After releasing his fifth studio album, You’re Dead!, in October last year, Flying Lotus hasn’t stopped being hard at work. The visually captivating and complex music videos for “Never Catch Me” and “Ready Err Not” surfaced late in 2014, and already he has a new video for “Coronus, the Terminator.” The experimental producer, rapper, and electronic musician has always had a knack for the visual side of his art. He won a Short-Form Video award for “MmmHmm” at the Independent Music Awards and even did a live score for the 1962 film Heaven and Earth Magic at the Ann Arbor Film Festival back in 2011. All of his videos are rather meticulous and carefully envisioned, and “Coronus, the Terminator” is no exception.
The music video was produced by Pulse Films and directed by Young Replicant, who has worked with The xx, Purity Ring, and Lorde. The video has energy very similar to Young Replicant’s work; it’s eerie, intriguing, bold, complex, and incredibly dark. The video opens with a middle-aged man sick in bed. His family and friends gather around him, placing their hands on him, while an elderly woman readies a sponge to wash him. We see his worried look, as he envisions a young boy across the room. The boy is missing his forearm, and it’s puzzling if this boy is his son, his younger self, or a complete stranger.
Then, the sick man walks downstairs where he sees three men (one of whom is Flying Lotus himself) all ashy-white. They’re akin to statues that have come to life or some nuanced version of ghosts. The man boards an empty train, until he sees the young boy again in the back of the bus. The young boy and the three ghosts, who are now dancing, lead him outside to this odd fort, ritualistic area. The man tries to escape behind a curtain, and winds up in a whole different terrain. He’s in a ravine, with a small amount of water reaching up to his ankles. The boy, still following him, pulls out an Uzi with his prosthetic arm, which completes his character as Coronus, the Terminator, and he aims the gun at the back of his head.
“Coronus, the Terminator” is a song that explores death, and the last moments of mankind. It’s spiritual and even has remnants of gospel music, thanks to the beautiful backing vocals of Niki Randa. It’s dark, twisted, and mysterious and is perfectly envisioned through this music video. The lyrics go hand in hand with the visuals and pay homage to the 1984 film The Terminator: “The days of men are coming to an end / So come with me, if you want to live.” The cinematography throughout is natural and purposefully gloomy. The video is edited to provide a false sense of comfort, especially when it’s riddled with vague images and an out-of-body look at death or the final moments of life.
Whether his music videos are of children dancing away from their coffins in “Never Catch Me,” features twisted animation on “Ready Err Not,” or delves into the dark confines of a dying man’s last moments, we have come to expect the unexpected and perfected visual styling of the frenzied mind that is Flying Lotus.