‘The Body of Songs’ is a collaborative project organised by Radio 1 DJ Gemma Cairney. It features Afrikan Boy, Ghostpoet, Bat For Lashes, Goldie, Sam Lee and more alongside 2 Bears’ Raf Rundell. It is a challenge designed to bring some of our most talented UK artists together to create music taken from the mysterious goings-on inside our body, and these artists views on these essential, or possibly less essential, functions. Each artist must choose a body part or organ as a starting point, the collection is comprised of 10 songs, thus, 10 body parts. Raf, rather unexpectedly, chose the appendix.
Raf impressively worked with 3 doctors, one being a pathologist and one a surgeon, to create the education he needed to fully examine and create a piece about this unlikely marvel that is the appendix. I must admit, I did a double take when I read his rather obscure choice. However, his justification for this is actually rather majestic.
“It’s a bit of an obtuse choice but I was genuinely interested in the idea of it. There’s all these amazing, complex, crucial organs in the body. The appendix is surplus to requirements and according to most of the clinicians I spoke to, worse than useless. An accident waiting to happen. I thought it would be an interesting starting point for a song. I spoke to a very smart man called Dr.William Parker from Duke University in Carolina USA. He was the first person who really had anything good to say about the poor old appendix. According to him it’s been rendered useless by the super-sanitised world we live in now. It was originally there to repopulate the gut with good bacteria but in “hygienic” societies there’s nothing much for it to do. Appendicitis is something to do with auto-immunity apparently. Anyways the good Dr compared the appendix to a bored teenager with nothing to do. I really liked this idea and took it as a starting point.”
It is evident that Raf‘s choice inspired some extremely alternative creative angles with the song, music video, and the concept of a character with a bad reputation who is branded ‘useless’ ‘unnecessary’ and even ‘more harm than good’, can actually become somewhat relatable in our society. I never thought I would sympathise with an organ, but this animation personified the character so brilliantly I couldn’t help it. Raf really explored new angles with his chosen organ, and brought an entirely new perspective to the concept of a seemingly vestigial organ.
The song is called ‘(Ooh Ah) Carolina’. It comprises of a groovy undertone, topped with slightly muffled and mellow vocals which echo the emotions the appendix character appears to be feeling, but an electronic funk beat to accompany.
The animated video, premiered on NMEs Youtube channel, is oddly captivating. The different body parts are personified in a child like way, which establishes an emotional connection to the appendix character, because he is unhappy compared to his counterparts who exist with a clear purpose within the body, which itself is portrayed as a house with everyone else partaking in an activity in each room. ‘Ooh ooh, ah ah’s begin almost immediately, and this creates a cool, fun vibe. But then we cut to the basement, where the appendix resides in a dark room playing a games console alone, and the vocals come in with the line “sitting here for all these years without a thing to do”. This is not only related to the appendix’s function, and how it has become less needed in an overly hygienic society, but can also relate to ourselves, to those lazy days we all have, where all motivation is gone and we feel generally glum and blue.
The animation develops into something wild and wacky and pretty trippy when it delves into the happenings of the video game, and the deterioration of the life of the appendix. The groove is felt throughout, but the vocals become layered with electronic sounds as the song progresses to culminate in a rather sickly plot twist.
The project album is due for release on the 27th November. Check out the other artists creations surrounding their chosen body part here