the idea of a person who’s self aware and accepts who she is,” says Maja. “The EP is another chapter of this VTSS character, which was put together in four letters when the doors were closed, and now the doors are opened.”
Martyna has quickly established herself as one of the most vital, uncompromising and visible rising artists around. She has a huge following on social media, where she is not afraid to call out misogyny, homophobia and racism in the comments. As a DJ, Martyna cuts an imposing figure in the realm of explosive, hard-edged techno, while her productions have moved from disruptive variations of club music towards a more diverse, highly personal strain of electronica. Previously a fixture at Berghain, VTSS has made her name as a formidable, shape-shifting DJ in the underground club scene, playing much-lauded sets across the globe and for her NTS residency. She debuted her boundry pushing new live show at Primavera Sound alongside closing the biggest dance stage and going B2B with Evian Christ, plus played a stand-out B2B set with Daniel Avery at this year’s Glastonbury. She is also playing Dekmantel, Dour Festival and Maiden Voyage festival (B2B with Objekt) amongst many others in the coming months. Alongside curating her own night ‘For Your Entertainment’ at various UK venues, Martyna will be playing Warehouse Project later in the year and embarking on a North America tour in September and South America during November.
From recently released ‘Make You Scream’s deadeye hooks and devastating seduction to the self-reflexive, low-slung ‘Incredibly Annoying’, the knotty production and sharp-tongued lyricism of ‘Notoriously Fast’ to the provocative, empowered fever-dream ‘Body Mind Hell’, “Circulus Vitiosus” finds Maja exploring the depth and breadth of VTSS.
‘Incredibly Annoying’ is out now on Ninja Tune, with EP “Circulus Vitiosus” out 16th September.