Plastic-wrapped mandrake siren? Your guess is as good as ours.To whom it may concern.iamamiwhoami
is a Sweden-based electronic project produced and fronted by Jonna Lee. iamamiwhoami is known both for its off-kilter take on electronica and dream pop; and for its usage of new media: nearly every song is audiovisual, meaning it is preferably seen as a video; and each release leads directly into the next
. Short clips began appearing on Youtube on December 4, 2009, leading many to speculate that the then-anonymous project was being backed by The Knife, Goldfrapp, Trent Reznor
or even Lady Gaga
. A second arc of nine videos later appeared, chronicling the discovery and captivity of a mandragora (a mythical plant-based creature, here explored for its Enthralling Siren
qualities) played by Lee. These were later released as the album bounty
. Lee's identity wasn't revealed until "t", in which her face appeared unobscured for the first time.
The project took a different turn when iamamiwhoami invited fans to choose a representative to participate with them. A German known only by his Youtube handle of "ShootUpTheStation" was instructed to film his journey, leading up to a performance art concert in the woods that was streamed online in November 2010. The hour-long event contained new arrangements of bounty
and showed the seduction and cremation
of ShootUpTheStation. The event was only streamed once
, though audio of it was released on iTunes for over a year. Their first actual concert was at the Way Out West Festival, which was advertised with a song only available by calling a phone number.
Their debut album kin
was released June 11, 2012. Like bounty
before it, each song off the album received a video, all of which were released on their YouTube
channel bi-weekly up until the release of kin
itself. The previously digital-only collection bounty
got a physical release a year later. In 2014, without warning, the single "fountain" was released online, along with the introduction of WAVE, a digital art collective between iamamiwhoami and two film designers.
- kin (2012)
- bounty (2013; originally released online 2010-2011)
Contains examples of:
- all lowercase letters: everything but "Prelude 699130082.451322-126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.14.1.12" and IN CONCERT.
- Alone in a Crowd: At the end of play.
- Ascetic Aesthetic: The video 20101104; set in a sterile white-colored residence.
- Anonymous Band: Formerly. iamamiwhoami kept silent about names and identities for almost two years, finally speaking about the project in 2012, although it was already known that Jonna Lee and her long-time producer Claes Bjorklund were behind iamamiwhoami. It was later revealed the duo were collaborating with director Robin Kempe-Bergman, cinematographer John Strandh and set producer Agustin Moreaux for the visuals aspects of the project.
- Arc Words: "To whom it may concern."
- Ash Face: Played for Drama in the IN CONCERT version of "y".
- Anti-Love Song: "o".
- Awesome Moment of Crowning: "t".
- Brown Note: According to the myth, the screams of the mandrake root plant when dig up would kill all who hear it. During "184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168155", the mandragora screams at a black dog barking at her, who is implied to have died in the next video.
- Call Back: Some of the videos from kin make direct references to the bounty era videos. As each video takes place after the one before it, this is bound to happen.
- Concept Video: To the point that every video on her YouTube channel more or less links straight into the next one.
- Continuity Nod: In "t", Jonna sings "I'm on a hunt to find the cure," which is later referenced in goods: "Now we found the cure."
- Cryptic Conversation: Her exclusive interview with Bullett magazine consisted of her own song lyrics as answers to questions.
- Dark-Skinned Blonde: When Jonna has Ash Face or a lot of dark makeup (most of bounty, particularly "n" and "y").
- Demonic Dummy: The puppet of the Mandragora in "u-1".
- Dream Pop / Shoegazing
- Dream Sequence: The video for "in due order" is implied to be one within the kin narrative, even though she wakes up in the outfit she was dreaming in.
- Drone of Dread: Used as intros and outros to various songs.
- Dying Dream: 20101104 depicts a double suicide, who are thought to be the "real" bodies of the mandragora and the "bearded" man.
- Enthralling Siren: Par for the course with the mandrake imagery used throughout bounty and the first videos, but especially in "b", "u-1" and "u-2".
- Epic Tracking Shot: the concert version of "u-2".
- Female Feline, Male Mutt: The black cat gets associated with the mandragora; the black dog(s) with the human men.
- Foil: Appearing in sequence, "play" and "in due order". The former is a frolicking romp whose video is set in a barn where Jonna and the monsters dance carelessly, the latter a no-nonsense militant stomper performed to a strictly choreographed routine in a completely sterile IKEA-esque room.
- Floorboard Failure: Several consecutive times in the appropriately named drops.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Much of the video for clump is a shot of Jonna's head bouncing to the beat as she lies on a bed, as if someone is just above her on the same bed.
