The Rentals share video for ‘9th Configuration’

Matt Sharp of The Rentals
PHOTO: Credit: DirkMai

The Rentals have shared a lyric video for the third release lifted from ‘Q36’, 9th Configuration, created by visual artists Laia Cabrera and Isabelle Duverger (Laia Cabrera & CO.) with lyric titles designed by Yimeng Yuki Yuan. Watch the video clip via YouTube below.

Pre-order ‘Q36’ via Bandcamp

9th Configuration is inspired by both the William Peter (The Exorcist) Blatty novel ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Killer Kane’ and Blatty’s directorial debut, the film ‘The Ninth Configuration (1980)‘, starring Stacy Keach and Scott Wilson.

The song, like the book and movie, takes place in an abandoned castle that has been converted into a military psychiatric hospital, during the last years of the Vietnam War. Singer, Matt Sharp’s lead vocal narrates the story from the point of view of the novel’s protagonist, Marine psychiatrist, Colonel Vincent Kane over the psychedelic swirl of a quintessential Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips, MGMT) mix. Nick Zinner (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) has created a haunting sonic landscape of electric guitars and synthesizers to wrap around Sharp’s jagged, acoustic guitar jangle. 

The Gentle Assassins Choir takes a supporting role of a large group of half-baked Sections 8’s. This gang of deserters serenades the asylum’s most infamous patient, a cowardly astronaut named Captain Cutshaw. The beautiful voice of Alejandra Deheza (School Of Seven Bells) falls in and out of a delicate whisper that serves as the inner dialog of our very unreliable narrator. Everyone involved want to know just one thing “why is this astronaut afraid of the moon?” By the track’s finale, Zinner’s eerie score gives no answers, but creates a ghostly bed for the foreboding drums of Ronnie Vannucci (The Killers) and the moan and distant wails of Richard Dodd & Eric Gorfain’s (The Section Quartet) wild, echoing strings.

Dirk Mai Illusion photo
Dirk Mai shooting in ILLUSION

At the start of this project Matt Sharp and celebrated photographer, Dirk Mai made a pact to set sail on a photographic expedition in an altogether abstract quest to find a deeper visual meaning and better understanding of the unfolding sonic odyssey that is The Rentals’ space themed double-album, ‘Q36’. The very first steps on the yellow brick road of this adventure led them into Chris Dowson’s Flutter Experience. Flutter is an immersive Los Angeles-based art gallery with a labyrinth of intertwining rooms that transform into literal playground of interactive art installations.

Flutter Experience and its long-time partner Born This Way (Lady Gaga’s, non-profit charity) were both founded with the desire to help support mental health awareness and healing through the arts. All of the rooms, curated by Dowson, invite a diverse collection of international artists to create colorful, interactive installations where the guests of the Flutter can physically engage with the art itself. Within this Willy Wonka-like maze of a gallery, Sharp and Mai were introduced to a most remarkable room of mirrors, projection mapping and augmented reality called ‘ILLUSION’. Created by visual artists Cabrera and Duverger, in collaboration with designer Aniol Saurina Masó ‘Illusion’ has been described as a ‘Cinematic Art’, Cabrera says, “We invite our audience to step into an illusion of infinite space, experience a sensorial journey.”

To visit ‘ILLUSION’ (Until June 1, 2020) and the Flutter Experience at 217 South La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036, call (310) 658-2131

Mai and Sharp returned to this magical place multiple times to explore the endless visual possibilities contained within the 15’ x 15’ mirrored cube. Mai on the experience said, “It was extraordinary. You could simply stand in one place and everything around you would change… the lighting conditions, the depth of field, the mood of the room itself all were in constant flux.” Inside the ever-changing mood swings of ‘ILLUSION’, Sharp was inspired, with some urgency, to find a way to share this experience with folks that may be on the outside of the interactive art community. With this, he invited the two European born artists, Cabrera (Barcelona) & Duverger (Paris) to expand their creation with the help of Chinese designer/director, Yuan (Wuhan, China) and the result of this unlikely global collaboration is a six-minute, trance inducing, lyric video for The Rentals’ 9th Configuration.

9th Configuration (Lyrics: Matt Sharp)

I arrive at the asylum, a makeshift funny farm
An old abandoned castle where Section 8’s can do no harm

I’ve been sent here on assignment, the new doctor in charge!
To analyze the patients; to see who’s real and who’s a fraud

(Then there’s you) the paparazzi’s favorite, (Captain) the schizo-astronaut
(One day)
 you lost your marbles in the capsule, right before it was ready for lift off

O, Captain, why are you afraid of the moon?
Tell me your secret; I’ll share mine with you
Why did you refuse?

Le Voyage dans la Lune

You broke out of the castle; got lost into the night
You found a little biker-bar where you thought that you could hide

The King of The Angels recognized the superstar
The Demons and The Horsemen broke you like some cheap guitar

(Then there’s you) they called me to come save you, (Captain) my battered astronaut
(One day)
 Twinkle, twinkle Killer Kane came out; killed every biker on the lot

O, Captain, why are you afraid of the moon?
Tell me your secret; I’ll share mine with you
Why did you refuse?

Le Voyage dans la Lune   …dans la Lune, dans la Lune

(Then there’s you) you will find your marbles (Captain); get permission to take off
(One day)
 your status reinstated to ride on that Galactic-Molotov

Now, give me your Saint’s Medallion and just a little time
I will prove to you and the whole world there is pure-self-sacrifice

O, Captain, why are you afraid of the moon?
Now, tell me your secret, I’ve shared mine with you
O, Captain, My Captain, please tell me the truth
What kind of spaceman is afraid of the Moon?

Why did you refuse? It’s only the Moon!
Why did you refuse?

Le Voyage dans la Lune   …dans la Lune