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First Watch: Carolina Eyck, 'Leyohmi'


Genard Ptah Blair dances to Carolina Eyck's music in a magical video directed by Sonia Malfa.
Sonia Malfa
Genard Ptah Blair dances to Carolina Eyck's music in a magical video directed by Sonia Malfa.

Need a moment to get away from it all? Here's your escape — a serene and bewitching video that calms the wearied mind.

Set to the otherworldly music of Carolina Eyck at the Innisfree Garden in Millbrook, N.Y., director Sonia Malfa's six-minute fantasy unfolds like a dream, propelled by Genard Ptah Blair's expressive dancing. Eyck plays the theremin, the early electronic instrument with a slithery sound, and improvises over parts she composed for string quartet, played by members of the American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME).

After the opening shot — skimming over a misty lake, escorted by an egret — we meet Blair, who plays a man both bemused and inspired by his natural surroundings. Practicing a style of dance native to Brooklyn known as flexing, Blair bends his body like taffy, turning in lyrical circles, mesmerized by lights at the tips of his fingers which flit like fireflies in the dusky forest.

"Leyohmi" means luminescence. Although Eyck and her record producer made up the word by twisting a few Scandinavian languages together, it becomes a lodestar for Malfa, who plays with light in evocative ways.

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There's a kind of comforting, Garden-of-Eden innocence to "Leyohmi." The final shot — captured, like many of the striking aerial views, by a drone — pulls back farther and farther, no sign of civilization in sight.

Carolina Eyck's album Fantasia for Theremin and String Quartet is out Oct. 14 on Butterscotch.

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