KETTAMA and filmmakers Hugh Mulhern and Ed Fay follow a secretive cult of alien hunters around Galway.
“What’s the story with the mad paranormal vibes in your gaff?” So begins Irish filmmaker Hugh Mulhern‘s enigmatic visual for the soaring rave monolith ‘Fly Away XTC’ from Galway’s own KETTAMA. Finding extraterrestrial mystery in the transcendent nostalgia of the centrepiece of the producer and DJ’s EP Fallen Angel, Mulhern joins forces with Ed Fay for a joyous investigation into a secretive collective of believers with their sights set squarely on the skies. “We had been hearing a lot about UFO sightings since lockdown becoming more frequent in Ireland and wanted to investigate it,” explain Mulhern and Fay. “The music video is sort of a teaser for a much larger project between myself and Ed on UFO sightings in Ireland.” Collating footage collected over the course of a week spent with the group’s members, as well as interviews with former members of the group, the filmmakers document a series of summoning rituals, tracing the connections between Celtic imagery, depicted variously in tattoos, crop circles and in the tyre skids of their souped-up customs.
Aligning the loose freedom of rave and the shimmering optimism of ’90s trance with faith in the unknown and belief in something bigger, Mulhern and Fay tap into KETTAMA’s invocation of the openness of his youth. “Fallen Angel is inspired by the feeling of nostalgia I had when I used to listen to classic trance tracks during my younger years,” KETTAMA reflects. Grandiose sentiments of peace, love, unity and respect are imbued within the collective’s contact with unknown entities. When asked to recall said contact, one of the group’s member’s recalls the message received as: “behind the facade of your life there is something beautiful.” Another ex-member finds a more knowable face of this power in the earth itself. “The only thing I truly believe in and worship is mother nature,” he asserts. “Because it’s undoubtedly. It can’t be doubtedly.” United in a shared belief in something bigger, something more spectacular, illuminated in the sci-fi shimmer of Mulhern’s lens, ‘Fly Away XTC’ is unleashed as both a broadcast to the unknown and a homage to KETTAMA’s come up in Galway, harnessing the vitality of each in a love letter to the ecstatic.
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