- "I Am" Song: "."note
- Idea Bulb: The imagery is invoked on "y", when Lee climbs out of a tree and receives a glowing bulb from its hole.
- Indecipherable Lyrics: 22.214.171.124.5.723378.
- Innocent Fanservice Girl: In "t" where Lee marches around a forest in the nude nonchalantly.
- Jittercam / Jump Cut: ShootUpTheStation's handheld videos of his journey.
- Le Film Artistique:
- bounty: A mandragora blossoms from nature, only to be captured by humans and used for its healing song properties. The mandragora eventually is corrupted enough to be a prostitute. And it may have all been a dream.
- kin: A woman is confronted and dragged across miles by large hairy beasts, only to be struck by lightning and engage in a fevered dream state. She awakes, returns to the apartment building where she began and escapes into the desert via her closet. Or she's dreaming that too. As she closes a door on herself into a black void, she appears dancing in an-all black room, which is revealed to be a rotating black cube on a table.
- Looped Lyrics: "u-2" which consists of "You can't be the knight."
- Lyrical Dissonance: Many, if you look up the lyrics. The most clear example is t, which is an upbeat track despite the suicide by drowning lyrics in the chorus, "Water fills her lungs and she's inhaling."
- Madness Mantra: "Come on, just kill this." in 'kill.
- Minimalistic Cover Art: For the album cover of both kin and bounty, and the singles' covers. The covers are supposed to represent the cubes (kin's black cube as seen in "goods" and bounty's white cube as seen in fountain.)
- Mood Whiplash: goods.
- Murder by Cremation: what iamamiwhoami does to ShootUpTheStation in the concert.
- Nature Spirit
- New Sound Album: This is quite different from anything else associated with Lee's old music. Also, compared to bounty, kin is starker and more minimal, subsequently spawning some They Changed It, Now It Sucks arguments.
- Non-Appearing Title: All the songs of bounty except clump.
- One-Letter Title: All bounty songs spell out the album's name, with the exception of the later releases, ; john and clump.
- The Oner: IN CONCERT consists of several lengthy takes strung together with stealthy editing to appear seamless. Some of the edits are noticeable, particularly the abrupt continuity changes seen when the cardboard coffin is sealed. ShootUpTheStation's handheld footage at the start lasts just under 10 minutes before cutting to a film-grade camera for the rest of the video. The final shot lasts over 16 minutes.
- Rapunzel Hair: Varies each video, but is usually quite long; she wears a dress made out of hair extensions during IN CONCERT.
- Sanity Slippage Song: After iamamiwhoami is struck by thunder in play, her appearance looks disoriented. kin could probably be considered a Sanity Slippage Album.
- Scenery Porn: On full display in the film for kin. The video for "fountain" is six and a half straight minutes of this trope.
- Self-Backing Vocalist: Lee herself.
- Singing Simlish: "126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.18.1.1110"
- Starts with a Suicide: 20101104
- Subdued Section: In the middle part of y.
- Surreal Music Video: Almost every music video of iamamiwhoami.
- The Reveal: The video for t was the first time Jonna Lee's face appeared entirely free of makeup or obstruction.
- They Have the Scent: The black dogs in "184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168155".
- Uncommon Time: "u-2" is in 7/4 time. The remix of both parts of "u" by Khonnor suggests that "u-1" is also in 7/4, despite its apparent lack of a time signature.
- Viewers Are Geniuses: A working knowledge of mandrake root folklore (including the German novel Alraune) helps to understand the Prelude and bounty series of videos. Each of bounty videos links to another user's video as a parallel, often requiring lateral thinking to get the connection between them.
- The lateral thinking trick was used again with "; john" and "clump". The semi-colon marks the differentiation between the rest of bounty and these two songs, and the metaphors from the previous 7 videos are really straightened out in these 2.
- The prelude series of videos introduced a riddle that was sent, in full, to a journalist at MTV. Clues peppered the group's first 13 videos on Youtube. The solution was revealed during their streamed concert film IN CONCERT, one full year after the riddle was put out into the wild. [[spoiler: Each of the six animals shown produces a sound similar to a letter in the word "bounty" (in order: goat braying, owl hooting, whale singing, bee buzzing, llama spitting and monkey crying.)
- Visible Boom Mic: Purposefully in shot early on during IN CONCERT, but played straight towards the end.
- White Void Room: The ending of kill.
- Weird Swedish Thing: One of the most prominent.
- Wild Hair: After being struck by lightning during play.
- World of Symbolism: The amount present within the series has led to a few Epileptic Trees.