Avatari’s video for “High Like This” might well come with the warning, ‘Not appropriate for those with a fear of clowns’ because it’s a music visual prominently featuring a particularly creepy looking clown-ish figure. In part, too, the video references Peter Gabriel’s “Big Time,” especially the way facial images appear jittery and sped up at times. It leaves the overall impression that if you’re going to get high, you certainly don’t want to get high like THIS.
Avatari is a solo project of musician, actor and songwriter Ari Welkom. Welkom has much experience fronting Los Angeles rock bands and performing at major festivals around the country. As he describes it, though, Avatari is the sound that best synthesizes his creative expression. This particular example of his music can best be described as pop music with a distinct edge to it.
The demonic looking clown vision, one imagines, is what this person sees/feels when he’s high. It’s been said that even a relatively softer drug like marijuana can affect people differently. While many feel a little woozy and relaxed when they smoke weed, others might become paranoid and completely avoid the stuff. Thus, getting high is not always a ‘high’ for everyone. This is not to suggest Avatari is making a commentary on pot use (or any other drug use, for that matter). However, it may well be one plausible interpretation of the visual he’s created for his single.
Musically, “High Like This” is a fairly traditional pop song. It may remind you of ‘90s music, in that it has a memorable melody with a strong vocal. It also features layered backing vocals over a kind of music hall arrangement. There are two (and possibly three) instances of Welkom himself in the video. One is the man looking exactly how he looks in real life. Normal. The second is Welkom appearing with dark eyes and not unlike a deranged mental patient. Lastly, although it’s difficult to tell for sure with the top hat, multicolored hair and face makeup, it might also actually be Welkom playing the scary clown.
At one point during the song, Welkom wonders if he’s running from his nightmares or running from his dreams. This is a rather typical addict’s question. When it comes to substance abuse, the most important question oftentimes is why. Why self-medicate? What are you trying to escape from? Before you can fully stop running, you first need to figure out what you’re running from. It’s not a question Welkom answers with this song/video. That answer is different for everyone. Heck, this may not even be a personal question for Welkom at all. Nevertheless, you can’t be in the highly competitive, many times extremely ego-fragile entertainment business (as he is) without encountering many substance abusing individuals.
As a piece of art, Avatari’s “High Like This” makes a strong statement. One can view it as a good representation of negative lifestyles. It may also serve as a warning against never letting recreational drug use turn into a personal demon. Needless to say, this is no happy clown in it, and the scene is miles away from child’s play.
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