New video from Kurt Riley captures frustration with tumultuous world

It’s the first of three music videos planned for “Tabula Rasa,” this year’s album from local artist Kurt Riley. “Screwing Up the World” is now available on YouTube.

Kurt Riley, right, performs with his band at an album release show this spring. 14850 photo by Mark H. Anbinder.

The song “encapsulates the frustration so many people are experiencing with today’s tumultuous societal, political, and economic conditions,” says Riley, a recent Cornell graduate whose album “Kismet” came out just over a year ago.

“From an artistic standpoint, I wanted to kick off the videos with rock and roll energy,” Riley says of the first video, which features him and his band playing interspersed with scenes of guest star Nikki Cohanpour, who faces modern-day frustrations. The Cornell student “did an excellent job portraying both the victim and the perpetrator of today’s environment,” Riley tells us.

Last year’s “Kismet” was a daring concept album that blended punk electronica and glam rock and a story — a tale of a king from an advanced alien world in search of his queen, whose ship crash-landed on an ancient planet Earth. “Tabula Rasa” doesn’t have the same distinct narrative running through it, says Riley, “but the title and much of the material (including ‘Good News’ and ‘Century’) speak to a desire to wipe the slate clean of our horrors and frustrations and begin anew, free of the tribalism and the divisive rhetoric that characterizes so much of our atmosphere these days.”

Riley’s band features Olivia Dawd, Sam Packer, Rick Kline, and Rob Romano, and the album “Tabula Rasa” is available on Amazon Music and Spotify.

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