Film Code Odessa: “Evergreen”
Evergreen is the idea of a slowly receding island of lush greenery in an otherwise barren wasteland. The last habitable place on a planet, run by the elite, with a band of exiled scavengers living on scraps in the outskirts. The video clip was shoted in Odessa for Black Orchid Empire by Alina Gordienco.
The last instalment in the Film Code series is the ‘Evergreen’ music video, directed by Alina Gordienco for the British alternative rock band Black Orchid Empire. Carrying on with the sci-fi theme of the Sophomore album, this video is set in the historical Odessa Astronomical observatory and features space themed special effects, as well exceptional choreography by Dmitriy Mikhaylov.
Having been the first single to be released from the album, ‘Evergreen’ sets the celestial stage and brings the sci-fi concept of Sophomore to visual form.
The story narrative follows the alien protagonist played by Dmitriy Mikhaylov, as he seeks refuge in the observatory from the post-apocalyptic world outside and begins a mystical process of rebuilding life.
Built in 1871, the landmark setting of the Odessa Astronomical observatory was essential for Alina Gordienco, as the place holds personal ties to her.
As a child I went there quite a lot with my school, its always so mysterious and felt like its the only place where you can open some secrets of space and space bodies there.Alina Gordienco
Taking influence from the deeply symbolic music videos of the band Tool, for Alina Gordienco the same process of applying iconography to the story plays a vital role in emphasising the post-apocalyptic atmosphere. For the styling of the main character, to achieve an element of ‘alchemic’ flare combined with sci-fi avant-garde, Odessa based clothing Brand Nimble Scissors by designer Elena Kosenko was worn, alongside jewellery by LA brand Alligator Jesus.
Alina Gordienco came up with the video treatment, which portrays an artistic interpretation of the lyric, and shot an incredible narrative sequence in Odessa. We were floored with what she put together – it perfectly complements the music and conjures the same visuals we had in our heads for the song. It blew us away!Paul Visser
Using a steadicam, the opening shot reveals the interior space of the observatory, in the centre of which is the unique T Cooke & Sons telescope which was made in 1865 and is unique to the northern hemisphere since the only remaining twin telescope lies in Melbourne, Australia.
As the alien protagonist is introduced to the viewer, so too is the small bell jar which holds the only living life form left in the post-apocalyptic environment. Behind the telescope, white canvases display ancient celestial symbols, of which similar silhouetted shadows are projected onto Black Orchid Empire during the clips of the bands studio performance.
By linking the scenes through symbolism and images, the challenging aspect of combining footage between London and Ukraine is resolved in a seamless approach. For Alina Gordienco, the choreography sequence created by Dmitriy Mikhaylov becomes a “significant part of the video”, marking the pinnacle moment in which the alien character observes a conjunction of planets.
Black Orchid Empire create huge, memorable rock music that combines heavy-hitting savagery with intense melodic beauty. Their technical, fearlessly complex grooves and gigantic sing-along choruses have already earned them a widespread fanbase.
Evergreen is one of our favourite tracks on Semaphore. It’s full of really interesting chord progressions, riffs and melodies that somehow come together and make perfect sense. It came from a guitar riff that I had knocking around for a while that Dave and Billy found a home for. The middle instrumental section is something we haven’t done for a while – it just felt right to take the song on a journey from quite empty and sparse to full-on insanity.Paul Visser
“Semaphore” is available for pre-order here.
The final clip reveals an opened bell jar with flourishing vines extending from the small plant along the observatory walls, signalling the theme of renewal as well as a second chance of life. For Alina Gordienco, the ultimate message of “new life and new beginning” gives hope and carries on in the trilogy of Black Orchid Empire videos, with alien life landing on Earth in ‘Natural Selection’.