Daniel Kessler and Joseph Fraioli premiere another atmospheric cut.
Last year in early June I received an email from Interpol's Daniel Kessler. He was excited to share a new collection of songs, not by Interpol, but by Big Noble, his collaboration with sound desiger Joseph Fraioli. He suggested that the 40 minute, 10 track record was "best heard on headphones while walking about the city, traveling, or commuting on the subway." I complied and listened to the album—entitled First Light—sequentially and on the hop. It was an odd record to indulge in as the summer turned sticky because the duo's compositions sound distinctly winter wonderful. There's the rumble of thunder here and there, or moments where the muted compositions make you feel as if you're submerged and swimming towards the surface. Kessler's guitars tones have always been chiming and distinct, the backbone to many an Interpol classic, but here his notes echo after, bleeding together into ambient swells that are both swaddling and solitary.
Thus far Big Noble have released two songs with accompanying videos: "Stay Gold," which slows down the hustle of NY's denizens; and the icy beauty of "Peg." Because the duo's music is so cinamatic, the grand plan is for each of the ten songs to be coupled with their own visuals. Above is the premiere for their third song, "Ocean Picture." It takes a minute—details gradually pull into focus, fabric is treated like a stirring landscape. It's an ominous David Lynchian slow build where the story for which remains ambiguous till the grand reveal.
"When I imagined what would have been the visual for this song back in the day, I wouldn't have imagined this," says Kessler over the phone from Belgium where he's in the middle of Interpol's European tour. "This is what makes it a cool collaboration—when the director interprets your music and sees this. I was imagining something outdoors or in nature and this is his own interpretation of what he heard and what he wanted to execute. What he turned in was far beyond my expectations—it's such an elegant piece, I was really floored by it."
Director Daniel Ryan had this to add: "The camera is a Lytro Illum and as far as we know "Ocean Picture" is the first music video to utilize this technology. The process was strenuous, but we felt it was the most compelling way to make a moment frozen in time come to life. The specific moment we captured is a direct homage to a woodcut print called "L'Assassinat" by Felix Vallotton."
"Ocean Picture" is also a particularly special song because for Kessler it was the moment that solidified his musical kinship with Fraioli.
"We recorded the guitars in my apartment and he took it back to his studio, adding his own processing, his own tint to it, and when he sent it back my way to check it out, I was very taken by it," says Kessler. "It exhibited another side—this ambient, driving, and intense side—and it was really the first track from the collection that made me think, hey, we might be able to make a record here, this is really something."
Want more Big Noble? Check out This Is My Court—an ode to New York City streetball culture in, narrated by Micheal K. Williams, who plays Omar Little in The Wire. Of course, Big Noble provide the soundtrack.
THIS IS MY COURT. from (a) TWIN (thing). on Vimeo.
Kim Taylor Bennett is an Editor at Noisey and she's on Twitter.