Video premiere: Brendan Eder, ‘East Pasadena’

Brendan Eder

Composer Brendan Eder toils on the fringes of contemporary music, both in his work for film and television and in the music made by the Brendan Eder Ensemble, the experimental chamber-pop group in whose hands classical music is mere Play-Doh.

But even those who’ve followed Eder might not be ready for his new solo work, “East Pasadena,” or its riveting video.

Named for the East Pasadena warehouse where it was recorded, the eight-minute piece was written for synthesizers and percussion. The composer notes: “The synths were amplified and recorded through guitar amps. The music is composed of motifs and drum beats in a variety of time signatures. Every 90 beats (or 30 seconds) the music cycles and all the meters line up.” The result exudes an almost histrionic tension.

Eder, schooled at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, also works in the visual arts. Under his moniker Popularity Contest, he will release “Honey Please, Wash Your CDs” a multimedia collaboration with Lellopepper mixing ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) and pop, on Oct. 4. And he has directed his own videos before — see “Above the Grey” with dancer Jessica Emmanuel if you need a one-minute timeout from life’s noise.

The wild short film for “East Pasadena,” which plays out with the energy of a chase scene, was conceived by Eder and Alex Legolvan, directed by Eder and filmed by Sky Rivers. It stars Eder as someone who is uniquely … er, focused. Or, as he jokes, it’s “what happens when you combine a real-life nut job with a crazier character [we’ve] imagined.”

Eder portrays a physical fitness obsessive, training tirelessly with a jump rope and going for runs around the neighborhood. It is on these jogs that his “dark” fetish is revealed — Eder has a scary affection for potted plants. He commences stealing them, one by one, from people’s porches and yards. (Watch for the cameos by Joel Jerome and Oddnesse.) His addiction spirals until … well, it’s worth staying to the end.

Beyond being superficially entertaining, “East Pasadena” can be read as a dark commentary on postmodern life. The daily grind requires an almost obsessive devotion. Like the music, a cacophonous world moves at different speeds, only occasionally aligning. And its forces can cause the mind to seek refuge in bad habits.

Just don’t forget to water the plants.

||| Watch: The video for “East Pasadena”