watch Blake Mills’ video for “Five”
Blake Mills is a solo artist and in-demand producer (who works with Fiona Apple, Perfume Genius, Alabama Shakes, and more), and his latest solo release was 2018’s instrumental Look, which was also the first release for his own new label, New Deal Records. He was inspired by ’70s guitar synthesizers for the making of the album, as he talked about with Pitchfork:
I had written off the idea of synth guitar as this novelty that I couldn’t get much use out of. But it became apparent that it’s this deep thing that sounds different in everybody’s hands. You don’t scroll through presets to get sounds, there’s just a bunch of knobs and you dial it in like an analog synth. The other wonderful thing is how it responds to the individual way that people play guitar, because I don’t pick very often, and I play softly, and use certain voicings that I’ve lifted from the piano. This record has more guitar on it than any other record I’ve made, but for people who care about that, it’s going to be so disappointing when they hear how un-guitar-y it is.
Blake has now teamed with director Justin Daashuur Hopkins to make a video for the album’s seven-and-a-half minute “Five,” and that video premieres in this post. The song is ambient and minimalist, and the serene, slow-paced video follows suit. Blake explains:
The basic premise of the video was allowing creatures and familiar household things to carry emotional weight. Justin [Daashuur Hopkins] found these wonderful expressions within that theme and made something that I think is remarkably beautiful, and a humbling companion piece to this music. It’s got bugs, turtles, flowers, and fire – and there’s no plot, no acting. I’m so happy!!
And Justin adds:
Taking Bruce Cohen’s painting on the album cover of Look into account, we wanted to create a dream like investigation of the drama that exists on the peripheries of the human experience. A seemingly banal setting has its own surreal ecosystem, as micro narratives emerge amongst that which is habitually ignored.