“Scales of St. Michael” is a Jordan Raf track we first heard last year when it was released on POW recordings. Raf, a rising Los Angeles singer-songwriter, first turned heads in 2016 with the release of his debut album Double Negative, a mind-bending saga of avant-R&B, brooding soul, and electronic art-pop. Mostly, the record was a stunning introduction to Raf’s unconventional but incredibly entrancing vocal delivery.
Things have been quiet on his end since, but today, he released a music video for “Scales of St. Michael,” and well…this one’s a fucking doozy. It’s an example of just how far artists can go in sacrifice to their art, as here, Jordan Raf subjects his body to great extremes of pain and humiliation. Throughout the video, Raf is hopelessly beaten, bloodied, drawn on, strangled, forced to endure a round of Russian Roulette, shot up with syringes, pantsed, and pissed on – all by the same emotionless, shirtless assailant. All the while, Raf sings out the intimate lyrics in his throaty New Wave croon in varying degrees of (understandable) emotional duress. Though it’s disturbing to watch, the video is a vivid illustration of what human beings can endure in spite of how fragile we really are. Kristoffer Borgli directed the clip, which features random shenanigans that apparently got them banned from the Del Mar Fair. The beach at 15th Street/Powerhouse Park also makes an appearance.
There’s a provocative element to Jordan Raf’s music, which is why this video works so well in the context of the vibe he’s putting out. How real is everything in this video? That’s up for speculation, but knowing Raf from his music, I’d guess almost all of it. Additionally, “Scales of St. Michael” is the first single off his upcoming sophomore album heaven, produced by At The Barn favorites Best Picture. No word yet on a release date, but when it drops, we’ll bring you full coverage. In the meantime, watch the mayhem of “Scales of St. Michael” below.