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VIDEO: aespa – Next Level

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aespa – Next Level video download

When aespa dropped their otherworldly, video game-inspired photo teasers for their latest comeback, it was clear they were gearing up for a major evolution.

On Friday, the rookie K-pop group finally cracked open their concept in a 10-minute video epic detailing their origin story. The Cliffnotes version is that the four members—Karina, Giselle, Winter, and NingNing—live in a world alongside their æ-aespa, digital versions of themselves created from the personal data they’ve uploaded to a virtual plane. The æ live in a virtual realm called the FLAT, and an AI called NÆVIS opens a P.O.S. (Port of Soul) to allow aespa and their æs to “SYNK,” or hang out together in the real world. But there’s trouble afoot… a Black Mamba (also the name of the group’s smash debut single) is disturbing this connection. Their new single, “Next Level,” is a re-imagined take on a track from 2019’s Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw; in the song’s music video, aespa travels to a lawless virtual realm called “KWANGYA” to fight the Black Mamba and reunite with their æs.

If it all sounds a bit complicated, that’s because it is. At a live streamed press conference hosted by Leeteuk of iconic SM Entertainment group Super Junior, Karina explained, “Before we debuted, we spent a long time learning about the concept so we have a very good understanding of the concept now.” Winter was thrilled by the complexity, “We have our own unique worldview. This is something that’s never been told anywhere before [and] gives us our own unique color and style, so we were all very pleased and excited for our future.” “It has a similar vibe to Marvel movies!” Leeteuk added brightly.

Karina said shooting the short film was her most memorable experience since debut. “It was my first time filming under water,” she said of the scene where she and her æ meet, “so I was a bit scared and excited at the same time. When I saw the final clip, I was really proud of myself.”

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