Houston Music

Orents Stirner: The Improvised Hall Of Beauty

Orents Stirner is a local experimental-rock act that has crafted one of the oddest and most ambitious music videos that we've ever come across. "Collect My Sunshine" is a seven-minute journey though a bizarre, Muppetish hall decorated with lyrics, slogans, and bric-a-brac. A small troll doll dances through its interior, occasionally careening off walls in either rhythmic ecstasy or irresponsible madness.

Dominating one end of the maze is Orents Stirner's stylized logo. It bleeds light into the structure. Occasionally the whole mess is doused in confetti, or a viewer is drawn into a forced contemplation of hideous and cheap-looking statues. The overall effect is that of being trapped in an ever-randomizing labyrinth that is an inescapable as it is overwhelming to the senses.

The video reflects the highly improvisational nature of Orents Stirner. Randomness is built into every composition, and the fact that the band managed to build such an ambitious set to host completely unexpected movements speaks volumes of the four members' ability to work completely in tune.

A typical writing session with Orents Stirner has singer and guitarist Fletcher Stafford writing various lyrics on 2X3-inch pieces of white cardstock and hanging them where they can be used to create improvisational songs. These cards formed the walls of the maze in "Collect My Sunshine," with the interior being decorated with jars, balloons and whatever was lying around. You end up with a lost city of experimental art that we're forced to wander through.

At more than seven minutes long, there is some monotonousness to the video, and despite its frantic energy, inventive setting and just all-around brilliance, it does tend to drag on somewhat. In that it reminds us of Animal Planet's Kitten Half-Time show during the annual Puppy Bowl that they host on Super Bowl Sunday.

Confused, but happy protagonists cavort among whirling doodads, while flashing lights and confetti rain down among them. There's no meaning, no structure, just cats playing in a parody of the overblown spectacle of more legitimate art.

"Sort of yeah," said Stafford via email when we compared "Collect My Sunshine" to the Kitten Half-Time Show. "Minus the nice, swooping cameras. But, yes, definitely the same party vibe."

We've been short local music video to feature here, and even those that make it are short on a really grand vision. Orents Stirner is a band that is anything but conventional, and we look forward to more audio-cinematic mindfucks from them in the future.

Follow Rocks Off on Facebook and on Twitter at @HPRocksOff.

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Jef Rouner (not cis, he/him) is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner