Dreams can fuel the most weirdly honest and engaging art. Theatrical by nature, Long Beach avant-garde artist Katie Burden takes liberties with her own dreamscapes to construct a wonderfully affecting and bizarre new video called “Edge of Sleep,” premiering today on American Songwriter.
Burden swims between this world and the next, a transient soul lost in a purgatory of her own creation. “Japanese tattoo / Pale yellow teeth / Slow she walks to me / Floor beneath her weeps…” her words flake as dried, cracked paint. A mental haze shrouds her immediate present, and she quickly loses touch with reality and truth. “This is the strangest dream…”
“There’s that ancient Toltec wisdom that describes our conscious life as a waking dream that we sort of project into the world,” Burden said. “‘Edge of Sleep’ refers to an occurrence that shakes one from their waking dream and brings about a new perspective or way of seeing.”
Later, Burden unfurls even more eerie imagery. “Why could I, could I not see her eyes / I am brave in my own way / Always rolling that rock man,” she moans. “I am brave in my own way / Always roll / From the edge of sleep.”
Burden teamed with director Audrey Ellis Fox (Momoko) and director of photography Aiden Ulrich (Lukas Graham) to bring the song to life. “I found a delightfully colorful yet neglected house from a bygone era that a developer was set to demolish within a few days,” said Fox, “and knew I had to shoot something there. When Katie sent over ‘Edge of Sleep,’ it was the perfect match for the setting.”
The heavy emotion is also explored through Burden’s mesmerizing dance routine – switching between pristine, swan-like movements and jerking sequences. Every piece serves a purpose to the story and the narrator’s psychological journey, which soars to mountain peaks before caving into blackness. “The song is a haunting anthem laced with nostalgia and yearning,” Fox added. “I had a vision of Katie, trapped in both the house and her subconscious. I wanted to magnify the surreal, by creating multiple Katies, all vying to escape from their minds and their surroundings.”
“Edge of Sleep” is the title track to Burden’s new EP, expected in March 2020 on Cautionary Tail Records. It is the follow-up to 2016’s acclaimed full-length, Strange Moon.
Watch “Edge of Sleep” below.