Can you believe we're almost through the first month of 2024? As many readers are bundling up and riding out the January deep freeze, I figured I'd help fill some of your down time by starting off the 2024 blog posts with a new edition of I'm Seeing Songs, where the focus is on visualizations around new music - a spotlight on the music video.
These captivating visual accompaniments showcase elements of the artist performance, theme, location and other aesthetics that complement the music itself.
Read on and watch music videos from Hafdís Huld, Stefano Guzzetti, Sky_A, and Jared Halley feat. Bailey Rushlow.
Hafdís Huld | Hindsight
I couldn't think of a more appropriate video to lead off a January edition of I'm Seeing Songs than the brand new, wintry music video for "Hindsight" from Icelandic indie-folk singer-songwriter Hafdís Huld. Featuring the vast snow-covered landscape of the breathtaking volcanic-formed nation of Iceland, "Hindsight" beautifully juxtaposes the crisp, cold, snow-covered landscape with the warm, melodic tones and atmosphere of this uplifting and reflective song. Hafdís' smooth, glistening vocals are the sweet 'ice-ing' on this little slice of her forthcoming album, Darkest Night.
Hafdís notes that the theme of "Hindsight" is "...about wishing you could go back in time and give your younger self a bit of advice or a nudge in the right direction, and at the same time staying true to who you are and what you stand for when you get back on your feet."
"Constantly pouring the glass
to keep it half full,
In my emotional china shop
you’re the bull"
Regarding that wintry landscape that Hafdís is walking through, she comments, "It was -6 and very windy when we filmed the video so it is a miracle I got to the end, I know I look cold and I was. So this is the one and only take."
Stefano Guzzetti | Polarlicht
We are living in an age where AI (artificial intelligence) is present in so many aspects of our everyday lives and will become even more prevalent in years to come, in ways that perhaps we cannot even imagine at the moment. The landscapes of songwriting and music video creation are also being influenced, inspired and assisted by AI.
A creative case in point is the brand new AI-assisted music video for "Polarlicht" by Sardinian neo-classical/electronic composer, producer and sound designer Stefano Guzzetti. Featuring imagery by director Domenico Distilo, the innovative, mesmerizing music video for "Polarlicht" blends Stefano's music in a visual journey between reality and re-created reality, exploring theriomorphism and mutation.
The track itself, a dynamic composition that features piano, strings and electronics, is taken from Stefano's new 3-track Polarlicht EP (2020 Editions).
Sky_A | Spider Silk
London-based singer-songwriter and producer Sky Ainsbury released his mesmerizing debut single and music video for "Spider Silk" in late 2023 under the project name Sky_A. Combining elements of electronic, rock and acoustic music, Sky paints futuristic, yet intimate landscapes of sound.
Sky has synaesthesia, and seeks to share with listeners his own experience of music as something deep and immersive, comprised of shapes, colors and textures. Working professionally as a filmmaker and motion graphics artist, he also brings a strong visual element to the Sky_A project, with a focus on long-form storytelling and beautiful, hypnotic abstract visuals.
The music video for "Spider Silk" was filmed completely DIY, using motion capture with AI to create the animations. Sky comments on a few technical details of the creative visual process for the video: "I recorded myself dancing, manipulated it with 3D software, and then put the renders through Stable Diffusion to get the different textural effects. The performance footage I shot using a £15 Amazon ring light in the hallway of my pokey flat in Hackney! And, for the establishing shot of the television in the abandoned building, I used Midjourney to generate the image, then expanded it with Photoshop Generative Fill to create the foreground. I work as a video editor and get so used to huge sums of money being thrown around on very average content, so it was a satisfying experiment to see what I could put together on literally zero budget."
Regarding the inspiration behind "Spider Silk," Sky explains: "Someone told me the riffs and parts I write are quite spidery - moving up and down at the same time like a thing with many legs. I leaned into that with this track, the softness of the acoustic guitar and all these fast repeating notes, spreading this gossamer. They say spider silk is stronger than steel because of its ductility - it can give and take. The song is about learning to trust and be vulnerable in love and the power that comes from that."
Jarred Halley feat. Bailey Rushlow | Dreams (Acapella)
I randomly discovered the recordings and music videos of multi-talented musician, singer and producer Jared Halley last year. Let me tell you, once you head over to his YouTube channel, you'll be there for quite some time taking in his cover songs and cleverly-filmed music videos that showcase his vocal abilities while performing a wide range of songs, spanning various genres.
For his latest release, Jared has teamed up with singer-songwriter Bailey Rushlow to create an impressive, spot-on cover of the Fleetwood Mac classic track, "Dreams." Similar to his other songs, Jared's intricate vocal harmonies, impressive beatboxing skills, and innovative arrangements are prevalent throughout "Dreams." Bailey's warm, expressive vocals introduce a gorgeous burst of warmth and sunshine to the song.
As for the "Dreams" video itself, it's so much fun to watch the individual elements and sound tracks of the song beautifully come together. And there's always a square or two in Jared's videos where he is just dancing like no one's watching. But we are watching and we love it!