A surprise sequel to the experimental filmmaker’s 2021 film, Ravaged By The Sun (American Cannibalism).
Back in 2021 experimental filmmaker, musician and multimedia artist Edward Quist, better known by his mysterious alias, embryoroom, channeled a year’s worth of pandemic-induced angst, anguish and anxiety into Ravaged By The Sun (American Cannibalism), an ambitious, feature-length collage of stroboscopic imagery, textural CGI and a seething score of desolate electronics and chilly techno. A nihilistic sci-fi response to being locked down in New York City, Ravaged By The Sun is set in a world in which the Coney Island amusement park has been transformed into a concentration camp guarded by bio-engineered zombies and the Empire State Building serves as a relay antenna transmitting a death ray used for submission and control in a totalitarian America. In the sequel, Escape From Coney Island, Quist explores this world further, pitching headlong into a breathless sprint of monochrome and fire. Featuring sound and performance from Ilpo Väisänen of Pan Sonic, the “dark magus of the American underground” John Duncan, Helsinki-based, Italian duo Nona Et Decima, NYC artists Karpinski and Qvorg and Mute Records engineer Paul Kendall, the film sees Quist inviting a new cast of collaborators to engage with the world of Ravaged By The Sun.
“Brain fog is a symptom of our time,” explains writes collaborator and cultural theorist Alexei Monroe. “Two years into the pandemic and weeks into the catastrophic war in the Ukraine, many are numb and digitally shell-shocked. Nothing cuts through and each new shock is witnessed passively. This ‘new’ symptom is itself the result of over two decades of web-based digital information overload. This can be even more marked in those of us who spent decades attending or performing at intense, audiovisual techno and electronic events. We’ve seen and heard so much electronic intensity. Numbness can creep in, making it hard for anything to really cut through and disturb or inspire us. The tragedy of indifference is unfolded before us. The decaying, serially overloaded senses – the withered cultural muscles – the metaphorical toll of the bell.”
Drawing on Quist’s love of ’60s cathode ray television aesthetics, as well as obscure televisual references such as the original run of The Twilight Zone, the pioneering title sequences and the BBC’s Radiophonic Workshop’s score of Doctor Who, as well as old TV test cards, Monroe traces the connections between Quist’s love of science fiction and horror and his disturbing caricature of an America divided by surveillance and propaganda. “After a brief, ominous introduction, jaded senses are pressed into service by infinitely strobing, ever-evolving signals that seem to infest and to haunt the screen. Biomechanical demons, tortured prisoners contorted into anguished digital caricatures and an ever-intensifying soundtrack propel the viewer forward relentlessly.”
“Quist reunites with another old collaborator, the great Ilpo Vaisanen of Pan Sonic,” continues Monroe. “Quist filmed many of Pan Sonic’s intense performances in 1999 and some of this rich material found its way into the seminal 2008 Kuvaputki DVD. The ghostly, distorted visual textures of this eeriest of concert films has surely filtered through into embryoroom’s audiovisual techniques as can be seen in some of the blurred motion trails surrounding the human figures seen in the film. With the benefit of hindsight, some of the ghostly figures seen in Kuvaputki could almost fit into the new film.” Careening towards a climax of catharsis, Escape From Coney Island concludes in flames of both destructive power and of hopeful renewal, the twisted, mechanised abominations of man melted down, paving the way for for whatever comes next. embryoroom will return.
For more information about Edward Quist’s work as embryoroom, you can follow him on Instagram or visit his website. You can find the score for Escape From Coney Island at Bandcamp.
Escape From Coney Island Credits:
Producer, Director – Edward Quist
Soundtrack – Ilpo Väisänen of Pan Sonic, John Duncan, Nona Et Decima, Qvorg, Paul Kendall and embryoroom
Second Unit Camera – Lyydia Osara
Production Assistant – Kamil Karpinski
Custom Sound Equipment – Lateral Sound UK
1. Ministry of Fear / Astroland – embryoroom (00.00)
2. Anodyne Tunnel / Terminal Wonder Wheel – embryoroom (8:42)
3. Bio Cell / Electric Throne – embryoroom [Feat. Nona Et Decima] (Karpinski Remix) (13:24)
4. Psychogenic killgrid / Screen Memory – embryoroom (20:29)
5. Archetype Implant / Dark Island – Qvorg (24:41)
6. Reanimated War Cadaver / Ghost of Chance – John Duncan, embryoroom (28:42)
7. Ministry of Disease / The 5th Vial – embryoroom [Feat. Paul Kendall] (32:45)
8. The Last Human / American Cannibalism – Ilpo Väisänen (39:51)
9. Shadow Sporogenesis, Dispersal / Primitive Injection – embryoroom) (44:47)
10. End Credits (52:06)
Watch next: Experimental filmmaker embryoroom presents Ravaged By The Sun (American Cannibalism)